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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 25: Down the Stretch

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 It wasn't all that long ago that we were worried about Holtby's performance and those sliding numbers... but it certainly feels like another lifetime, given how he's played of late. Aside from a bit of a rough run in the shootout against Philly, Holtby was beyond solid this week, turning aside 71 of 75 shots and adding two more wins to his increasingly historic total.
Philipp Grubauer Hard to pin too much of that loss in Glendale on Grubauer, as he matched Mike Smith save for save before yielding two quick deflections (and then giving up a five-hole tally that he probably should have stopped).
Karl Alzner Strong underlying numbers for Alzner this week, as he and Niskanen led all Caps' defensemen in both even-strength CF% and FF% (while checking in as the top two in even-strength ice time). That's the good... the bad? Got dinged for a handful of goals-against, including the late game-tying goal by the Flyers - a goal that he had a pretty good view of.
John Carlson Added a pair of assists to his point total and now has three points in six games since returning (again) from his lower-body injury. He's not quite back to what we're used to seeing, but Carlson's skating better than he has in months.
Taylor Chorney No action for Chorney this week, which is... mysterious.
Matt Niskanen Snapped a seven-game pointless streak with a pair of assists against the Blue Jackets, which amazingly was his first multi-point game since mid-January. There's a chance that the added responsibility he's taken on this season is cutting into his offensive output, but he's always been a little streaky in that department (at least since joining the Caps). More importantly he, like Alzner, is helping to keep the puck going in the right direction more often than not. Carry on, Matt.
Dmitry Orlov He's getting a regular spot in the lineup right now, but it'll be interesting to see just how much the coaching staff trusts Orlov come playoff time. He was called out by Barry Trotz for the second time in as many weeks after a bad turnover led to the Blue Jackets' only goal last Monday, and continues to make soft plays at inopportune times.
Brooks Orpik On the ice for Jarome Iginla's power-play goal on Friday and for the lone Columbus tally earlier in the week (see Orlov, Dmitry) but otherwise a steady if unspectacular week for Orpik.
Nate Schmidt After dropping the gloves with Max Domi in Arizona, Schmidt now has as many fights on the season as he does goals. Which is both unexpected... and kind of hilarious.
Mike Weber How's it shaking, Mike?
Nicklas Backstrom
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Picked up a goal (empty-net) and an assist against the Jackets, then engaged in some serious combat with Claude Giroux in the shootout loss to the Flyers that apparently resulted in a mysterious upper-body injury. Sounds like he's on the mend, which is good, and a night or two off can't hurt with the playoffs looming.
Jay Beagle Had a highly effective week as the team's third-line center, finishing with an even-strength CF% just a shade under 60% and picking up a goal and an assist in the win over Colorado. He also won 29 of his 49 faceoffs on the week (59.2%), fired 11 shots on net, and logged just under six minutes of flawless penalty-killing time.
Andre Burakovsky Burakovsky has had the hot hand of late, so it's somewhat surprising to note that he was the only forward to appear in all four games this week and not register a single point. It certainly wasn't for lack of trying, given that his 14 shots trailed only Ovechkin's 16, and his possession numbers looked good, but no points and being on the ice for three of the seven goals the Caps gave up? Needs improvement.
Jason Chimera As we all know, Chimera's offense runs hot and cold; right now, it's red hot (relatively speaking), as he added a goal and an assist this week to give him six points in his last ten games. Of course, he's also $5000 lighter after a little jab to the midsection of Philly's Shayne Gostisbehere, which thankfully ended up being more of a dumb move than a harmful one.
Stanislav Galiev It's hard to say that Galiev is exactly the best fit on the team's fourth line, but he and his linemates have had some decent chances when he's played there and his two games this week were no exception. That said, he's still missing the ability to finish that made him one of Hershey's top scorers last season, and has just one point in 2016.
Marcus Johansson He's shooting a bit more than he was a week or two ago, but Johansson continues to struggle to put up offense; inclluding his power-play assist against the Avs, he's got just five points since the beginning of March (16 games). Time on the top line made him a bit more noticeable this week, and his underlying numbers were great - he was one of just three Caps players to top 60% in even-strength CF - so hopefully some of those positive signs will yield positive results.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Registered two assists on the week, but had plenty of chances that could have upped that point total a bit more, especially had he taken more than the 12 shots he accumulated (not that it was a bad shot total, of course). Possession numbers were good but not great, relative to the rest of the team, and so was his week overall.
Michael Latta A Winnik-Richards-Latta fourth line would be darn feisty. Just saying.
T.J. Oshie
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In a stellar possession week for the team as a whole, no one was better than Oshie, who had a dominant even-strength CF% just shy of 70% (and an ESFF just under 78%). It didn't pay off on the scoresheet as much as one would hope, but Oshie's two points (including an empty-net goal that required a serious amount of hustle) were tied for the team lead this week. With 10 others, but still.
Alex Ovechkin
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He's starting to look a bit more like himself as things start to ramp up down the stretch, and one need look no further than his two power-play goals this week. That said, he might want to pick up the pace a bit if he wants to capture yet another goal-scoring title... no one wants to see Patrick Kane lift the Richard trophy at the end of the season.
Mike Richards Believe it or not, an even-strength CF% just under 53% was actually underachieving relative to the rest of the team - but as a fourth-line player, it's more important that Richards help shut down the other team's scoring and he did that (at even strength, at least). He even added a pair of assists in his own right, and logged just over seven minutes of penalty-killing time (athough he was on the ice for a couple of power-play goals-against in the process).
Justin Williams
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A goal against the Jackets and an assist on the Caps' only goal in Philadelphia has Williams sitting at 22 goals and 51 points, his highest total in either department since the 2011-12 season. He's just... good.
Tom Wilson Sort of a mixed bag for Wilson this week. On the good side, he potted the eventual game-winning goal against the Jackets last Monday and laid out an absolutely devastating - but clean - check against the Avalanche. On the not-so-good side, he also got into a bit of penalty trouble against Columbus and finished the week with the only sub-50% mark on the team in even-strength CF% (although just barely at just under 49%).
Daniel Winnik Picked up a pair of assists on the week (or almost half of his total offensive output as a Cap), although he did "struggle" in terms of possession (if almost 52% even-strength CF can be considered struggling).

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