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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 2: West Coast Swing

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

Anne-Marie Sorvin-USA TODAY Sports

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

Goalies Trend Rink Rank* Notes
Braden Holtby http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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91.4%
Despite only giving up two goals in each of his two appearances this week, his save percentage dipped a bit... but then that will happen when your team only allows 44 shots on goal in those two games (and when the season is only seven games old). Percentages and sample sizes aside, Holtby has continued to be exactly what we expect him to be: a very, very good goaltender.
Philipp Grubauer
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30.1%
After a pretty stellar preseason, Grubauer's first start of the regular season was... well, something less than stellar. Granted, getting your first action of the year at the end of a Western Canada road trip - and against some talented offensive weapons in Edmonton - can't be easy. And yes, the Caps were able to produce plenty of goals to cover the difference. But four goals on 23 shots is just not good enough, and you'd like to see him stop at least one or two of the ones that got through.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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95.2%
After a fairly eventful (in a not-so-good way) week last week, Alzner settled down as the Caps hit the West Coast. The only goal-against for which he was on the ice was a power-play goal in Edmonton, and he was on the positive side of possession for the week - all in all, a vast improvement.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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49.8%
With five points in three games, but a front seat to a slew of goals against over that same span, Carlson continues to walk the line between high risk, high reward. As long as he continues to put up more points than the other team does while he's on the ice, it's not that big of a problem... yet.
Taylor Chorney http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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40.8%
Skated just under 30 minutes of ice time combined in the two games and was on for a grand total of zero goals against (to say nothing of two goals by his own team). He's doing exactly what the team needs him to do - nothing more, nothing less.
Matt Niskanen http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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94.3%
No one had a better shot-attempt differential than Niskanen, who saw 19 more shots go towards the opponents' nets than his own - like Alzner, much better over last week, for sure. He also added another couple of assists to his total, although he only managed to get two shots through to the net in the week's three games, both against the Canucks.
Dmitry Orlov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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72.6%
Was relatively decent in the first two games of the week (and was on the ice for four of the nine goals the Caps scored in those two games), and picked up his second assist of the season against the Canucks. The Oilers' game was a bit of a rough run, though, as he was on for the first two Edmonton goals - both at even strength - and skated a season-low 12:07.
Brooks Orpik
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41.7%
He did pick up his first assist of the season against the Flames, but Orpik was also on the ice for both Calgary goals, both Vancouver goals, and three of the four goals scored by the Oilers - and took a trio of penalties. Oof.
Nate Schmidt http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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86.0%
Sat out Tuesday night, then got back in the lineup against the Canucks and skated just over 11 minutes, primarily against Vancouver's fourth line (a trio that he pretty well outdueled, at least as far as possession is concerned). After that? Back to the pressbox for Friday's win over Edmonton.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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97.8%
Picked up his second and third goals of the season against Calgary, then added a fourth (plus an assist) in Edmonton to snap his lengthy one-game pointless streak. That middle game against Vancouver was rough on a couple of levels, as he also lost 15 of the 17 draws he took, but he made up for it with some strong possession stats against the Canucks' top line. And oh, by the way, he now leads the League in goals per 60 minutes.
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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96.8%
Last week, Beagle was all about the little things. This week, he's mixed in some offense, with a goal and two assists to go with his faceoff prowess (winning 22 of the 34 draws he took this week) and penalty killing (nary a power-play goal given up in a little over five minutes of shorthanded time).
Andre Burakovsky http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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95.6%
Burakovsky's started the season looking for a place where he fits in the lineup, and after a two-goal, two-assist week... it appears that place is not on "his" line. In fact, of the four points he picked up this week, three of those were either assisted by or assists on goals by Kuznetsov, and the other was an assist on a third-line goal. That he's not meant to be relegated on the fourth line isn't exactly newsworthy, but it's nice that if he's going to be stuck there for the time being, Barry Trotz is able to find him opportunities to play with the other guys. Because it's working.
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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98.7%
All Jason Chimera does is score goals. That's all he does. He added another tally against the Flames, then picked up his third against the Canucks - and now he's tied for third on the team in goals scored with the likes of Kuznetsov and Oshie. Solid.
Stanislav Galiev http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png N/A Three games on the schedule, three games in the pressbox. If the team keeps playing this way, it's going to be tough for Galiev to crack the lineup barring injury.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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91.7%
Picked up an assist against the Canucks, and then basically outmuscled Edmonton's Connor McDavid for a nice deflection goal against the Oilers Friday night to give him five points on the season. Still needs to shoot a bit more... but who needs to shoot when all of your goals are scored within three centimeters of the net?
Evgeny Kuznetsov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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98.5%
Two of his three games this week were multi-point games, including a five-point outing and his first career hat trick in Edmonton (followed by the requisite shaving cream pie from his captain). That gave him a grand total of nine - nine - points over that span, more than anyone else in the League.  He did take two penalties against the Oilers, though, so...... um, bad Kuzy.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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60.4%
Continues to drive possession in his limited role, continues to be an effective penalty killer (although he was dinged for two power-play goals-against this week), continues to be without a point... the only forward to appear in all seven games and not show up on the scoresheet.
Michael Latta http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png N/A Like Galiev, Latta's sat out the last three games - but Trotz is big on not letting guys sit out for too long, so expect one or both to get into the lineup at some point. Maybe.
T.J. Oshie http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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98.4%
One goal (in which he basically made Dougie Hamilton look like a fool) and two assists, combined with strong possession numbers and a generally scrappy nature. Yup, it's official - we love Oshie almost as much as he loves his stick.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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98.4%
Picked up career point #900 with his fourth goal of the season against the Flames (which was followed shortly after by point #901), and kept the goal-scoring streak alive with the eventual game-winner, a self-proclaimed "muffin" of a shot that nearly went through the back of the net. That goal streak ended in Edmonton (slacker) but he added two assists to give him five points on the week. He just keeps rolling right along, doesn't he?
Chandler Stephenson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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64.5%
Got run around a bit by the other team's top line in both Vancouver and Edmonton, and was on for two of the Oilers' four goals while still looking for his first NHL point. He hasn't been bad, of course, and has gotten his chances - and it's only been a handful of games - but at some point the coaching staff needs to decide whether the minimal ice time he's getting isn't put to better use.
Justin Williams http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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96.3%
It's taken a couple of games, but Williams is finally starting to find some real chemistry with his linemates... although it certainly doesn't hurt that one of those linemates is now Nicklas Backstrom. Those two in particular have meshed really nicely, with Williams providing Backstrom with a set-up man and allowing Backstrom to show off his underrated and underused shot (many of which have found the back of the net). He's also got a nose for the net, something that was on display with his perfectly-timed deflection for his first goal as a Cap. Don't underestimate just how good he's been for the Caps so far.
Tom Wilson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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90.0%
A relatively quiet week for Wilson, who was on for exactly one goal in either direction - the goal on which he had his lone assist - and came out just about even in terms of possession. He added in about three and a half minutes of spotless penalty killing, took a minor of his own. Not bad... just quiet.

*Rink Rank number is the percentage of total votes received by each player over the past week that were "thumbs up" - check all of them out here.