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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 13: Alex the Gr8est

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The latest edition of our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals ups and downs.

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Your weekly look at individual Washington Capitals' ups and downs:

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby Extended his personal streak of games without a regulation loss to 21 games (19-0-2), downing the Bruins, Islanders and Rangers along the way. He's been a huge reason for the team's success all season, of course, but with the top defensive pair out of the lineup, he's been as steady and consistent as ever.
Philipp Grubauer His performance got a bit lost amid all of the scoring at the other end and the milestone goal, but Grubauer was an underrated part of the Caps' win last night. He turned aside 32 of the 33 shots he faced, with pretty much no chance on the one that beat him, and kept things under control when the Sens cut the lead in half early in the second period.
Karl Alzner Picked up two assists on the New York leg of the road trip (one in Brooklyn, the other at MSG) and racked up 12 blocked shots, bringing his season total up to a team-leading 112. That's a lot of bruises, Karl.
John Carlson
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Sounds like he could be inching closer to getting back on the ice, which is good for everyone involved.
Taylor Chorney Had a rough afternoon in Manhattan, as he was on for two of the three Ranger goals and ended up with an even-strength Corsi-for percentage around 26%, but nothing too glaring in the week's other three games.
Aaron Ness Like Chorney, Ness was pretty beaten up by the Rangers, and his ES CF% of 21% was the lowest on the team - and like Chorney, he was fine the rest of the week. He's done exactly what the Caps needed him to do: fill in until the big guys get back and don't make too many mistakes. It's not an easy task, but he's mostly succeeded.
Matt Niskanen Continues to carry a pretty heavy load with Carlson out of the lineup, adding over 12 minutes of power-play time on the week (second only to Ovechkin) and a team-leading 13:48 on the penalty kill to his usual ice time. And overall, he's been very solid, even chipping in with some offense - he had two assists this week, and now has points in five of his last seven games.
Dmitry Orlov Was only on the ice for one even-strength goal against this week, (although granted, it was the game-tying goal by the Rangers), and snapped a personal five-game pointless streak with an assist against the Bruins. He then picked up his first goal in over a month with one of the seven scored last night.
Brooks Orpik
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He might be skating with the team as soon as Tuesday. Stay tuned.
Nate Schmidt Something about playing in New York seems to bring out the best in Schmidt, who hit Williams with the breakout pass for the team's second goal against the Rangers, and then made a game-saving stop (and picked up the assist) to set up Ovechkin's overtime winner. All part of an exceptional five-point week for Schmidt.
Nicklas Backstrom No one in the League scored more points this week than Backstrom, as he racked up two goals and five assists (including three helpers in the 7-1 drubbing of the Sens last night). One of those goals was a game-tying tally in the final five seconds of regulation en route to an overtime victory at MSG, the second time he's done that this season. Oh, and in the middle of all of that? His first-ever selection to the All-Star Game. Well deserved and long overdue.
Jay Beagle
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If this team continues to roll the way they are right now, a healthy Beagle is going to be a huge bonus towards the end of the season.
Andre Burakovsky Burakovsky has gotten chances to play in the top six before and hasn't really been able to make them stick - but with the team losing first Beagle, then Johansson, more ice time has opened up for the kid and he's taking full advantage of it. This is probably the best and most confident we've seen him play since early last season, and he picked up three points this week... including a gorgeous assist last night.
Paul Carey Was called up to fill in for a suspended Marcus Johansson, and did a decent job of it in limited minutes (although he was on the ice for the Rangers' first goal in their comeback attempt Saturday afternoon). It's likely that Johansson's return will require him to go back to Hershey - thanks for the help, Paul!
Jason Chimera He just keeps rolling right along, scoring a goal against the Islanders and then adding three helpers - including the primary assist on Ovechkin's 500th - against the Senators last night. That was just his fourth three-assist game of his career, third as a Capital (and his second of the season). Add in the fact that he had the team's best CF% at even strength (55.7), and it's just another good week for #25.
Stanislav Galiev
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One of just six players this week to not have a single point (and one of just two forwards who appeared in all four games). He's finally getting some ice time thanks to injuries and suspensions, but while he's had flashes of potential, it hasn't been quite enough just yet.
Marcus Johansson Strange week for Marcus, as he picked up points in each of the first two games before earning a trip to the penalty box for an illegal check to the head against the Islanders - a play which resulted in his first career suspension. That put his team in a pretty tough position, but it's not a mistake we'd expect him to make all that often. Chalk that up to a bad decision by an otherwise clean player and move on.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Put on an absolutely dizzying stickhandling clinic against the Bruins, picking up a "how did he just score that??" goal and adding a pretty slick assist to Burakovsky, as well, but was otherwise relatively quiet until his assist last night. Steady as he goes.
Brooks Laich While Carlson's absence has required Niskanen to carry more of the load, Beagle's absence has required more from Laich, particularly in the penalty-killing department. Laich led all forwards in shorthanded ice time this week, with just over 11 minutes, and had a spotless record. That's the good news. The bad news? He's not doing great in the even-strength defensive department, as he was on for a team-high three goals against and had a CF% below 45%.
Michael Latta Quiet week for Latta, as he sandwiched two games in New York between being a healthy scratch in Boston and sitting out as a late scratch with assorted bumps and bruises against the Sens.
T.J. Oshie Just two points on the week for Oshie, both of which were scored in last night's free-for-all against Ottawa. He did pick up his 15th goal of the season, though... which means with 40 games to go, he's tied his career-high in power-play goals with six and is just six goals away from his career high overall. Think he'll pass it?
Alex Ovechkin

497, 498, 499.

5. 0. 0. (and 501 for good measure).

'Nuff said.

Zach Sill Earned a two-game suspension for his hit on Boston's Adam McQuaid on Tuesday night, but returned to pick up his first goal as a Capital (and his first goal since last January). So... call it even.
Justin Williams He's been scoring some weird goals lately, but he'll certainly take them (and so will we), his latest being a dribbler that somehow got through (under? around?) Henrik Lundqvist on Saturday. His tally against the Sens was much nicer, off of a ridiculous feed from Burakovsky, but the best of his three points was the shot he put on net in the game's dying seconds in New York, setting up a rebound for Backstrom's game-tying goal.
Tom Wilson His goal last night was his first in a little over a month, but Wilson's just playing with more confidence offensively in general, and as a bonus he continues to be a solid penalty killer and strong in terms of possession (with a 52.5% CF at even strength this week). Now if only they'd stop giving him penalties for being Tom Wilson...

Stats via and Hockey Analysis.