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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 24: Kuz He Can, Kuz Does

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The latest edition of our weekly (plus a day) look at individual Washington Capitals ups and downs.

Timothy T. Ludwig-USA TODAY Sports

Your weekly (plus a day) look at individual Washington Capitals' ups and downs:

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby Picked up his 33rd, 34th and 35th win of the season before facing defeat in Winnipeg, giving up just eight goals (six at even strength) in the process. He also picked up his eighth shutout of the season, good for second-best in the League, and continues to look solid... even when at times the team in front of him has not. At this point, that's no more than what we expect from Holtby.
Justin Peters The Caps have two sets of back-to-back games remaining on their schedule, including next weekend... will Peters see action in either? Neither? Both? Stay tuned to find out!
Karl Alzner Continues to cut an offensive swath through the League, setting a new career-high in points with an assist against the Wild, but somehow managed to be one of just four Caps - and the only defensemen - to post a sub-50% Corsi-For against the Sabres. It's okay, Karl, we've all had days like that.
John Carlson Not one to be outdone by Alzner's hot hand, Carlson set a career high of his own with his 11th goal of the season, which proved to be the game-winner against the Bruins. Since then, however, he's gone three games without a point, his first three-game drought since early February, and was on for a team-high four of the eight goals given up by the team this week (tied with Ward).
John Erskine No news is... no news.
Tim Gleason Played a fairly nondescript (but not in a bad way) couple of games before tweaking something against the Sabres and sitting out the last two of the week.
Mike Green Fired a season-high seven shots against the Bruins, then followed it up with a goal the next game against Buffalo - snapping a 20-game drought that is positively un-Green-like. Also un-Green-like? The fact that he's got just three points in his last thirteen games. He's still getting chances, though, and continues to be on the ice for more shot attempts for then against... so hopefully that trend turns around.
Matt Niskanen Picked up three assists on the week, equaling Backstrom's team-leading offensive output over that stretch, and was at or above 50% in CF in three of the four games (and just under that mark in the fourth). He's just been really solid, particularly lately.
Dmitry Orlov Now that the brief road trip is over, it sounds like Orlov could be slated for a conditioning stint in Hershey very, very soon... which would be huge.
Brooks Orpik Missed a handful of games with an upper-body injury, then returned for the final two games of the week and promptly posted the worst even-strength CF% on the team. We'll chalk that up to a bit of rust - welcome back, Brooks.
Nate Schmidt Picked up his first goal of the season with the insurance tally against Boston, made his professional debut in his home state and posted the second-highest CF% among blueliners (behind only his defensive partner). All in all, a pretty decent week.
Nicklas Backstrom With his assist on the eventual game-winner last Sunday, Backstrom officially became the franchise's top playmaker with 419 - a mark which he quickly topped with a second assist in the same game. After that, though, it was a pretty quiet week for the Swedish stud, adding just one more helper to his gaudy point total, and he was on for both of Winnipeg's even-strength goals Saturday night.
Jay Beagle Continues to sit out after getting banged up against the Rangers, and hasn't skated since.
Troy Brouwer No one was on the ice for more shot attempts-for versus the Sabres, as Brouwer posted a studly 75% CF at even strength... which somewhat balances out the fact that he was on for 18 Corsi events against the Wild, only two of which went in the right direction. He also picked up an assist (on the power play, natch) and a couple of penalties (one that led to a power-play goal-against and one that negated a Caps' power play) to round out a week that we'll call uneven and leave it at that.
Jason Chimera No points, a minor penalty and the worst even-strength CF% among Caps' forwards this week. That little hot streak he was one was fun while it lasted, wasn't it?
Chris Conner
Hershey Kiss Icon
Took a couple of penalties in his first action with the Caps, then followed it up with a better effort (and a couple of decent chances on net) in his second before being shuttled back to Hershey.
Eric Fehr Fehr's pointless streak is inching closer to double-digit games, as he's now at eight games without a scoresheet appearance. Throw in the fact that, in a week where the team won the possession battle in all four games, Fehr's CF% was just a tick above 40% at evens, and things are not going well for the big third-line winger-turned-pivot.
Curtis Glencross Got a little bit run around against the Wild (although his 22% Corsi-For was somehow not the lowest on the team - thanks, Brouwer) but picked up his 13th goal of the season, and fourth as a Cap, with his power-play tally Monday night. Since joining the team a few weeks ago, only Ovechkin has more goals then Glencross. Sustainable? Probably not. But fun to watch, for sure.
Marcus Johansson He posted some huge possession numbers at even strength this week, and his hard-working play to set up Green against the Sabres was a great one - but it was also his only point on the week (and his lone point in the last seven games). Hard to argue that he's not at least a serviceable option for the top line, but so far he hasn't really capitalized.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Scored a couple of nice goals this week, and added the eventual shootout-winner against the Sabres, as he continues to step up his game. The biggest reason? A little advice from Ovechkin that is paying off: shoot the puck, which he's doing, racking up 23 shot attempts this week (including eight in his standout performance against Buffalo). Keep it rolling, Kuzya.
Brooks Laich It seemed as though his goal to snap a two-month drought would be the key to getting the offense going, but that hasn't exactly been the case. Laich did pick up an assist against the Sabres, his lone point in the last six games, and the underlying numbers this week were strong - and he does seem to be meshing well with Wilson and Latta on the team's fourth line (defensive blips aside). So as has been the case in the past, we're left simply hoping for things to turn around.
Michael Latta After sitting out six games with an injury, Latta returned for the final two games of the week and did his usual feisty, physical thing. He, along with the rest of the fourth line, did some good work against both the Wild and the Jets - even if they didn't get rewarded for it. Also his best buddy is Alex Ovechkin so things are going okay for Michael.
Alex Ovechkin Snapped a two-game (!!) pointless drought with a two-game outing against the Wild, bringing his goal total up to 47 - that much closer to yet another Rocket Richard and perhaps another 50-goal season. He also led all Caps with an insane 68.1% CF at even strength, buoyed by a season-high 22 shot attempts against the Sabres. Rough run against the Jets, however, as he was on for all three goals-against and had 11 of his 13 shot attempts either miss or get blocked.
Joel Ward Was better toward the end of the week, but - like the rest of his line - struggled in general to generate much of anything in the way of offense, picking up just a single assist on the night. When the Caps take the ice against the Devils this Thursday, it would not be a surprise to see that third line get broken up.
Tom Wilson Has really started to find his groove as the pain-in-the-butt that other teams focus on - often to their own detriment, as Wilson has become adept at getting his team some valuable four-on-four time. Including the two goals scored against the Wild on Thursday, the Caps have scored nine times four-on-four - and six of those have come with Wilson in the box. Add in his assist against the Bruins, and his impressive 62.2% even-strength CF rate (which trailed only the top line) and another good week for Wilson.

Advanced stats and this week's five-on-five usage chart (below) via

Caps Usage Wk 24