Capital Ups and Downs: Week 4

via daylife.com

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Jose Theodore Stopped 28 of 30 Islander shots on Saturday, keeping the team in the game long enough for them to wake up, come back, and get him a long overdue win - his first since opening night.
Semyon Varlamov Has now allowed four goals or more in three of his five starts, but is 2-0-0 in those games. Must be nice.
Defensemen
John Erskine - Not healthy. Not playing. Not missed.
Mike Green Green "got mad and said, ‘The heck with this,’ and he played the way he can." More, please.
Milan Jurcina - A couple of penalties in the Atlanta game and the willingness to shoot the puck (albeit not on net) in the Isles game stand out.
Shaone Morrisonn - Penalties in three straight games, but playing solid D when he's on the ice.
Brian Pothier Continues to struggle to make an impact.
Tom Poti - Back-to-back plus-1's and a whopping 6:41 of penalty killing time against the Thrashers.
Jeff Schultz "Did I ever tell you kids about the time I took the puck coast-to-coast through the entire Thrashers' team, deked the goalie and roofed it on the backhand?" One goal, four assists, plus-four, 6:12 SH TOI versus Atlanta (and, unlike Poti, un-scored upon in that time), and a big blocked shot at the end of that game. Keep killing it, Sarge.
Tyler Sloan - Couldn't get a game last week. One wonders what his immediate future holds.
Forwards
Keith Aucoin A big goal and an assist and a plus-two rating in two games (and in limited time, to boot). The results, at least, are all you can ask of him... other than a more consistent effort in backchecking.
Nicklas Backstrom Continues to struggle, posting a minus-three rating and winning just 33% of his draws last week. Backstrom has now gone seven games without an even strength assist and has just one helper in that span. Could his contract situation be weighing on him?
Matt Bradley Another goal for Brads, whose Pts/60 at even strength trail only Ovechkin and Semin among Caps skaters with five or more games played.
Chris Clark - Scored the eventual game-winner in Atlanta, but didn't do anything with more than five minutes of PP time for the week or a few shifts on the top line.
Eric Fehr - No preseason, no conditioning assignment, no ice time (but a nice goal against the Thrash). Recipe for failure?
Tomas Fleischmann - No preseason, a conditioning assignment and presumably a second-line slot being kept warm. Recipe for success?
Boyd Gordon - Still out with an injury. Could use his faceoff (and other) skills on the penalty kill.
Alexandre Giroux - When Green got kneed on the Island, he had the perfect opportunity to show he's more than a minor league cherry-picker. Like most of his opportunities at the NHL level, however, Giroux failed to take advantage. He did pot a goal against Atlanta, though.
Mike Knuble - Two penalties in the Atlanta game (though at least one was highly questionable), beauty drop pass to Green against the Isles.
Brooks Laich Overtime game-winner in New York (his first tally in three weeks) to go along with his assist earlier in the game and a plus-two rating for the week.
Quintin Laing - Judgment day coming?
Brendan Morrison A helper and a plus-four rating in the two games, but just 39.3% in the dot.
Michael Nylander Sometimes it's just real good to see a hockey player finally playing hockey. Five points in three games doesn't hurt either.
Alex Ovechkin The six shots on goal AO was credited with last week were as many or fewer than in any of his previous half-dozen games. Two hits in two games, a fine, and a team 0-for-11 on the power play (including two shorties against) also speak to a rough week for the best player in the world.
Alexander Semin - When it has to be clarified that a player's absence is health- and not discipline-related, it says something about how that player's been playing.
David Steckel - Plus-two on the week, but where's that offense about which we heard so much in the off-season?
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