Capital Ups and Downs: Week 17

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Stepped back from the ledge and delivered a solid bounce-back performance (despite a bit of a shaky start), stopping 28 of 30 Phoenix shots en route to his sixth win of the season.
Jose Theodore http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Continued his solid play with probably his best game as a Cap on Tuesday night against the Wings followed by a road win in Pittsburgh. With a 2-0-0/2.51/.940 week, Theo's now 5-0-0/2.20/.937 in his last five starts and 5-0-0/1.96/.944 in his last five appearances overall.
Semyon Varlamov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217725/cross.png Vancouver's starting to sound less and less likely... which is just fine by Caps fans.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Played to an even rating for the week, seeing mostly even strength ice time (other than in Pittsburgh, where he killed 3:24 of power play time) along the way. Bringing Alzner along slowly makes sense.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Called up for the Pens game and returned to Hershey after picking up his first NHL point and turning in a plus-two performance, Carlson is now plus-six in his last three NHL games.
John Erskine http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Returned to the lineup on Saturday night after a two-week absence, which is good for fans who missed the pass-the-stick-to-the-D-who-dropped-his fire drill that seems to occur on every third Erskine shift.
Mike Green http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Missed Thursday night's game with an undisclosed injury and had his nine-game point streak snapped on Saturday night, a game in which he was tagged with four giveaways.
Shaone Morrisonn http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Three points in the last two games are as many as he had in the previous 36 combined (and his best two-game output since the lockout), and his plus-five rating for the week (and off ice for all seven goals the Caps allowed) puts him at plus-nine over his last five games. Impressive turn around for Mo, who's playing with a bit more snarl of late as well.
Brian Pothier http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217725/cross.png A broken hand for a guy whose bad luck with injuries would be noteworthy on any team that doesn't have Quintin Laing on its roster.
Tom Poti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Didn't do anything significant that showed up on the scoresheet, but led the way with 15:46 of shorthanded time for a penalty killing unit that went 14-for-14 on the week.
Jeff Schultz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Minus-three and on the ice for five of the seven goals the Caps allowed for the week. Maybe it's time to go back to Morrisonn-Green, Schultz-Poti as the top two D-pairings.
Tyler Sloan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png With Alzner back up, Carlson knocking on the door and Pothier hopefully getting healthy, Sloan will have to be much better than he was this week if he wants to get minutes.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png With a pair of power-play goals, Backstrom is just one goal away from tying the career mark he set last season of 22 total tallies, but Nick has now gone four games without an assist - his longest drought since last January.
Matt Bradley http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Scored against the Wings (for the second time this season), and is one goal shy of his single-season best of nine.
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Had a helper against the Pens and is throwing his body around a bit, but his line has been on the ice for three of the last four goals the Caps have surrendered, including both lamp-lighters in the 'Yotes game.
Eric Fehr http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Despite being on the ice for the same goals against that Chimera was, Fehr potted a couple of goals and added an assist, with one of those grapes and the apple coming on the power play (just hours after we'd noted his even strength production).
Tomas Fleischmann http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Scored the game-winner in Pittsburgh on a breakaway tally, added an assist there and on Saturday night, and won half of his 28 draws for the week. Flash is playing at a point-per-game pace over his last ten games.
Boyd Gordon http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Had a beauty of an assist against Detroit and was plus-one in each of the week's three games, successfully killing off 10:40 of power play time along the way.
Mike Knuble http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Got away with a bad third-period tripping penalty on Tuesday night (i.e. the team killed it off), and had a goal and an assist against Pittsburgh before finishing the week off with a nondescript game against the 'Yotes, but that's fine - kill the Pens; the other guys can take care of the rest of the League.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Saturday night's power play goal was his eighth of the season with the extra man, one shy of the nine he had last season. And the mostly helmetless shift? That was just a little somethin' extra for the ladies.
Quintin Laing http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Did Not Dress, Did Not Dress and Did Not Dress.
Brendan Morrison http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png With one goal in his last 23 games, one assist in his last five, and a minus-two rating for the week (see the note under Chimera above), BMo's hot start to the season becomes a more distant memory with each passing game. The lone bright spot for the week? His 84.2% (16-for-19) winning percentage in the faceoff circle over the past two games.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Three goals (including two into empty nets, bringing his season total there to just three), and three assists for a week highlighted by leading Thursday night's game in Pittsburgh in goals, shots on goal, hits... and first star accolades.
Alexander Semin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png A four-point Saturday night gave Sasha ten points in his last five games, but he'd likely have gotten an up arrow even without that monster performance solely on the sheer beauty of his pass on Thursday night's game-winner.
David Steckel http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Stecks scored the game-winner on Tuesday and added a helper Thursday - notching points in back-to-back games for the second time this month - and killed 13:21 of shorthanded time for the Caps' perfect-for-the-week penalty kill.
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