Our weekly look at individual Caps’ ups and downs:
He’s still looking for that elusive next goal, but the points are starting to stack up again for Nicklas Backstrom, with four assists in his last four games. It’s almost - almost - like he’s got some sort of chemistry with his new linemate or something. Weird.
Fairly quiet week for Beagle outside of his performance against the Lightning, a game in which he assisted on the eventual game-winner and then picked up a beauty of an empty-net goal. Still, multi-point games don’t come along everyday for Beagle - including Friday’s win, he’s registered just ten in his career (and that was his first since last January).
No news about Burakovsky is... no news.
Picked up a multi-point game of his own - his first as a Capital - with an assist on Ovechkin’s goal against the Senators and then a nifty long-shot empty-netter to seal the deal. On the flip side he and the entire fourth line struggled at times in their own end, and Chiasson himself saw 13 more shot attempts go towards his own net at even strength than attempts on the opponents’ net.
After picking up a few points last week, it was back to radio silence for Connolly - and with the return of Graovac Saturday night, it was also back to the press box. Have to think it’s only temporary, but competition for those bottom six spots is much tougher when everyone’s healthy and Connolly has his work cut out for him to stay in the lineup on a semi-regular basis.
Snapped an eight-game goalless streak when he opened the scoring against the Flames just a little over a minute into the first period Monday night... and that’s about all she wrote for Eller this week. In fact, that goal marks his only point since November 10.
Made his return to the lineup against the Maple Leafs Saturday night and was admittedly a little rusty, registering the team’s third-lowest CF% at even strength (28.6%, trailing only Eller and Smith-Pelly). We’ll see if he can turn things around after a few more reps.
The fact that he’s no longer on the same line with Ovechkin - at least for now - doesn’t seem to have slowed down his scoring pace, as he added another three points to his team-leading total (1G, 2A). Could do without him taking a pair of penalties late in a close game against Tampa, though...
Just as Kuznetsov seems to be doing fine without Ovechkin, so too is Oshie getting along just peachy without Backstrom, as he somewhat quietly racked up a whopping five assists in this week’s four games - including a three-point effort against the Leafs on Saturday. That and his two-assist game against Ottawa marked his 33rd and 34th multi-point outings since arriving in DC, and his fifth and sixth of the season.
Another stellar week for the captain, as he scored five goals in four games to put himself back in his rightful spot atop the League’s goal-scoring leaderboard. Not only that, but he continued to make history - first moving into a tie with Jaromir Jagr for the most career power-play goals by an active player (217, t-10th all time), then moving past Mike Bossy to take over 21st in career goals, and finally wresting another franchise record from Peter Bondra with his 20th career hat trick Saturday night.
Scored the eventual game-winning goal against the Lightning, and trailed only Ovechkin among Caps forwards in terms of generating shot attempts at even strength... but also saw a boatload go the wrong way when he was on the ice, with a RelCF of -5.33.
No points again this week for Stephenson, who seems to have had his scoring touch disappear now that he’s not part of the team’s top-six forwards (which is neither surprising nor entirely his fault). On top of that, only Graovac in his one game had a worse five-on-five CF% among forwards than Stephenson.
Only Ovechkin and Oshie had more points this week than Vrana, who picked up a trio of goals and added an assist in an all-around impressive four-game run. Two of those three goals came in one game against Ottawa, his first multi-goal game of his career (and the first disappearing-puck goal of his career, no less), and the third was an awesome display of speed to provide the eventual game-winner against Toronto. Here’s hoping he can keep it up.
No games this week for Walker. Zero. Zip. Zilch. Nada.
After getting bumped up to join the newly reunited Backstrom and Ovechkin, Wilson picked up another two assists this week, and now has eight points on the season - seven of them in his last 13 games. Even better? He’s taken just one penalty in the last seven games, and drew a team-high two (tied with Oshie) in this week’s four games.
Aside from a penalty in the loss to the Flames and a front-row seat for a goal-for and a goal-against in Toronto, this was an uneventful week for the team’s young blueliner.
Just the one assist this week for Carlson, although his 11 shots on goal trailed only Ovechkin’s 21 among all Caps. Beyond that, he got to see a ton of action at both ends of the rink this week - five goals were scored for, and against, the Caps when Carlson was out on the ice in the four games.
No one saw a greater discrepancy between shot attempts for and against the Caps than Chorney at even strength, as opponents racked up 53 to the team’s 27 with #4 on the ice. Not the best of weeks for the team’s promoted seventh defenseman.
Still injured. Still minimal updates.
Picked up an assist against both the Lightning and Toronto, marking the first time he’s had points in back-to-back games this year (and doubling his season point total),
Picked up two assists on the week and led all defensemen in even-strength CF%, just a shade under 50% for the week. Continues to be solid and steady, and generates plenty of scoring chances for his team without costing them so much - so that’s about all you can ask for.
Not a bad week overall for Orpik, who finished just about even in CF% - just behind Orlov for the highest mark among Caps’ defensemen. He even added an assist on Chiasson’s empty-netter Wednesday night.
Had one subpar performance against the Flames, but it’s tough to hold that entirely against him, as Calgary scored twice on the power play and peppered him with 39 shots over the course of the game. After that, he was back to his stingy self, giving up just two goals in each of his next two games while facing an average of 30 shots on net.
A win! Hallelujah and happy birthday, Grubi!
Lost the overall CF battle at even strength this week, but taking into consideration the games in which they had a lead - which were three of the four, all wins - they were even or ahead when it came to score-adjusted totals. More importantly (at least in the short term), the majority of their goals were technically even strength... albeit with three empty-netters rounding out the week.
Just two power-play goals this week for the Caps - on 10 opportunities - which is a decent enough percentage without being the driving force behind their wins.
Percentage-wise, the team had another off week when it came to the penalty kill, but it got better as the week went on after a rough two-for-five night in the lone loss to Calgary. The only other blemish was a fluky deflection in Tampa Bay’s favor (the only goal they’d get that night) - and after that one bad night against the Flames, the penalties-per-game also dipped, with just eight in the week’s remaining three games.