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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 12: Two and Two

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The latest edition of our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals ups and downs.

Kevin Hoffman-USA TODAY Sports

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby The week started off with a bang for Holtby, as he posted a 31-save shutout against the Sabres, but his second outing wasn't quite as steady - and after getting New Year's Eve off, he put in an un-Holtby-esque performance in a shootout loss to the worst team in the League.
Philipp Grubauer Faced down 36 shots from the Hurricanes on Thursday, turning aside 33 of them and was easily the best player for the Caps (which, granted, was a fairly low bar).
Karl Alzner With Carlson out, Alzner has had to carry a heavier workload, and for the most part has done a pretty good job of it. He was on for just one goal at five on five this week, and had 14 blocked shots (almost twice as many as any other teammate this week), all while logging big minutes; in fact, his 26:23 in Buffalo was a season high, and his highest minute total in a little over two years. He even picked up the offense, chipping in with two assists in the two losses.
John Carlson
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Saw his personal ironman streak snapped at 412 consecutive games and ended up missing all four games this week. Here's hoping he's back before too long, though, because an increasingly injured blueline is starting to take its toll on the team.
Connor Carrick
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Recalled to replace an injured Carlson, Carrick was at times a decent fill-in...except when he wasn't, like on the first Buffalo goal Wednesday night. All told, he was on the ice for three of the six goals scored in his three games before being sent back to Hershey prior to the Columbus trip.
Taylor Chorney Posted even-strength CF% above 50% in three of the week's four games, including the highest such mark against the 'Canes on Thursday night. He also had the best even-strength CF/60 and lowest ES CA/60 among any Caps blueliner who played in all four games (second in both departments to Carrick). He's perhaps more sheltered than the other defensemen, and was on for a couple of even-strength goals this week, but generally he's doing okay.
Aaron Ness Saw limited ice time in his first outing with the Caps on Saturday, but wasn't on for any goals against (although 12 of the 21 shot attempts for which he was on the ice went towards the wrong net).
Matt Niskanen Like Alzner, Niskanen has taken on a bigger role since the team's top pair got injured; unlike Alzner, his load includes pretty much all of the power-play time, as well. The result has been some hefty minutes for #2, including a career-high 32:04 in the shootout loss Saturday night (and it's worth noting that fatigue was probably a factor in allowing Brandon Saad to get the game-tying goal in that one). He did snap an 11-game point drought with an assist on Wednesday... then added an assist in Raleigh and another one against the Jackets.
Dmitry Orlov The so-called underlying numbers were good, and he's finally getting more shots on net (with seven on the week, more than he's had in a four-game span in over a month), but he didn't have any points and was on for three of the four Carolina goals on Thursday.
Brooks Orpik
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No news is... well, no news.
Nate Schmidt Schmidt checked in with an even-strength CF% of exactly 50% this week, and was on for eight goals total - five for the Caps and three against.
Nicklas Backstrom Had a goal and two assists this week, dishing out a point in each of the three games that he finished (and a collective heart attack for Caps fans in the one he didn't finish). Just another point-per-game(ish) week for Nick, ho hum.
Jay Beagle
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Picked up his sixth goal of the season (and second in as many games) in Buffalo Monday night, but suffered a hand injury against those same Sabres on Wednesday that required surgery. The verdict? At least six weeks without Beagle, which sucks for both team and player.
Andre Burakovsky Burakovsky scored his first goal since October against the Sabres, and got his second-highest ice time of the season against the Blue Jackets. The injury to Beagle is going to cause some line-shuffling, and Burakovsky may get some opportunities he might not have otherwise... so now he needs to take advantage of it.
Jason Chimera Just ("just") one goal this week for Chimera, a nice tip on the power play that brings his man-advantage goal total up to four on the season.
Stanislav Galiev If you thought an injury to one of the forwards might open up a slot for poor, patient Galiev...welp.
Marcus Johansson Since the start of December, only the top trio of Ovechkin, Backstrom and Oshie have picked up more points than Johansson, who is red-hot lately and continued to be so this week with a couple of one goal, one assist games.
Evgeny Kuznetsov Had something of a rough run towards the end of the Columbus game, as he took a penalty in overtime and then failed to score in the shootout, but otherwise another strong week overall for Kuznetsov. His goal and three assists gave him his ninth and tenth multi-point games on the season, which leads the team.
Brooks Laich His name has been noticeably absent from the recent uptick in third- and fourth-line scoring, but a nice play to get his stick in the way of a clearing attempt against the 'Canes Thursday night helped to set up the team's second goal. Not only did that give the team at least a faint glimmer of hope for a comeback (that was eventually snuffed out), but his assist snapped a personal 12-game scoreless streak
Michael Latta Finished the week just slightly below 50% in even-strength Corsi-for percentage, and no points (which is suddenly a strange thing). Of course, Latta's big moment of the week was in his questionable decision-making skills in taking on Buffalo's Nicolas Deslauriers - and getting hurt in the process. Luckily he was only out for one game, but he'd be better served not seeking out revenge where it's not needed.
T.J. Oshie Started the gorgeous passing play to set up Ovechkin's eventual game winner in Buffalo, and added another helper against the Sabres on Wednesday, before adding a goal of his own (and another stunning shootout tally) in a losing effort in Buffalo.
Alex Ovechkin Ovechkin had 26 - 26 - shots on net this week (and 29 shot attempts total) en route to his four goals, all of which, with the exception of his empty-netter against the Sabres, were scored at even strength. For those keeping track (and everyone is), he's now just four goals shy of #500 - and three games shy of #800. Time sure does fly.
Zach Sill Was surprisingly not all that bad in replacement of Beagle - and even more surprisingly (and pleasantly so), didn't drop the gloves in search of some sort of "revenge" against the Sabres in his first game with the team. He also put together four scoring chances of his own, which is the same number racked up by Backstrom and Oshie, so... we'll take it.
Justin Williams Got something of a gift goal against the Sabres on Wednesday, but it was payoff for a couple of prime chances earlier in the game. That was his lone point on the week, but his 55.8% even-strength CF% was third-highest on the team - a nice bounceback after a rough run last week.
Tom Wilson Racked up a team-leading 10 penalty minutes this week (and feel free to debate amongst yourselves as to whether all of those were deserved) but he continues to find his offensive game, with another two-assist outing against the Jackets and three points total on the week. That gives him six points in his last seven games, putting him behind only Johansson and Kuznetsov over that span.

Stats via and Hockey Analysis.