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Capital Ups and Downs, Week 4: The Good, the Bad and the Ugly

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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/217757/dash.png
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53.0%
Tuesday night against the Rangers was probably the first really subpar game we've seen out of Holtby this year, as he faced just 22 shots and gave up five goals, all at even strength (including two on a mere three shots in the second period alone). As has been his way, though, he rebounded nicely in the week's remaining two games, turning aside all but three of the 54 shots he saw against Boston and Toronto.
Philipp Grubauer http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png N/A No action for Gru this week, but with another back-to-back coming up next week, expect that to change.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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96.6%
All of a sudden the offensive floodgates are open for Karl. as he picked up his first goal of the season (an empty-netter against the Bruins) and an assist against the Rangers to give him three points in his last five games. And even if he doesn't believe in statistics, they believe in him - Alzner posted an even-strength Corsi differential of 21 this week.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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42.3%
Picked up a goal and an assist against the Bruins, which keeps him among the top five point-scoring defensemen in the League (tied with Erik Karlsson for the third-highest point total among blueliners). He did get absolutely run around by the Rangers, however, and was only marginally better against the Bruins before putting up a much better effort against Toronto.
Taylor Chorney http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png N/A The way Schmidt is playing right now, it might be awhile before Chorney gets back into the lineup.
Matt Niskanen http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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83.8%
No points this week for Niskanen, and he was on the ice for half of the goals given up by the Caps... although he doesn't deserve a whole lot of blame for any of those, and his underlying numbers were good.
Dmitry Orlov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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93.6%
One assist, one bad turnover that led to a Toronto goal, and a thundering open-ice hit that reminds us all how deceptively physical he can be.
Brooks Orpik http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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19.5%
Started the week with a really awful performance against the Rangers, as he was on the ice for four of New York's five goals (and took a penalty, albeit one that didn't end up costing the team). Things got better as the week went along, though, as he saw more pucks going towards the opponents' nets than his own, wasn't on for any goals-against and actually had a pretty solid game against the Leafs (aside from yet another penalty).
Nate Schmidt http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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97.5%
Was well over 60% in even-strength CF% in each of the week's three games, and led all Caps' defensemen with a Corsi differential of 25 over the course of the week. He also picked up his first point of the season in pretty sweet fashion, with a beauty of an assist against the Rangers, and was easily one of the team's best players (low bar, but still) at MSG Tuesday night.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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93.1%
Was held off the scoresheet at MSG but snapped a lengthy two-game pointless streak with an assist on Carlson's tally against the Bruins - an assist which, amazingly enough, was his first power-play point since October 17. He then stepped up big time against the Leafs, picking up another power-play assist and then scoring in the Nick of time (...get it?) to tie the game in the final second of regulation.
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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46.5%
Got abused a bit by the Rangers and was on for New York's second goal, but was better against Boston (and much better against the Leafs). He's winning faceoffs, though, and continues to be one of the team's stalwarts on the penalty kill (without taking any of his own, always a plus).
Andre Burakovsky
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32.8%
We noted last week that Burakovsky needs to be playing alongside better players to produce. After starting the week in his usual third-line role, he was moved up to an all-Swede line with Backstrom and Johansson for the Toronto game and still came up empty. At times he seems to get pushed off the puck too easily; at others, he's forcing plays. The result? No points in the last two weeks, a lazy hooking penalty against Toronto and not great underlying numbers in the process.
Jason Chimera
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59.0%
It's not all that surprising that Chimera hasn't maintained the offensive pace he set early in the season. Some of that may be due to not putting as many pucks on net - or being put in a position to put pucks on net; Williams being added to his line may help in that department, if his five shots on goal (second only to Ovechkin) against the Leafs are any indication. But he, and his linemates, still need to work on the other side of the puck as well, particularly if they're being deployed in a "shutdown" capacity - Chimera was on the ice for half of the team's goals against this week.
Stanislav Galiev
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N/A Sent to Hershey for a two-week conditioning assignment, and already has three goals in his first two games with the Bears.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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80.3%
Deflected two goals past netminders at MSG Tuesday night, which would be great except that one of them was past his own goalie. Other than that eventful game, a fairly quiet week for MJ90.
Evgeny Kuznetsov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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64.6%
Seems to have cooled off a bit after cutting a swath of destruction through Western Canada, with "only" two assists on the week, but still has points in eight of the team's first 13 games and is tied with Ovechkin for the team lead with 15. One area to keep an eye on for Kuznetsov, as he continues to adjust to his role as a center, is faceoffs - he won less than 50% of his draws in two of the week's three games.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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50.2%
Snapped a lengthy goal drought against the Bruins when he picked up his first goal since March 31 - and in typical Laich fashion, it wasn't all that pretty, with the puck basically bouncing off of him in front of the net. That's kind of the way it had to happen, though, and hopefully now he can start converting on those solid possession numbers he continues to put up.
Michael Latta http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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76.8%
Sat out against the Rangers, but was back in the lineup to face the always-feisty Bruins, and helped bring an end to the team's season-opening 12-game fightless streak when he dropped the gloves with Boston's Tyler Rendell. He added his first point of the year to his PIM-laden outing, but continues to look for his first goal since... well, his first goal. For what it's worth, that lone goal was scored almost exactly two years ago. In Detroit. Hmm.
T.J. Oshie http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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74.5%
Fired a ton of shots on net this week, and continues to trail only Ovechkin (naturally) for the team lead in that department. He was on the ice for four goals that were scored this week, three of which were Caps' goals, and picked up a secondary assist on Backstrom's goal Saturday night. He's cooled off a bit of late, though, as that assist was his only point in the last five games.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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92.4%
During his four-game goalless streak, Ovechkin "only" had 13 shots on goal. Over his last three games, he's got a whopping 21... and, oh yeah, three goals. Oh, and remember how he hadn't had a power-play goal since last year? That streak is gone, too, after he cashed in with the extra man against Toronto. He's now tied with Sergei Fedorov as the top Russian goal-scorer, and is poised to pass him Tuesday night against Detroit, with his old teammate in the audience.
Chandler Stephenson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png
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75.4%
Only appeared in one game this week, the disaster against the Rangers (lucky kid), but put up generally good numbers in that limited action. Won 56% of his faceoffs, posted an even-strength Corsi of 64.71%, wasn't on for a goal against... not bad.
Justin Williams http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png
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94.6%
It's becoming pretty clear that you can put Williams on any line, and that line will start to do good things - he just makes his teammates better, as evidenced by the jump in possession numbers for Beagle and Chimera once Williams slid down to the third line. Aside from the Corsi bump, Williams picked up a trio of assists this week, including the primary helper on Backstrom's game-tying tally Saturday night.
Tom Wilson
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38.0%
Rough week for young Thomas, as he was moved to the fourth line and saw his ice time drop each game before getting benched at the end of the Leafs game for taking an undisciplined roughing double-minor. Just another lesson learned for the kid as he continues to carve out a role for himself in the lineup.

*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.