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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 14: Routs and Shutouts

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

Pittsburgh Penguins v Washington Capitals Photo by Rob Carr/Getty Images

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

Forwards Trend Notes
Nicklas Backstrom UP Last Sunday, Backstrom became the first player in franchise history to accumulate 500 assists; this week he started in on the next 500, and has already made a significant dent in that total. Backstrom racked up seven more helpers last week, and added three goals to give him a League-best 10 points over that span.
Jay Beagle UP If the Caps and 'Hawks played in the same division, it's possible that Jay Beagle could hit the 20-goal mark for the first time, judging by how well he plays against them. As it is, this week he picked up a two-goal game against Chicago - the fourth of his career, and third against the 'Hawks.
Andre Burakovsky EVEN Since sitting out for a "reset" back in December, Burakovsky's been producing at just about a point-every-other-game pace. He kept that rolling this week, with no points against the Habs or Pens but an assist against the 'Hawks followed by the eventual game-winner against the Flyers.
Brett Connolly UP Continues to score goals at a career-high rate of .21 per game, and added another two to his ledger this week with a goal against the Blackhawks and another against Montreal. One thing to keep an eye on? The penalty parade, as he was sent to the box in three of the week's four games.
Lars Eller UP His penalty led to the only Habs goal on Monday, but he followed that up with a mini point streak, scoring an empty-netter off of Kris Letang's head on Wednesday and adding a couple of assists against Chicago two nights later. Eller had yet another strong possession week, up over 64% in even-strength CF, and continues to lead the team in that department (min 20 games).
Marcus Johansson EVEN The goal-scoring has dried up a bit - he's currently mired in a nine-game goalless streak - but he did add another two assists this week to bring his season point total to 30. With just under half a season left, he's just 17 points shy of his career high.
Evgeny Kuznetsov UP Scored a gorgeous goal in Montreal, his second in four games (after a 17-game drought) and continues to pile up assists, as well, with three assists in a four-point week including the return of his classic twister pass against the Penguins.
Liam O'Brien HBH Got the call to replace an ailing Oshie against the Habs, and skated just over six minutes in a quiet return to NHL action before heading back to the Bears. Thanks for stopping by, Liam!
T.J. Oshie EVEN Missed one game this week and still managed to put up five points in three games, third-most on the team. That said, he's much more effective for the Caps when he's not in the penalty box, and he was in the penalty box a lot this week - including three times in the game against the Penguins.
Alex Ovechkin UP You can say a lot of things about what Alex Ovechkin has accomplished over the course of his career, but one thing that stands out is just how he's able to make a big moment even bigger. It started by scoring his 544th goal to tie Maurice Richard - in Montreal - and adding two assists to give him 999 career points. Then for the main event, he picked up point #1000 with a goal less than a minute into a huge game against the rival Penguins.
Justin Williams UP The Williams that we're seeing right now is a totally different Williams that we saw in the first six weeks or so of the season. Slumping early, he flipped a switch right around Thanksgiving, and has been red hot ever since. That continued this week, with four points - including a two-goal performance against the Flyers yesterday - in the four games. He's now in a three-way tie for second in goals on the team, trailing only Ovechkin.
Tom Wilson UP For most of the season we've talked about the little things Wilson has done to contribute to the lineup outside of points, because the points just weren't happening. Well... they're happening now, or at least they were over the past week. Four points for Tom this week, with three of those picked up in the fourth-line bonanza against the 'Hawks - his first three-point game of his career.
Daniel Winnik EVEN He didn't get quite the scoring bump that his linemates did against the Blackhawks on Friday, with just one assist for the week, but he continues to be a key piece of that impressive fourth line and of the dominant penalty kill.
Defensemen Trend Notes
Matt Niskanen EVEN Was the beneficiary of a slick Ovechkin pass to set up his first goal yesterday, then added a knuckler over Steve Mason's glove for his second two-goal game of the year. On the flip side, he was also on the ice for all three goals-against this week - all while on the penalty kill.
Karl Alzner UP Karl "Iron Man" Alzner extended his insane streak to 500 consecutive games (and now 501), becoming the first player in franchise history to do so. Considering how much abuse he takes on a regular basis... that's quite a feat.
John Carlson + Picked up three assists in the week's four games but appears to be battling some sort of lower-body ailment and left Sunday's game early. Ruh roh.
Dmitry Orlov EVEN Had just one assist on the week, but it was part of a great play that saw him jump into the attack and help set up Kuznetsov's pass to Williams against the Pens. He also was on the ice for twice as many Caps' scoring chances at even strength (12, tied with Niskanen for the team lead) as opponents' scoring chances this week.
Brooks Orpik EVEN It shouldn't still be surprising that Orpik had the highest even-strength CF among Caps' blueliners this week, right? Right?
Nate Schmidt EVEN Another solid week for Schmidt, which included a two-assist performance against the Blackhawks (including one of the better passes completed while falling, whether intentional or not).
Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby UP That game against the Leafs where Holtby got the hook is nothing but a distant memory now, because he's been absolutely lights out ever since. This week? Oh, just a shutout, 66 even-strength shots faced and stopped, and three goals allowed on 79 shots against total.
Philipp Grubauer UP As always, Grubauer has taken a bit of a backseat to an insanely good run by Holtby, but when he does get a start he's been just as good. His only action this week was against the Flyers yesterday, a game that could have gotten out of hand early in favor of Philly had he not locked it down in the first period. Ho hum, just another shutout for Grubauer - his second of the season, and his career.
Situational Trend Notes
Even Strength UP This week, at even strength, the Caps outscored opponents 20... to 0. Is that good? That seems good.
Power Play UP The Caps didn't draw that many penalties this week (eight total in four games, including zero against the 'Hawks), but they cashed in on exactly half of the ones they did draw.
Penalty Kill EVEN It's weird to think that giving up just three power-play goals on 16 chances is somehow a drop-off for the Caps, but considering that prior to this week they had given up just two goals total (both in the same game) over the previous 10 games. Still, just over 80% for the week is not bad.
Stats from,,, Hockey-Reference, and