April 5, 2020

Washington Capitals Power Rankings Week 4

All three games played this week were losses for the Capitals, who have lost five of their last six games and are in the midst of a four-game losing streak. The last time they won a game was during their western Canadian road trip, against Calgary. They take on the Flames again Tuesday, and the Caps are hoping for a reversal of fortunes as four of their next five games are at home.

Lost in the shuffle of the losing streak is the performances of several key players – Kuznetsov, Brouwer, Johansson, and Green, who have collected a point in each of their last three games. Ovechkin is poised to break Caps’ great Peter Bondra’s franchise scoring record, and Backstrom has quietly racked up four points in five games.

 

Rank Player The whatfor
1 Alex Ovechkin His 4-point game Sunday night, obscured by the 6-5 loss, tied him with Peter Bondra on the franchise points list with (825). After going 5 games without a point, Ovechkin now has 5 points in his last 2 games.
2 Nicklas Backstrom Backstrom had three assists in the Caps’ loss to the Coyotes, and he’s collected 4 points in his last three games. A typically solid week for him.
3 Mike Green Green has 3 points in his last 3 games. He’s ranked 6th in the NHL in points for defensemen. Lots of people are talking about how he should be traded to improve the team or shake things up in the locker room, but he is far from being the problem on this team.
4 Troy Brouwer Despite ever-shuffling linemates, Brouwer has scored a goal in each of his last three games, including a last-second tally against Arizona.
5 Marcus Johansson Johansson has 3 points in his last three games, a goal and a pair of assists. Eleven games in, he’s already halfway to equaling his goal output (8) from last season.
6 Evgeny Kuznetsov After a slow start to the season, the rookie scored his first goal of the season against the Red Wings, and now has 3 points in his last three games. Trotz seems to be fond of shuffling him between skating with Johansson and Brouwer on the second line and skating with Michael Latta and Jay Beagle on the fourth line.
7 Joel Ward He has 5 goals so far this season, and is second only to Alex Ovechkin, who has 6. He was briefly promoted to the top line, and added a power play goal Sunday’s loss to Arizona.
8 John Carlson Besides facing the toughest competition with his d-partner Brooks Orpik, Carlson has 3 points in his last 3 outings.
9 Tom Wilson Wilson has only donned a Caps sweater twice this season since returning from injury, but was promoted to the first line, scored a goal on his first shift and collected an assist in Sunday’s loss. If Trotz decides to continue playing him with decent linemates, his development will be leaps and bounds from last season.
10 Matt Niskanen Though Niskanen and Alzer don’t face competition as tough as Orpik/Carson, they are still eating up some tough minutes. You couldn’t ask for a steadier pair.
11 Braden Holtby The Caps goaltending hasn’t been very good all season. Out of 8 games started, Holtby is 3-3-1 and has a SV% of .899. It’s safe to predict his performance will eventually level out, though it’s hard to say why he’s struggling early on – perhaps he’s readjusting to actually being allowed to play his natural style.
12 Karl Alzner Alzner is skating some fairly tough minutes with defensive partner Matt Niskanen. Nothing remarkable to report otherwise. Karl is as Karl does.
13 Andre Burakovsky The young Swede is adapting well to the center position, but only has one point in his last 3 games. His minutes have been somewhat limited, however – he skated only 7:42 in Sunday’s loss to Arizona, the lowest TOI of his NHL career thus far.
14 Brooks Orpik Orpik has taken a few avoidable, untimely penalties of late. He’s also guilty of coughing up the puck in the defensive zone a bit too much, which is most notably the catalyst of the Caps’ troubles.
15 Jason Chimera Chimera has one point in his last 3 games and suffered a grossly broken nose against Detroit. It was basically on the other side of his face.
16 Nate Schmidt Schmidt still hasn’t scored a point this season, but he’s a positive possession player. He and d-partner Mike Green face the weakest competition of all the defensemen and receive the most offensive-zone starts.
17 Justin Peters Peters has played 4 games in a Caps sweater, and is 1-2-1 in that span, with a SV% of .880. It’s not fun to be a Capitals goaltender right now.
18 Eric Fehr A healthy scratch on Oct. 29, Fehr returned to action on the road in Tampa Bay and at home against Arizona. He was replaced by Joel Ward on the first line last Thursday, started Sunday’s game on the top line and then moved to the third line between Chimera and Ward.
19 Michael Latta Latta doesn’t have a point in the last 3 games, but earned 5 for fighting for his half-hearted bout against Arizona’s B.J. Crombeen.
20 Jay Beagle Beagle played a season-high 15:34 against Detroit last Thursday, but that’s about it. No points in 6 games.
Brooks Laich Still out with an “upper-body” injury, per the team.
 – John Erskine Sidelined due to neck surgery. Doubtful he’ll crack the lineup any time soon.
 – Aaron Volpatti IR. Still.
 – Jack Hillen Scratched this week.
 – Liam O’Brien Played one game this week, but was a healthy scratch as soon as Tom Wilson was healthy enough to play.
 – Chris Brown Scratched this week.
 – Dmitry Orlov Yup, still on IR.

 

About Katie Brown

Katie Brown is a Staff Writer for District Sports Page covering the Capitals. She resides in Arlington, VA, and developed a love for the sport of hockey as a youngster while watching her brothers play. Katie works at a nonprofit organization by day but the rest of her time is devoted to watching, writing, and talking about hockey and perfecting her mean one-timer. She is co-host of Girls Just Wanna Have Puck podcast. You can follow Katie on Twitter @katie_brown47.

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