Our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals' ups and downs:
|Braden Holtby||Displayed some signs of fatigue, perhaps, in Sunday's win over the 'Hawks, but finished an absolutely incredible week with a 4-0-0/1.05/.965 mark and his first NHL shutout. (and a Star-of-the-Week accolade to follow, no doubt). In his last seven NHL appearances, Holtby is 6-0-1/1.02/.966.
|Michal Neuvirth||Sidelined twenty minutes into the week with a freak eye injury but should be back in net soon. (Don't worry, I looked it up - "Neuvirth" isn't Czech for "Pipp.")
|Semyon Varlamov||We're at the back-end of "seven-to-ten days," so Varly (who got some work in at practice on Saturday) should be getting close to a return.
|Karl Alzner||Pretty quiet week for Alzner, who hasn't been on the ice for a power-play goal-against in eight games and has been on for just two of any kind in his last six. Defensive results like that go a long way to make up for his 36-game goal-less drought.
|John Carlson||Has posted the same even-strength and all-strength runs as were mentioned in the note on his partner Alzner, above, but chipped in with an assist against Edmonton (on the power-play, no less), had a game-high five blocks against Carolina and a game-high three takeaways against Chicago.
|John Erskine||A plus-three week in which he wasn't on the ice for a single goal against in 62:48 gets an up arrow for another Caps blueliner in the midst of a monster goal-scoring slump (none in his last 41 games - or half a season - for Big John).
|Mike Green||Placed on Long-Term IR and ineligible to return to the lineup prior to March 22 (and with some luck, he'll actually be ready to go by then... but I wouldn't bet on it).|
|Scott Hannan||Hasn't been on the ice for an even-strength goal against in five games, and has been on for just one in the past eight games. The result? A plus-eight rating in those last eight games, punctuated by a plus-three afternoon against the 'Hawks.|
|Tom Poti||Would Poti get a sweater if the entire group of blueliners was healthy?|
|Jeff Schultz||Has only been on the ice for two goals against since the trade deadline (and was only on for Tomas Kopecky's fluke goal this week), but curiously wasn't used in the last four minutes or so of the Chicago game as the Caps tried (and failed) to kill a penalty and hold onto a 3-2 lead (this despite Schultz being arguably the Caps' most effective penalty-killing defenseman on the season). Oh, and he's the third in the group of Caps' rearguards who haven't scored in forever - Sarge is currently at 78 games without a tally.
|Tyler Sloan||More scratches than a dog with fleas.
|Dennis Wideman||Four games, four assists and a plus-four rating for a week in which he was on the ice for seven of the 12 goals the Caps scored (and three of the five they allowed, two of which came on opponents' power-plays) and led the team in ice time in three of the four. He's far from perfect (see the 'Hawks third goal on Sunday, for example), but he's been a godsend for this team.|
|Jason Arnott||Speaking of godsends, in seven games as a Cap, Arnott has five points, each of which tied a game or broke a tie. He's also been on the ice for six Caps goals and not a single opposition strike. Not one. This past week, Arnott had three points, won 52.6% of his faceoffs, had a plus-three rating, and had two points on the power play - as many as Nicklas Backstrom has in his last 23 games.|
|Nicklas Backstrom||You didn't really believe "one to two games," did you? But with the cast on his hand now removed, his return to the lineup shouldn't be too far off.
|Jay Beagle||More scratches than a DJ with the shakes.
|Matt Bradley||Since missing 14 games with a broken finger, Bradley has just one goal and nary a helper in 20 games and has been on the ice for one Caps goal and six opposition scores. He's certainly the most likely candidate to be scratched when Backstrom returns.|
|Jason Chimera||Had an assist against his former team on Wednesday, a very strong game on Friday (though the stats may not reflect that), and an even better Sunday, highlighted by a strong power/speed move to the net and heading off the ice with Brent Seabrook for five minutes moments later (a fantastic trade for the Caps). Games like his last two will snap that 17-game goal-less streak in no time.|
|Eric Fehr||Returned from a 22-game absence in style, notching a pair of goals against the Oilers. In three games since his injury, he has those two goals, an assist and nine shots on goal while averaging less than 12 minutes of ice time per game.|
|Boyd Gordon||Scored his second goal in five games on Sunday and skated 10:32 of perfect penalty-killing for the week.|
|Matt Hendricks||Skated a legendary shift that ended in him scoring the game-winner on Friday night and had the primary assist on the Caps' go-ahead third-period goal on Sunday (a game in which he dished out a team-high five hits). What a season this guy's having.|
|Marcus Johansson||Stepped right into the first-line center role and has posted a beauty of a primary assist in each of his three games since. As importantly, MoJo hasn't been on the ice for a goal-against of any kind in his last five games, helping his plus-minus inch back towards the black.|
|D.J. King||More scratches than a cat juggler.|
|Mike Knuble||It's tempting to give Knuble an up arrow for his OT goal on Sunday, but given that it was his first goal in March (and his bad penalty at the start of the game)... oh , what the hell. Knuble was also plus-three for the week, fired three shots on net in three of the four games, and was on the ice for four Caps goals and none by the opposition. With a dozen games left, can Knuble reach the 20-goal plateau for an eighth-straight year?|
|Brooks Laich||Like Knuble, had a big goal on Sunday to break a bit of a goal-scoring slump. Unlike Knuble, Laich won 60.7% of the 56 draws he took, including a 15-for-21 night against the Oilers and a 7-for-8 effort against the 'Hawks.|
|Alex Ovechkin||Had the shootout-deciding goal in Tampa, the game-winner against Edmonton, the third-period game-tying goal against Carolina and three more points in the week's four games. Yep, he's back.|
|Alexander Semin||Had a three-game goal streak, a four-game point streak and a six-game plus-one streak snapped on Friday night, but was back on the scoresheet with a helper on Sunday. Arnott's getting much of the credit for Semin's current run of strong play, but let's be honest, the real one to credit is the same one who's to blame when things aren't going well: Alexander Semin.|
|Marco Sturm||Got his first point as a Cap on a nice feed to Semin against the Oilers, but hasn't scored a goal in seven games with his new team or in a dozen overall.|