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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 20: Consistently Inconsistent

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

Dennis Wierzbicki-USA TODAY Sports

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Holtby started all four games this week, finished three of them, and ended the week with an overall save percentage of .900 on the dot... although he was (unsurprisingly) better in his two wins, turning aside 55 of the 59 shots he faced for a .932 save percentage. The second of those two wins was a nice bounceback game for #70 after getting the hook against the Habs, and he was very good in a losing effort in Chicago. A sign that he's turned a corner? Here's hoping.
Philipp Grubauer http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Came into Wednesday's game against Montreal after Holtby gave up three goals on 18 shots, and stood his ground for all but one of the 16 he faced (including a penalty shot). He continues to be incredibly reliable in relief... but it'd be great if we didn't have to see him in that capacity anymore this season.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Rebounded nicely from a rough week last week, as he had a positive Corsi differential of 12 at even strength and was on the ice for just two goals against, both in the Montreal loss.
John Carlson
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Seemed to be turning things around after a long absence, and wasn't on the ice for any goals-against in his two games (but was on for three goals by the Caps). Then the team announced that he underwent a "procedure" on that nagging lower-body injury and would be out three to four more weeks. Ruh roh.
Taylor Chorney
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Even with the addition of Weber, Chorney's probably first in line to get some reps with the extended absence of John Carlson. If that's the case, he's going to need to put together a better performance than he did against the Wild, when one of his giveaways led directly to a goal and 18 more shots went towards Holtby than the Minnesota net.
Matt Niskanen http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Was on the ice for the same number of goals for as goals against this week, but far more shots going in the right direction, and helped set up Ovechkin's 40th of the season. That said... numbers don't always tell the whole tale, and he had some adventurous moments in his own end that need to be cleaned up going forward.
Dmitry Orlov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Much like the little girl with the little curl in the middle of her forehead, Orlov was at times very, very good... and at times he was awful. Such is the risk you take with someone high risk, high reward like him.
Brooks Orpik http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Everyone totally called the fact that Orpik would have six points in his seven games since returning from injury, right? For the second-consecutive week, the Caps' secret offensive weapon picked up a goal and two assists, and has set a new career high in goals... with three. You go, Brooks.
Nate Schmidt http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Weird week for Schmidt, as he failed to crack the halfway mark in even-strength CF% in any of the first three games but wasn't on for any goals-against... then was on for two of Chicago's three goals on Sunday (including the game-winner, a result of him not playing to the whistle) while posting an ES CF% of 54.8%.
Mike Weber http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Hasn't gotten into a game yet, and has practiced just once with the team, but with Carlson out it's likely we'll see him out there on the ice sooner rather than later.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Backstrom's gone a little bit cold lately, although he bounced back nicely with three points in his last two games this week. Something to keep an eye on? The fact that Backstrom has just five even-strength points in his last 12 games.
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Made his return to health and the regular lineup against the Blackhawks, had a slight edge in possession, was on the ice for Chicago's second and third goals of the afternoon, and lost both of his faceoffs. After almost two months off, it might take a bit of time for him to get back in the rhythm of things.
Andre Burakovsky http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Continues to have the hot hand, adding another three points to his season totals with a goal and two assists this week (and some pretty slick possession numbers at even strength, as well). Since joining the new-look second line after the new year, Burakovsky has 21 points in 24 games.
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Along with the reinvigorated third line, Chimera remains on pace for a career year, picking up an assist in the win over the Coyotes and a goal, his 17th of the season, against Montreal.
Stanislav Galiev http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had what was probably his best game of the season in what ended up being a losing effort against the Habs, picking up his third point of the year (and first since mid-December). He's struggled over the course of the season to stay in the lineup, but the team seems committed to him and he's been a little better almost every game... so how much of a look does he get down the stretch?
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Sat out one game with the flu (and then proceeded to give the flu to the rest of his teammates, nice), became a papa, and still found time to pick up a couple of points. Quite the eventful week for MoJo.
Evgeny Kuznetsov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Kuznetsov - and the second line in general, whichever incarnation gets the nod - has had some adventures in the defensive zone lately, and #92 had a front-row seat to four of the eleven goals the Caps gave up this week. That's not ideal... but if anyone's going to make up the difference, it's this guy, as he balanced that out with a four-point week for himself.
Brooks Laich
Crying
Godspeed, Brooks. Thanks for everything.
Michael Latta http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Between healthy scratches and not-so-healthy scratches, Latta only got into one game this week - just under five relatively uneventful minutes against the Coyotes.
T.J. Oshie
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After starting the season red hot, should we be concerned that Oshie's points-per-game rate has dipped to a career low while his shots-per-game rate has risen? He's got some pretty talented linemates to give him a boost (and his numbers will still be fine at the end of the season, including what is likely going to be a career-high in goals) but this was another week without a point for Oshie.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Two weeks ago we mentioned that he was struggling to pick up assists... and now he's an assist machine. Yes, we'll take the credit. But don't worry, Ovechkin's not limiting his always insane production to a couple of apples here and there. His power-play goal against the Wild was his 40th of the season - the eighth time in 11 seasons that he's hit that mark.
Mike Richards http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Finally picked up his first goal as a Cap against the Coyotes, a hard-working, net-crashing effort that must have been a huge relief after 13 months away from the NHL. Welcome back to the scoresheet!
Justin Williams http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png With two assists this week, Williams has now topped his production from all of last season, and tied his output from the 2013-14 season. That's the good news. The bad? He's had some defensive struggles of late that have cost the Caps. Focus or rust or whatever the issue may be, it's hard to be too concerned about it being an issue for much longer with a pro like Williams.
Tom Wilson
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For someone so interested in killing penalties, Wilson certainly hasn't shown it lately, as he landed himself in the box five times in the four games this week. You could argue that one or two were more reputation calls... but the majority of them weren't, and that's a problem. It's enough to undo the good he did to set up the game-winner Monday night.

Stats via war-on-ice.com and Hockey Analysis.