VANCOUVER, CANADA - OCTOBER 29: Goalie Roberto Luongo #1 of the Vancouver Canucks makes a glove save on Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals as Alexander Edler #23 of the Vancouver Canucks and Marcus Johansson #90 look on during the third period in NHL action on October 29, 2011 at Rogers Arena in Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada. (Photo by Rich Lam/Getty Images)
Our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals' ups and downs:
|Michal Neuvirth||Sent out to relieve Vokoun in the second period against Vancouver and subsequently picked up his first loss of the season, giving up four goals on twenty-six shots (including three in the third period, two in the span of a minute and one that he'd like to have back). Not the best of showings for Neuvirth... but the abruptness of his return to action combined with the lack of support in front of him spares him a down arrow.|
|Tomas Vokoun||Came up just short in a goaltending duel in Edmonton, surrendering two goals that both came on the power play, and then faced seventeen shots to open Saturday's game before getting the ol' "try to wake up the team" hook. The three goals allowed in that opening frame were the most Vokoun's given up since the Tampa debacle.|
|Karl Alzner||Scored his first goal of the season against the Oilers, giving him four points on the season already - also known as a third of his entire offensive output last year - but was on the ice for both Edmonton goals and four of the seven in Vancouver.|
|John Carlson||Was "only" on the ice for one Oiler goal and three Canucks tallies, and fired six shots on Roberto Luongo, but looked particularly rough on Saturday night and reminds us all that he still has some learnin' left to do.|
|Sean Collins||Appeared in his 20th career NHL game against Edmonton in which he finished a plus-one with three shots on goal, then followed up his milestone game with a bit of a clunker in which he was on ice for two Vancouver goals to finish minus-two in less than ten minutes of ice time.|
|John Erskine||No offense to Sean Collins, but when a Caps' defenseman gets injured we'd much prefer to see big #4 patrolling the blue line in his place. Hurry back, Ersk.|
|Mike Green||Somehow managed to twist his ankle while taking a puck to the face, proving there's no puck luck quite like Mike Green puck luck. It's not supposed to be too serious but he's already had to sit out two games...and the team missed him. Badly.|
|Roman Hamrlik||Was on for just one of the week's nine goals-against, blocked four shots and skated almost thirteen minutes on either the penalty kill or the power play between the two games, but it was his penalty that turned a 5-on-4 into the 5-on-3 against Edmonton - a 5-on-3 that led to the eventual game-tying goal by the Oilers.|
Welcome to the Tom Poti LTIR Comedy Moment...
Q: Why'd Tom Poti cross the road?
A: To get to LTIR.
Try the veal.
|Jeff Schultz||Was on for two goals-for and two goals-against in Vancouver, and fired six shots on or toward the net this week - including a season-high two shots Saturday night - but saw his ice time take a hit (especially against the Canucks) upon drawing Sean Collins as his D partner.|
|Dennis Wideman||Had his point-per-game streak snapped Thursday night against Edmonton but was right back at it against the Canucks with an assist on Johansson's goal. More impressive is the fact that he was on for two goals this week, both of them Caps' goals, and hasn't been on the ice for a goal-against in over two weeks.|
|Nicklas Backstrom||Finished with his second-highest faceoff percentage of the season (which was also only his second game above 50%) against Edmonton but was right back below 40% (!) in Vancouver...so that's something to keep an eye on. Hard to argue too much with the rest of his game, however, as he picked up another two points Saturday night to keep him among the League's assist leaders and atop the team's scoring leaders.|
|Jay Beagle||Says he doesn't have a concussion but still needs clearance from team doctors to resume skating and the coach won't comment...hmm.|
|Troy Brouwer||After firing just seven shots on goal in seven games he's now had nine in his last two, including some oh-so-close chances against the Canucks - all while doing what he does and adding nine hits and an assist to his scorecard.|
|Jason Chimera||Thanks to a healthy dose of special teams work, Chimera's10:34 of ice time Thursday night was his lowest of the season...that is until Saturday, when it slipped to 9:13. Finished even for the week and added an assist as well as a handful of shots on goal, so he'll be taking back the team goal-scoring lead any day now. Right?|
|Jeff Halpern||Followed up a dominant faceoff night on Thursday (6-for-7) with an abysmal one on Saturday (1-for-6) and was on the ice for three goals-against, including two at even strength and both game-winners. Oof.|
|Matt Hendricks||Pretty quiet week for Hendricks, with a few shots on goal, a few hits and a few blocked shots to his name. Of course, that call for "diving" livened things up a bit...|
|Marcus Johansson||Picked up one of the dumber penalties you'll see Johansson take - or anyone for that matter - when he closed his hand on the puck against the Oilers, but (somewhat) balanced that out by picking up his fifth goal of the season against Vancouver.|
|D.J. King||The team may have picked up its first two losses of the season but two more scratches means it's same old, same old for King.|
|Mike Knuble||If you could pick anyone from the Caps' top six forwards to take a penalty shot, the first choice may not be Knuble...but there he was getting hauled down against the Canucks, then getting a fluky goal on a penalty shot to remain perfect (2-for-2) in his career.|
|Brooks Laich||It's probably not a good thing when one of the team's better defensive forwards is on the ice for five of the nine goals allowed in two games - three of them while shorthanded. Also not a good thing? That he won just one faceoff in eight tries against Edmonton.|
|Alex Ovechkin||The team may have lost two straight but it didn't seem to be for lack of trying on the part of the captain, who fired twelve shots on net over the two games and earned his second two-goal game of the season against Vancouver. Having said that, he can't be taking the kind of penalty he took in the third period Saturday night, a penalty that led to the eventual game-winner...even if it wasn't technically a power play goal.|
|Mathieu Perreault||For the first time this season, Perreault went two straight games without a point - which considering his role and ice time is fairly impressive in and of itself. And he still has yet to be on the ice when an opponent scores.|
|Alexander Semin||Two games, two more minor penalties (albeit one of which was a bit ticky-tacky in nature) a minus-two and just a handful of shots for Sasha, who is now in a four-game goalless drought. Snipers run hot and cold, though, so perhaps he's coming close to breaking out. We hope.|
|Joel Ward||Picked up his first penalty as a Cap (thanks to Ryan Kesler's performance as Wounded Man #2 in Spielberg's Ow, My Eye!) on Saturday and consequently was in the box for Vancouver's first power play goal, which was followed by the first time Ward's been on the ice for a goal-against since October 10. Tough to punish him too much for that, though...time to start a new streak.|