Capital Ups and Downs: Week 22

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 03: Alex Ovechkin #8 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with Dennis Wideman #6 after a 3-2 victory against the St. Louis Blues at the Verizon Center on March 3, 2011 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/217757/dash.png Healthy enough to backup presumably means healthy enough to start, though Holtby will have to wait a bit longer for that opportunity.
Michal Neuvirth http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Had a fantastic week (3-0-0/1.64/.944) against non-playoff opposition leading up to tonight's showdown with the Bolts.
Semyon Varlamov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Out an additional seven-to-ten days, which is three-to-six as of today. But obviously it's more important that he's healthy in three weeks than in three days.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had the secondary helper on Semin's game-winner in Sunrise, marking only the second game in his last 20 with a point. More importantly, he continues to play solid defense, and was only on the ice for only one goal in the Caps' three games last week.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Has points in three of his last four games, and had a plus-two rating for the week. But that belies his recent struggles a bit, as Carlson now is in the top-ten in the League in giveaways.
John Erskine http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Erskine's next game (presumably tonight) will set a new personal single-season high. Perhaps his relatively heavy workload is part of the reason he has had a plus rating in just one game since January, hasn't been on the ice for a Caps goal since Valentine's Day, and is a minus-six with two points in 24 games in 2011.
Mike Green http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Hopefully making progress as he recovers from a head injury (or two), as the Caps could certainly use him - the Caps' goal differential with Green in the lineup is.42 goals per game better than it is without him (.31 versus -.12, with both goals-for and goals-against suffering in the absence of the two-time Norris Trophy finalist).
Scott Hannan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Scored his first goal in 118 games against St. Louis and continues to be a rock on the blueline, blocking 14 shots in his last four games and logging huge minutes on the penalty kill.
Tom Poti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png On Long-Term Injured Reserve with just 21 games played on the season. His previous low was 52 games, set two seasons ago.
Jeff Schultz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Healthy-scratched against the Panthers according to the team, but his ice time against St. Louis (to say nothing of his apparent distress on the bench at the end of that game) and his play (on ice for just two goals against in his last five games) have us wondering about the veracity of that information.
Tyler Sloan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Bumped to ninth on the depth chart and ineligible to return to Hershey, Sloan finds himself in a bit of hockey purgatory on most nights. But at a salary of $700k for this season and next, that's not such bad work if you can get it.
Dennis Wideman http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Point-less in three games as a Cap, but is already contributing in other ways by playing big minutes, leading the team in hits twice, and shooting the puck from the blueline (a novel concept to Caps rearguards, it seems). Of the eight goals the Caps scored this week (all of which came at even-strength), Wideman was on the ice for a team-high (tied) five.
Forwards
Jason Arnott http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Paid immediate dividends with a primary assist on the game-tying goal in the final minute of his first game as a Cap and then scored the game-winner in his second game.
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Broke a six-game scoreless drought with a goal against the Blues and followed it up with one against the Panthers (but has now gone nine games without an assist, something that should simply never happen for him).
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Out with an upper-body injury, but would have a hard time cracking the lineup right now if he was healthy.
Matt Bradley http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Beat up some scrub for the Blues. That's about it for the week.
Jason Chimera Has gone 13 games without a goal and has just one helper and a minus-nine rating in that span. When Eric Fehr's ready to go, Chimmer might be watching from the press box.
Eric Fehr http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Apparently very close to a return from the longest three-to-four week absence ever.
Boyd Gordon http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Scored just his second goal of the season against the Cats and was only on the ice for the 3-on-5 goal for the week.
Matt Hendricks http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had a key secondary assist against St. Louis and fought in Florida. At one point, it seemed a sure thing that he'd top his career-high of nine goals, but he's been stuck on seven for 15 games.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Two point-less, minus-one efforts and what looked like a bad injury incurred blocking a shot on Sunday were going to be the story of MoJo's week... until he returned to the game and eventually fed Alex Semin for the overtime game-winner.
D.J. King http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Cleared waivers and now waits... and waits... and waits for his next chance to play.
Mike Knuble http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Getting chances but not converting, which is a sign of either age, bad luck, or being Jason Chimera.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Had a three-game scoring streak snapped with a pretty poor effort on Sunday, but his net-crashing goal to tie the game with 48 seconds left on Tuesday and a good game Thursday are enough for an up arrow.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png A brilliant overtime game-winner against the Isles highlighted another strong week for Ovechkin, who now has points in eight of his last nine games (12 points total) and a half-dozen or more shots on goal in five of his last eight games. For the week, AO was on the ice for five of the eight goals the Caps scored.
Alexander Semin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png During the Caps current four-game win streak, Semin has two game-winning goals of his own and a beautiful primary assist on a third, all of which broke ties either in the third period or overtime.
Marco Sturm http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png I guess we're seeing why this guy was on waivers, though he has had some chances.

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