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Capitals Hit or Miss: Week 18 & 19

All Stars, Metro missteps, Ovechkin chasing history, all baked into the latest Hit or Miss

Philadelphia Flyers v Washington Capitals Photo by Patrick Smith/Getty Images

Getting back into the swing with all the action since (and including) the All-Star Break.

This week’s games:


HITS

Seeing T.J. Oshie at the All-Star Game in St. Louis, with his family - especially papa Coach Osh - in attendance, was really special... John Carlson’s successful All-Star outing, which included a new personal best for second place (stupid Shea Weber) in the hardest shot competition and the first ASG goal by a Caps’ blueliner... speaking of Carlson, congrats to the new franchise leader in assists by a defenseman... Tom Wilson keeping his nose clean with just ten penalty minutes since the start of 2020... 100 career points (and counting) for Jakub Vrana... 1 career point (and counting) for Martin Fehervary... the third line starting to get in gear, with the trio combining for 13 points in their last six games... another 20-goal season for T.J. Oshie... Alex Ovechkin with an insane 14 goals in eight games to return to the goal-scoring lead and move to just two shy of 700 for his career... welcome to the family, Scout!

Monumental Sports & Entertainment

MISSES

Both goalies committing costly turnovers when handling the puck is a trend we’d love to see end... someone pulled the plug on the power play... forcing the hometown fans to sit through losses to the Penguins and Flyers on back-to-back weekends, one of the crueler things this team has done in recent memory... for as hot as he’s been lately, having Ovechkin go goalless in those two games was pretty depressing... all the shorthanded goals... “visiting” Penguins fans being predictably awful... the fourth line offense completely drying up, with just three points for Nic Dowd, Brendan Leipsic and Garnet Hathaway since Jan. 1 (with Dowd having the only goal and Hathaway still waiting on his first point of 2020)...

TRENDING UP:

Alex Ovechkin (six goals in his last five games); Jakub Vrana (8-7-15 in his last 14);

TRENDING DOWN:

The entire fourth line (1 point in last six games); Nick Jensen; Braden Holtby (.858 sv% since the ASG, .893 on the season)

Weeks in Review: Miss.

Look, there’s no question that Caps fans have been spoiled in recent years, and so even the smallest of slumps can feel jarring and catastrophic... but there’s also no question that the Caps are just not playing good hockey right now, and haven’t for an uncomfortably long time. They’ve won a couple of games that they should have against the Senators and Kings (although both were closer than they needed to be) and lost a number of others that, while not freebies by any stretch, should have been more of a contest than they ended up being.

At the end of the day, we know they’re not lacking in talent, and the makeup of the team should (on paper) generate more wins than losses. And that is what makes this recent stretch — not just since the All-Star break but really going back to the new year — so frustrating. It’s about effort, not skill, and whatever needs to light a fire under them is simply not happening.