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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 14: Second-Line Studs

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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 Weird week for Holtby, to say the least. He was his usual self in a 4-1 win over the Canucks on Thursday (the lone goal being scored on a five-on-three power play) but played only parts of the next two, getting the hook in the second period of a losing effort in Buffalo (snapping his 22-game point streak) and then leaving the Ranger game with dehydration. Here's hoping next week is less eventful.
Philipp Grubauer Picked up two relief efforts over the weekend and was great in both, giving up just one goal between the two games and helping to both stop the bleeding (in Buffalo) and stay the course (against New York).
Karl Alzner Scored the eventual game-winner against his hometown team on Thursday, but no Caps' blueliner was on the ice for more shot attempts against than Alzner in the week's three games and he was on for both of the Rangers' goals on Sunday.
John Carlson
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Traveled with the team to 'lumbus, but that whole "he could be back shortly" thing doesn't seem to be happening.
Taylor Chorney His point shot became Justin Williams' first goal on Sunday, and also helped him establish a new career high in points with five. Add in the fact that he was only on for one goal against on the week (a power-play strike by the Sabres) and saw more shot attempts go towards the opponents' net than his own, and another solid week is in the books for Chorney.
Aaron Ness
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Ness did some good work during his stay in DC, but finds himself back with the Bears as his ten-game limit drew near.
Matt Niskanen Continues to skate big minutes, and with those big minutes come lots of excitement - at both ends of the ice. That was particularly true against the Rangers, as he was on for both New York goals and two of the Caps' tallies (and picked up an assist on one of them).
Dmitry Orlov
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Had perhaps his worst game of the season against the Sabres, as he was on for three of their four goals and had the puck bounce over his stick ahead of Buffalo's shorthanded goal. Was much better the rest of the week (and picked up an assist in each of the two other games) but that one in Buffalo... yikes.
Brooks Orpik
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The good news: he's skating! The bad news: that's pretty much all he's doing. But hey, at least we know he's alive.
Nate Schmidt Like Orlov, Schmidt was on for three goals-against on Saturday night, but had an otherwise quiet week for himself.
Ryan Stanton Was recalled from Hershey on Friday as insurance but hasn't played in a game yet - bad news for him, of course, but good news for the lineup.
Nicklas Backstrom After an explosive week last week, the top line went a little quiet in this week's trio of games, as Backstrom picked up just one assist (a gorgeous power-play feed to Johansson against the Rangers). He was pretty feisty against the Canucks on Thursday, with a couple of penalties and some nastiness around the Caps' net.
Jay Beagle
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He's only about two weeks into his "at least six weeks" recovery, but it's never too early to start thinking about what his role will be on this new-look roster when he gets back.
Andre Burakovsky We've been waiting all season for this Burakovsky to show up, and at last he's arrived (thanks in part to the combined efforts of his linemates). The second line has clicked big time, and his noticeable confidence is part of the reason why. Burakovsky wrapped up the week with four assists, and now has six points in his last four games.
Jason Chimera
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Even with his hot start, Chimera's production is going to have its ups and downs, and this week was more of a valley than a hill, as he had just a single assist on the Caps' lone goal Saturday night. He was also in the box for the Sabres' fourth goal in that game (although the game was pretty well out of reach by then) and was on the ice for both Ranger goals on Sunday.
Stanislav Galiev Saw less than 15 minutes of ice time in his two games combined this week, but had some decent chances against the Rangers and is getting the chance to rotate in on the team's power play.
Marcus Johansson The goon was back in action after his two-game suspension, and he was right back to his goonish ways with a penalty against the Canucks. He was also back to his scoring ways, though, getting the team's only goal in Buffalo and then adding a power-play marker against the Rangers. He's now gone a little over a month without consecutive pointless games, which is pretty impressive.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Three points in each of the team's two wins, including a couple of dazzling assists (and even a pretty badass empty-netter)... yeah, he's good. He's really good.
Brooks Laich
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Finished the week with no points and the lowest CF% at even strength on the team, and his high-sticking penalty in the third against Vancouver put the Caps down two men and led to the Canucks only goal. But aside from that, Mrs. Lincoln...
Michael Latta Only got into one of the week's three games, and it happened to be the one loss of the three, but he was part of the team's best line against the Canucks, finishing the night with a totally normal 91.7% CF at even strength.
T.J. Oshie
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Had no points on the week and has just two in his last seven games overall (both against Ottawa last week). Part of the problem? Only three shots on goal, with another handful of attempts missing or getting blocked, and more shot attempts going towards his own net when he's been on the ice. A rare off week for the team's Energizer bunny.
Alex Ovechkin His power-play goal against the Rangers was his first - and only - point of the week, but it wasn't for lack of trying, as he fired 11 shots on goal and had 26 attempts overall.
Mike Richards The question mark hovering over Richards was whether he was still able to play at the NHL level. He got his first chance to prove that he could this weekend, and the results overall were very positive - just over six minutes of perfect penalty killing, a few shots on net, a positive even-strength CF%, and even coming ohsoclose to scoring a goal against the Rangers. Welcome to DC, Mike!
Zach Sill
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Sill has been something of a pleasant surprise during his time with the Caps, fitting in pretty seamlessly on the team's fourth line and (aside from his suspension) mostly staying out of trouble. Like Ness, waiver concerns sent him back to Hershey yesterday.
Justin Williams Scored his first hat trick in about a decade (and just his second career hattie) against the Rangers, capped off with a pool shot of an empty-netter, and added an assist against the Canucks. Of course, his even-strength CF% was the lowest of anyone on the second line... an abysmal 61%. What a slacker.
Tom Wilson Believe it or not, no one on the Caps had more shot attempts at even strength than Wilson this week. One of them even hit the back of the net, as he was the lucky recipient of what has to be one of the more ridiculous Kuznetsov passes for his second goal in as many games (and his fourth of the season).

Stats via and Hockey Analysis.