April 5, 2020

Washington Capitals Power Rankings Week 5

What an interesting week for the Washington Capitals. After losing five straight games, the Caps collected a home and a road win during a weekend back-to-back. Tom Wilson and Brooks Laich got hurt, and Eric Fehr and Evgeny Kuznetzov were healthy scratches. Jay Beagle is a first-liner (again), so get well soon, Tom (please).

Rank Player The whatfor
1 Nicklas Backstrom Backstrom scored 2 goals and an assist this week, including an overtime game-winner against Carolina. He’s the heart and soul of the team.
2 Marcus Johansson Johansson is experiencing a renaissance of sorts. He has two goals and an assist in 3 games, and has adopted the “shoot first” mentality quite well. .
3 Joel Ward Ward scored the game-winner in Chicago on 11/7, and now has 7 goals, one more than Alex Ovechkin. He can thank Trotz for all that power play time.
4 Troy Brouwer Brouwer has a goal and an assist in three games, and would probably be a better choice than Beagle for the top line while Tom Wilson is convalescing.
5 Mike Green Green had one assist in three games this week, but has consistently driven play as a positive possession player. His 11 points is good enough for 13th in the NHL for points by a defenseman.
6 Alex Ovechkin He didn’t score any goals this week, but had 3 assists in 3 games. Let’s hope he doesn’t weigh down his new linemate Jay Beagle
7 John Carlson Carlson had two multi-point games this week, for a total of three points. He leads all Caps defensemen in points, with 11, and ranks 7th points by a defenseman in the NHL. (Mike Green has one more goal and two fewer assists).
8 Matt Niskanen The Caps broke their 5-game losing streak in Chicago on 11/7, and Niskanen collected two assists. He’s steady in his own end, and can be trusted to make the right decisions when he has the puck.
9 Eric Fehr Fehr was a healthy scratch for two games, but he scored a goal in his first game back on Saturday night. He had 4 SOG that night, tied with Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Johansson.
10 Andre Burakovsky The rookie scored a goal and added an assist in the Capitals’ win in Chicago. His production has dropped off a bit, but that’s expected. He’ll be just fine.
11 Braden Holtby Holtby rebounded from several bad showings with a 40-save performance in the Caps 3-2 win in Chicago, in which he boasted a .950 SV%.
12 Karl Alzner The 26 year old defenseman added an assist, his third of the year. He’s not taking the heavy minutes that he used to but he and Niskanen are a solid second defensive pairing.
13 Evgeny Kuznetsov Kuznetzov might be struggling to adapt to the NHL, or he’s struggling because he’s skating with the fourth line most nights. Or he’s a healthy scratch, like 11/7. Either way, give him time. He deserves better, but hockey isn’t fair.
14 Brooks Orpik Orpik is taking some heavy minutes and facing tough competition night after night. It almost makes up for his untimely defensive-zone turnovers.
15 Nate Schmidt He’s logging close to 20 minutes a night with D-partner Mike Green, and though he doesn’t have a point yet this season, he’s been a positive possession player for the Caps.
16 Jason Chimera He hasn’t scored or had a shot on goal in 4 games, but Chimera’s third line is a capable shutdown line most nights.
17 Tom Wilson Wilson sustained a ‘”lower-body” injury Saturday in the second period of the Caps home game against Carolina. He’s listed as “questionable” for  Tuesday’s home game as well.
18 Jay Beagle The fourth liner earned a promotion to the Caps top line, thanks to Tom Wilson’s injury on Saturday. He also scored his first goal of the season (prior to the first line promotion). Sure, he works very hard, can certainly deserves the respect he’s garnered from the coaching staff, but just ask Adam Oates how well 8-19-83 worked out last season. It wasn’t pretty.
19 Michael Latta Latta doesn’t face very tough competition, but he has a positive Corsi rating and gets the job done.
20 Justin Peters Peters allowed 3 goals in the Caps’ OT win vs. his former team, the Hurricanes. His .882 SV% doesn’t look very good right now, but there’s still time for him to turn things around.
Brooks Laich Out with an “upper-body” injury, per the team. He last played on 11/7, and was reevaluated by team medical staff on Monday.
 – John Erskine Sidelined due to neck surgery. Doubtful he’ll crack the lineup any time soon.
 – Aaron Volpatti
  1. Still.
 – Jack Hillen Scratched this week.
 – Liam O’Brien Healthy scratch for 3 of the last 5 games.
 – 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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