Capital Ups and Downs: Week 8

WASHINGTON - NOVEMBER 26: Alexander Semin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with Brooks Laich #21 and John Carlson #74 after scoring a hat trick in the second period against the Tampa Bay Lightning at the Verizon Center on November 26 2010 in Washington DC. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Gutted out a tough loss in Jersey in which he had his moments - good and bad - before being returned to Hershey. And lest his 2-2-0/3.84/.845 line get you down, note that Olaf Kolzig started out his NHL career 0-5-0/4.31/.852 and, more recently, Michal Neuvirth was 2-2-0/3.01/.887.
Michal Neuvirth http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Healthy enough to back up Varly for the last three games of the week after being unable to go Monday night, the Caps now have the luxury of giving Neuvy some well-deserved rest.
Semyon Varlamov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png After returning from his rehab assignment in Hershey on Monday, Varly went 3-0-0/1.30/.948, beating the 'Canes twice and shutting out the Bolts. Yeah, it's on.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png When a guy like Alzner stands out, it's usually because he's done something wrong. He didn't stand out much this week.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Scored the game-winner (read: first goal) against Tampa and was only on the ice for two goals against all week as he continues to improve in his own end. Carlson now leads the Caps' blueliners in GAON/60 and +/-ON/60 at five-aside.
John Erskine http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Scored and fought against the Lightning and has the best GAON/60 at 4-on-5 of the team's regular rearguards.
Brian Fahey http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Notched his first NHL point (and shots on goal) against the Bolts before being sent back to Hershey. Better have good tires on your car, Brian - they'll be getting a lot of wear this year.
Mike Green http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Eased back into the lineup against Carolina.... Just kidding: Green played 21 even-strength minutes and another couple on each of the special teams, even though he's clearly at somewhat less than 100%.
Tom Poti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png For the first time this season, Poti has played three games in a row. And while he was on the ice for twice as many Caps goals as opposition tallies (four to two), his inability to tie up Eric Staal at the end of regulation on Sunday was this week's lasting memory of the veteran blueliner.
Jeff Schultz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png For a second-consecutive week, no Cap was on the ice for more goals against this week than Sarge, who was on for four of the eight goals surrendered (not including the penalty shot marker in Jersey). On the other hand, throw out that blowout in Newark and Schultz was on the ice for just one goal (the Staal game-tying score Sunday), killed off 11:13 of opponents' power-play time, and blocked 15 shots over the last three games of the week. We're giving him an up arrow.
Tyler Sloan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217725/cross.png We won't kick a man while he's down. Get well soon, T-Slo.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png With two goals and three assists over the three Southeast Division games this week, Backstrom helped ignite the team's post-Jersey rebound, and wasn't on the ice for a goal against this week (including the Devils game) until Sunday, while being on for seven Caps lamp-lighters.
Matt Bradley http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Fought in Carolina. Bled in Carolina. Did what Matt Bradley does all week.
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Four games, no points, one hit, four shots on goal. Not much "there" there this week for Chimmer.
Eric Fehr http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Had a nice assist on MoJo's goal on Sunday, but with just two goals in his last 21 games, seems destined for a healthy scratch sooner rather than later, as he also now has the worst plus/minus on the team.
Tomas Fleischmann http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Flash hasn't scored in his last 11 games and is minus-three over that span, earning him a healthy scratch against Tampa. It's time to move him back to the wing full-time. Or, better yet, just move him.
Boyd Gordon http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Still looking for his first goal on the season, Gordon found a couple of minus-one's this week, as well as a scratch... and the team's first regulation loss of the campaign with him in the lineup.
Matt Hendricks http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png What's not to love about Matt Hendricks? Well, since you asked, the fact that he's been a minus in four of his last seven games, has the second-worst GAON/60 at 5-on-5 of the team's forwards and is the team's worst penalty-killing forward.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Johansson had his first NHL assist and multi-point game on Friday and followed it up with a goal on Sunday. He was plus-three for the week, and, most impressively, was not on the ice for a single goal against in 47:44 of ice time (including 4:04 shorthanded). In fact, in 15:49 of penalty-killing time on the season, MoJo has yet to be on the ice for a goal against.
D.J. King http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Scratch, scratch, scratch, scratch.
Mike Knuble http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Played the second half of the week but didn't get a point and registered only two shots on goal. Now that his running mates of a year ago are hot again, perhaps it's time to let them help Knuble get going.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Scored the game-winner in Carolina and looked great on the top line against Tampa... before being bumped back to play with Knuble and Fleischmann for Sunday's game.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Kovalchucklegate seemed to have lit a fire under the captain, who responded with six assists and a plus-four rating over the next three games while firing 18 shots on goal (only one of which came in the 6-0 rout of the Bolts). Ovechkin was on the ice for eight of the 11 goals the Caps scored this week and only one opposition tally. Oh, and the goals? They'll come. Soon.
Alexander Semin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Another hat trick, another four-goal week. Ho-hum. Alex Semin is, at present, unstoppable.
David Steckel http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Stecks won 72.3% of his 47 faceoffs this week... but all we remember is one of the losses. Such is life as a one-trick pony when that trick fails.

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