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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 3: Squeaking Out Wins

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

Geoff Burke-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/217733/up.png
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89.7%
Picked up his second loss of the season against the Penguins, but still only gave up two goals and followed that up with a one-goal outing against the Blue Jackets - his fifth- and sixth-straight game in which he's allowed fewer than three goals.
Philipp Grubauer http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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98.8%
In his first game, he gave up four goals on 23 shots and looked shaky at best; his second game was a huge improvement, as he faced 27 shots and gave up just a single goal against the Panthers Saturday night. The 26 saves he did make helped buy time for his team to come back to tie - and eventually win - the game.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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83.5%
Picked up his first two points of the season, the lone assist on Kuznetsov's goal against Pittsburgh and then a secondary helper on Williams' opening tally Friday night. He was also on the ice for just a single goal against (although it was the eventual game-winner by the Pens) and came out well ahead of 50% on the week in even-strength possession.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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51.3%
It's a weird week when John Carlson is on the ice and not much happens, but that's the way it went this week, as he was on for just a single goal in either direction (the opening tally by Kuznetsov on Wednesday). Of course, that also means he didn't have any points this week - just the fourth time since the beginning of last season that he's gone more than two games without showing up on the scoresheet.
Taylor Chorney http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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13.8%
Saw limited action this week, with just under 13 minutes of ice time against the Penguins before sitting out the next two games. He wasn't too bad in that limited time, with 10 of the 16 shot attempts going in the right direction... although he did have the misfortune to be caught on the ice with Orpik just in time to get a minus for Pittsburgh's game-tying goal.
Matt Niskanen http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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57.9%
Got a little lost in his own end right before Kessel's goal Wednesday night, which would go on to be the game-winner, but otherwise a fairly quiet week - not overly bad, but nothing stunningly great, either.
Dmitry Orlov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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77.2%
Picked up his third assist of the season on the OT game-winner Saturday night, and continues to look more comfortable by the day. While he continues to wait for his first goal of the season (damn you, Pete DeBoer), he's doing good things on the other side of the puck, with 41 of the 66 shot attempts taken while he was on the ice going towards the other team's net.
Brooks Orpik
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28.9%
Saw far more shot attempts go towards his own net than the opponent's net in two of the three games this week. The lone exception? A match-up against his former team Wednesday night. That would be great if he hadn't basically let Beau Bennett skate in on net and take not one but two shots on Holtby to tie up the game - that can't happen at any time, but definitely not against a Division rival less than 30 seconds after your team gets on the board.
Nate Schmidt http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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92.9%
Got less ice time - but tougher minutes - against the Panthers than in his first action of the week against Columbus, and took a season-high three shots in Florida in an all-around strong night. Time will tell if he's earned the trust of Barry Trotz just yet, but he's been pretty good in his return to the lineup so far.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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84.2%
After putting up seven points in his first four games of the season, Backstrom's got just a single point - a helper on Oshie's eventual game-winner Friday night - in his last three. He's still dominating in possession, though, and is putting the puck on the net more than ever; in fact, his five shots against the Panthers led the Caps in that department. He'll be fine.
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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76.9%
Something of an eventful week for Beagle, as he was on for two goals-against in the week's first two games (when the team only gave up three total) and then ended up on the "top" line for a bit in Florida in time to pot the equalizer against the Cats - a game in which he also sat for two minor penalties.
Andre Burakovsky
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75.1%
Racked up just over 30 minutes of ice time total in his three games this week and somehow managed to be on for three of the five goals given up by the Caps. He's putting up great possession numbers in those limited minutes, which is good, but it still feels like he just doesn't have a defined role on the team just yet.
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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65.7%
Found himself just barely on the wrong side of 50% in terms of even-strength Corsi this week, but that's to be expected in a third-line role. Otherwise, no points, no penalties and not on the ice for a single goal (for or against) - a pretty quiet week all around for Chimera.
Stanislav Galiev http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png N/A There doesn't seem to be a place for him in the lineup just yet, but the team seems unwilling to subject him to the waiver wire - so for now, he remains in healthy-scratch limbo.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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56.1%
Continues to shoot the puck, particularly in front of the net, and is putting up consistently strong possession numbers (although it doesn't hurt that he's been on a line with two of the team's better possession forwards). He also picked up an assist to keep his points-per-game rate at .60, just slightly over his career average.
Evgeny Kuznetsov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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87.9%
Kuznetsov has not been playing at his best over the last week - much like his team as a whole - and yet because he's so good, and feeling confident, the pucks are finding the back of the net anyway. He saw his five-game point streak snapped against Columbus (and had no shots on goal in that game, either), but tacked on a goal on either end of that lone pointless outing (including a pretty sweet overtime winner) to give him 13 points on the season.
Brooks Laich
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31.6%
Laich has seen his ice time drop dramatically over the first few weeks of the season, and the 7:16 he skated against the Pens was the lowest yet - not just this year, but the least amount of ice time he's had since 2006. Add in the fact that he got pretty well abused in the last two games of the week as far as possession, and you have to think the next stop for Laich is the pressbox.
Michael Latta http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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50.9%
After sitting out against the Penguins, a loss allowed Latta to draw back into the lineup against the Blue Jackets... barely. He skated just 3:55, all at even strength, and registered a single shot on goal before being relegated to healthy scratch duty yet again. Puzzler.
T.J. Oshie http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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88.3%
His goal against the Blue Jackets proved to be the eventual game winner, finishing off a nice three-on-one from a couple of pretty good passers in Ovechkin and Backstrom. That was Oshie's lone point this week, but he's piling up the shots on net (equaling or beating Ovechkin's SOG totals in two of the week's three games)... so a stretch of three games where he "only" gets a goal is probably nothing to be concerned about.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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78.3%
Speaking of not being concerned, Ovechkin has now gone four games without a goal. Four whole games. That's his longest goalless streak since last December. Of course, in those four games he's got five points, is putting shots on net, is dominating possession... yeah, he's going to be fine. Even if he doesn't have a single power-play goal this year.
Chandler Stephenson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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20.9%
Over the last three games, Trotz has really cut back on the ice time for the team's fourth line, and Stephenson played under six minutes in each of his two appearances this week. Minimal minutes, minimal impact and on for Kessel's game-winner Wednesday night.
Justin Williams http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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76.8%
With a goal against the Jackets and an assist on the equalizer in Florida, Williams now has eight points in his first ten games with the Caps. He's also put in some great work on the penalty kill, with about 3:30 of flawless shorthanded time on his record this week.
Tom Wilson
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61.8%
Took three penalties in the first two games of the week and was on the ice for Bennett's equalizer Wednesday night (which went along with some rough possession numbers against the Penguins). He did have a nice shift with new linemates in the third period Saturday night, but he and the rest of the usual third line have slumped a little bit in recent games.

*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.