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Braden Holtby's recent dominance earns him NHL weekly honors

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USA TODAY Sports

Braden Holtby's recent dominance earns him NHL weekly honors

The Capitals started the season at 4-5-1, but have now won six of their last eight games. Braden Holtby is a big reason why and the NHL has taken notice.

The NHL named Holtby the Third Star of the week on Monday after going 3-0-0 with a 1.27 GAA and .952 save percentage. But really, Holtby's recent dominance goes deeper than just the past week.

RELATED: SHOTS FIRED! THE AHL AFFILIATES OF THE CAPS, PENGUINS AND FLYERS HAD A TWITTER WAR OVER THE WEEKEND

As previously mentioned, the Caps are winners of six of their last eight. Those two losses? Holtby did not play in either game. Philipp Grubauer got the start in both. That shows you how important Holtby has been to Washington.

Holtby has won six straight games and has vaulted himself into the conversation as one of the league's elite goalies yet again. He even hit an historic milestone Friday against the Pittsburgh Penguins. That win was career win No. 200 for Hotlby who became the second-fastest player to reach that mark in NHL history behind only Ken Dryden, a stat that impresses everyone but Holtby himself.

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THIS WEEK'S NHL POWER RANKINGS!

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When will T.J. Oshie return to the Caps' lineup?

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When will T.J. Oshie return to the Caps' lineup?

T.J. Oshie will miss a sixth straight game when Washington hosts Anaheim on Saturday night.

The Caps’ star winger, however, continues to make progress in his recovery from the upper body injury he suffered Dec. 4 against San Jose.

On Friday, he joined his teammates for the first half of practice while wearing a non-contact jersey. He left the ice, though, once the more vigorous work began.

RELATED: BRUINS COACH TAKES ISSUE WITH TOM WILSON COMING TO THE DEFENSE OF DMITRY ORLOV

Coach Barry Trotz said Oshie’s early departure was planned.

“He skated today [but] until he does a full practice he will not play,” Trotz said. “He’s going through the protocols and all that.”

The Caps are not scheduled to practice on Sunday so the next opportunity for Oshie to complete a full session will be on Monday morning prior to the team leaving for a three-game road trip that will make stops in Dallas, Arizona and Las Vegas.

MORE CAPITALS: CHECK OUT THE LATEST EPISODE OF THE CAPITALS FACEOFF PODCAST

Assuming Oshie receives medical clearance in the coming days and there are no further injuries, Trotz will have a tough choice to make once No. 77 is ready. Someone has to come out. But who? Chandler Stephenson? Devante Smith-Pelly? Someone else?

“That’s what you want; you want internal competition,” Trotz said. “I don’t know who would come out yet when T.J. does come in. But they’ll let me know.”

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Bruins coach takes issue with Tom Wilson coming to the defense of Dmitry Orlov

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Bruins coach takes issue with Tom Wilson coming to the defense of Dmitry Orlov

Tom Wilson is one of those players people love to have on their team, but others hate to play against.

An incident in the second period of Washington's 5-3 win over the Boston Bruins on Thursday has once again drawn the ire of an opponent.

With the Bruins attacking, a deflection by Patrice Bergeron hit off the post and out of play. As the puck was going out, Brad Marchand gave a cross-check to the back of Dmitry Orlov.

Orlov took exception. So did Wilson.

You can see the replay here.

RELATED: 4 REASONS THE CAPS BEAT THE BRUINS

With Orlov and Marchand engaged in a shoving match, Wilson comes in to defend his teammate. That did not sit well with Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy.

“Well, I voiced my opinion at the end of the period. I think it’s wrong and to me, to just put two guys into the box in that situation when a third guy comes in, there should have been an additional call,” Cassidy said after the game, per Bruins Daily.

“That’s the way I felt about it, they didn’t see it that way. Clearly, two guys, Orlov and Marchy [Marchand] were battling and for him [Wilson] to come in is unnecessary, to say the least in that situation. But their job is to police it on the ice, and in that particular instance, that’s the way the saw it and that’s the way it went.”

CAPITALS EXTRA PODCAST: RECAPPING ANOTHER FIVE-GOAL GAME

Perhaps Cassidy was just fishing for an extra minor to Wilson, but it is probably no coincidence he said "a third guy comes in" when referencing the play.

There is a rule in the NHL against a "third man in" that states that a misconduct penalty will be assessed on "any player who is the first to intervene (third man in) in an altercation already in progress," but the term "altercation" falls under the terms of fighting in the rule book. Orlov and Marchand were assessed matching minors for cross-checking. The fact that the referees determined no fight was in progress means there was no "altercation" and the third man rule does not apply.

Marchand and Wilson were not done with each other and both players were assessed 10-minute misconducts late in the third period, but by then the game was already well in hand for Washington.