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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 5: Step Forward, Leap Back

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

Forward Line Trend Notes
Alex Ovechkin
The lone point from this trio, an assist by T.J. Oshie against the Blackhawks, was scored when two of the three weren’t even on the ice… which is pretty much the tale of the week for the top line. And while they did generate some shots (most of them coming off of Ovechkin’s stick, as per usual), none of the three cracked 47% in even-strength CF%. The good news? They may not be together much longer, if yesterday’s practice is any indication. The bad news? …well, just look at the line combos from yesterday’s practice.
Nicklas Backstrom
T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson
Decent possession numbers on the week, and Johansson and Kuznetsov were responsible for half of the team’s minimal offense in the three games – and yet once again, neither of the goals were scored with all three on the ice. Sensing a theme?
Evgeny Kuznetsov
Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky
Easily the best line, at least in terms of possession, over the three games. Unfortunately that didn’t translate to much in the way of offense, or even scoring chances; Burakovsky and Wilson were among the lowest on the team in terms of scoring chances per 60 minutes at even strength (and had the lowest rates of any forwards appearing in all three games). And while Eller did slightly better in that department, he may want to consider staying out of the penalty box. Just a thought.
Lars Eller
Tom Wilson
Zach Sanford
Hard to nitpick too much in a week where two of the four goals the team scored came from the fourth line (and more specifically Jay Beagle, who picked up his third career two-goal game – and second against the Blackhawks). With that in mind, and considering they often draw the other teams’ top lines, we’ll let the less-than-stellar possession numbers slide.
Jay Beagle
Daniel Winnik /
Brett Connolly
Defensive Pair Trend Notes
Matt Niskanen
The team’s go-to defensive duo had a nice week in terms of suppressing opponents’ scoring chances, with two of the lowest SCA/60 at even strength. On the flip side, they got pretty well beat up by the Hurricanes on Saturday, as they were on for four of Carolina’s five goals on the night (albeit one on the power play and one empty netter.
Karl Alzner
John Carlson
Only eight Caps posted points this week; two of them were these guys, with Orlov picking up two assists and Carlson adding one against the ‘Hawks on Friday. Add in good possession numbers and the fact that both of them were on for just one goal against apiece, and not a bad all-around stretch for this duo.
Dmitry Orlov
Brooks Orpik
Orpik and Schmidt have been pretty steady since the start of the season, but this was not their best week overall, as the duo combined for 14 scoring chances against and just one for at even strength and got nicked for a couple of goals against. Chorney fared a bit better than either one, getting his lone action – and his first game of the season – in Chicago and ceding just one ES scoring chance against; he even managed to miss the two goals-against that his partner saw firsthand. Impressive.
Nate Schmidt /
Taylor Chorney
Goalie Trend Notes
Braden Holtby UP Holtby gave up just four goals on 56 shots this week (a stout .929 save percentage), and both goals against the ‘Hawks were ceded while the Caps were down a man (one power play, one with Chicago’s goalie pulled). That his record was 1-1 on the week instead of 2-0 seemingly had more to do with the San Jose netminder than it did with Holtby’s individual performance.
Philipp Grubauer EVEN In general, giving up four goals in one game isn’t ideal… but it’s hard to fault Grubauer too much for the loss against Carolina, as there wasn’t much he could do on most of the goals and his team pretty much left him out to dry. In fact, he was a big reason the game was as close as it was for as long as it was.
Situational Trend Notes
Even Strength EVEN The Caps were outscored five to two at even strength this week, which isn’t ideal, but that only accounted for half of their total goals against – and they did win the overall puck possession battle, finishing the week with an even-strength CF% of 51.7%.
Power Play DOWN Hey, remember last week when the Caps had one whole power-play goal? Ah, memories.
Penalty Kill EVEN Not the best week of penalty-killing, with two power-play goals against, but they did pick up their first shorthanded goal of the year… y’know, shortly before giving up one of those two power-play goals.
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