clock menu more-arrow no yes mobile

Filed under:

Capital Ups and Downs, Week 22: West Coasting

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

Gary A. Vasquez-USA TODAY Sports

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby Got hung out to dry a bit by his team against the Kings Wednesday night, but he rebounded nicely the rest of the way before LA's OT winner (and kudos to Barry Trotz for letting him play through it). Even better than that was his performance in Anaheim, where a first-minute goal was the only thing to get by him in the eventual shootout victory. Still not quite where we're used to seeing him... but it's getting there. Hopefully.
Philipp Grubauer
Down Arrow Icon
The Caps' meltdown in the third period Saturday night wasn't entirely due to Grubauer's performance, but it certainly didn't help, as he gave up four goals on 27 shots - including at least a couple that he should have stopped.
Karl Alzner Posted the highest Corsi differential at even strength on the team this week (+21), and racked up 11 bruises by way of blocked shots (including four on the penalty kill, both of which led the team). That said, his failed attempt at a block while shorthanded against San Jose ended up in the back of the net as the eventual game-winner, which is probably not what he was going for.
John Carlson
Injured Icon
Sounds like he could be back on the ice soon, although it's unclear as to when he'll be back in the lineup.
Taylor Chorney His lone action this week was about 15 minutes of ice time against the Kings, which included a front-row seat to LA's first goal of the game and nine more shots hitting or going towards his own goaltender. Hard to pin that all on him, though (especially the goal).
Matt Niskanen Led the Caps in shorthanded ice time with a little over nine minutes and finished the week with a Corsi-For percentage a shade under 59% at even strength. That's the good; the bad? A rough outing against the Sharks (although he was hardly the only one).
Dmitry Orlov Every week it seems Orlov provides us with a microcosm of what he brings to the table as a whole - the good and the bad. Wednesday night, it was his offensive skill on display as he zig-zagged through the LA Kings' lineup to score a beautiful (and timely) game-tying goal. Three nights later it was his flub at the blue line on the power play to jumpstart a two-on-none rush the other way, along with the worst even-strength numbers of any Caps' blueliner.
Brooks Orpik
Down Arrow Icon
Found himself directly in the path of each of LA's first two goals on Wednesday and had a pretty good view of Anaheim's lone tally two night's earlier. And probably provided a decent screen for San Jose's fourth goal over the weekend. But other than that, Mrs. Lincoln...
Nate Schmidt Sat out the Kings game, but dressed against Anaheim and San Jose and was on for a grand total of zero goals against in those two games. His underlying numbers were fairly awful, but it's likely that's a result of getting significant time with the third line... whose numbers were even worse.
Mike Weber Weber was conceivably brought in to add a little grit to the lineup, and so far he seems to be doing just that. This week he led all Caps in hits with 17 and got into his first fight as a Cap when he dropped the gloves with LA's Dwight King. Mazel tov.
Nicklas Backstrom Scored a goal against LA and added a power-play assist against the Sharks (along with picking up the shootout winner against Anaheim). His possession numbers haven't been great of late, and he only won 42.6% of his faceoffs this week, but he's at least producing at a consistent rate.
Jay Beagle Continues to put up impressive possession numbers, finishing the week with an even-strength CF% of 58.97% (thanks in part to a 62.5% night against the Sharks). He was one of the better players against the Sharks in general, as well, wreaking such havoc that they had to haul him down on a shorthanded breakaway. Alas, the penalty shot attempt that followed yielded nothing... but a valiant effort, nonetheless.
Andre Burakovsky Scored the game-tying goal against the Ducks Monday night, a bit of a fluky shot that was still the result of a nice play by Burakovsky and the second line. He also added an assist on another game-tying goal (albeit an ultimately fruitless one) in San Jose, and continues to be a a consistent contributor.
Jason Chimera
Down Arrow Icon
Pointless in his last nine games, Chimera was also a woeful 28.8% Corsi player at fives on the California trip and didn't register a single shot on goal all week (while also posting a minus-three rating in San Jose). That's... not good.
Stanislav Galiev Another week of watching for young Stan (who, we'd note, is actually older than two-thirds of the second line).
Marcus Johansson
Down Arrow Icon
The third line's struggles aren't all on Johansson, of course, but he's the man in the middle and has one five-on-five point in his last 14 games and hasn't assisted on a goal by linemates Chimera or Wilson since February 24. In fact, over the last 18 games, the trio has been on the ice for just three goals-for (twice as many against) and has posted a 43.4 Corsi-For percentage (per Puckalytics); it's time to nuke that line for now.
Evgeny Kuznetsov
Up Arrow Icon
Lent a helping hand in each of the week's three games, picking up three assists and posting a 58.9 Corsi-For percentage. The Caps certainly aren't firing on all cylinders right now, but the second line is. Can the rest of the forwards be fixed without messing with what's working? We'll see.
Michael Latta Three more games, three more healthy scratches. Tough to say he should get in over the guys on the fourth line, because they're clicking right along... but this is a lineup that could use a little pop right now. Is there nowhere else in the lineup where he could provide just that?
T.J. Oshie Tallied a goal and an assist in the comeback in L.A. and added another goal in San Jose to tie his career-high with 21. Those boxcars are nice, but both tallies came on the power play, and one assist and a 45 CF% at five-a-side isn't going to cut it for a week of top line play (which is probably more indicative of the play of his linemates than his own effort).
Alex Ovechkin
Down Arrow Icon
A week ago, Ovechkin hitting the 50-goal mark yet again didn't seem to be in question; since getting #41 against Toronto, however, he's now gone five games without a goal. Whether or not he scores 50 goals isn't that big a deal in the grand scheme of things, of course. What is potentially a big deal is that he doesn't seem to be 100% right now.
Mike Richards Continues to impress with his possession game and penalty killing acumen, but you'd like to see more than two points in 25 games... and get the feeling that more offense might be on its way.
Justin Williams
Up Arrow Icon
Picked up a pair of assists in SoCal before cashing in on another Kuznetsov beauty for a goal of his own in San Jose, all while seeing 60.7 percent of shot attempts go the Caps' way while he was on the ice at fives. What a player.
Tom Wilson
Down Arrow Icon
See Chimera, Johansson. On the four-game road trip, Wilson registered a single shot on goal and the Caps were outshot (attempts) 39-21 (35% CF) with him on the ice at five-on-five. Those aren't top-nine numbers. Heck, those are barely top-12 numbers.
Daniel Winnik GM Brian MacLellan overhauled his fourth line over the past couple of months by adding Richards and Winnik and went two-for-two with those additions, to the extent that they're both playing better than anyone on the third line... which isn't just damning by faint praise. Winnik's 61.1 CF% for the week actually drops his percentage as a Cap down to 66.7%. When the offense kicks in, look out.

Stats via, and