Capital Ups and Downs: Week 27

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Tuned up for the playoffs with a 1-1-0/1.45/.932 week which culminated in only his second regulation loss since late February in Saturday night's relatively meaningless affair. Neuvirth enters the post-season as the Caps' (presumed) number one netminder, and on a 9-2-0/2.16/.925 run since... a 6-0 loss to the New York Rangers.
Semyon Varlamov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Fantastic against Florida on Wednesday, Varlamov stopped the first 30 Panthers shots he saw before allowing a power-play tally with under seven minutes left and the game well in-hand (the Cats added an even-strength marker with a minute-and-a-half left). Varlamov, who has gotten better in each start since returning from injury (save percentages of .913, .923 and .939, respectively), looks to be entering the playoffs the same way he has the past two seasons - as the back-up... but likely not for too long.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Alzner carries with him into the playoffs a 47-game goal-less streak and has gone 11 games without an assist. More concerning is the fact that he was on the ice for more goals-against than any other Cap after the trade deadline (two of which came this past week), but given how much - and against whom - he's used, that's probably not entirely surprising. Oh, and prepare yourself for his playoff beard.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png A quiet week ends a fantastic rookie campaign. Unlike most rookies, of course, Carlson enters the post-season with one NHL playoff series already under his belt. He's a big-game player poised to make his a household name.
Sean Collins http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Scored the eventual game-winner on Wednesday night, giving him as many goals on the season (in four games) as Tyler Sloan (33 games played), Jeff Schultz (72) and Scott Hannan (78) had. Also has handled himself decently in his own end, though he was on the ice for both goals in that mid-week tilt.
John Erskine http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png A goal and ten hits were icing on the cake that was Erskine's finest season as a professional. The Caps will need him to be every bit as good as he has been (only one minus-rating game since March 6) in the post-season when he plays.
Mike Green http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Supposedly ready to go, and the Caps most definitely need their two-time Norris finalist back in the lineup. The question is, how long will it take him to get back in top form after essentially a two-month lay-off. The answer? Only one way to find out.
Scott Hannan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Given his low percentage of offensive-zone starts, special teams ice time (i.e. plenty of penalty-killing minutes and no power-play time), and, uh, offensive skill, the fact that Hannan has been on the ice for as many goals-for as against since the trade deadline is awfully impressive.
Tom Poti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png It's possible that Poti (and Green, for that matter) have been healthy enough to play for a little while but have been unable to come off of Long-Term Injured Reserve for salary cap reasons. I suppose we'll find out soon enough - a (relatively) healthy Poti sure would help the Caps, especially if the former Ranger could put together a series like the two-goal/four-assist effort he had against his old team two years ago.
Jeff Schultz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had his first assist since Valentine's Day on Wednesday, but was on the ice for a team-high three goals-against this week, and looked particularly bad on Joffrey Lupul's goal in Toronto. He should benefit from Green's return to the lineup, and he'll need to, or he could get bumped to the press box if and when the team gets healthy.
Tyler Sloan http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Missed the Leafs game after "getting his bell rung" against the Sabres, played in the home finale and then... was scratched for Game 82. Is he still a bit groggy... or has he been surpassed on the depth chart by Collins? 
Dennis Wideman http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Win one (series) for Wides, boys - he could be back for Round 2.
Forwards
Jason Arnott http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Sat out the home-and-home set with the Cats after skating on the wing (?) for some of the Toronto game. With three goals in his last five games and seven points in his 11 as a Cap, expectations are extremely high for Arnott heading into the post-season.
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had two assists in the home version of Caps/Panthers and has five helpers in his last four games, but has gone eight without a goal to end a (statistically) disappointing season. 
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png With just a single point in 24 games since December, Beagle probably saw his last action of the season (barring injury) this week.
Matt Bradley http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png His secondary assist on Erskine's goal in Toronto broke a 22-game point-less drought and was the first Caps goal for which he was on the ice in 14 games. With a full compliment of healthy forwards, Bradley could be a candidate to sit... but he does have history against the Blueshirts
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Did all the things he needs to do for this team in the first two games of the week, as he landed a big hit (and answered for it) against the Buds and followed that up against the Cats by potting his second goal in four games since being scratched. Message sent and received.
Eric Fehr Ten games without a goal (and just one assist during that stretch) wrap a disappointing regular season for Fehr, both from health and production standpoints. If Bruce Boudreau wants more grit than skill in his playoff lineup, it's likely that Fehr watches at least some of the series from the press box.
Boyd Gordon http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Had a helper in the mid-week matchup, won 57.4% of his 47 draws on the week, and skated 4:53 of perfect penalty-killing (in fact, he hasn't been on the ice for a power-play goal-against in his last 12 games). Hard to ask for much more than that... but we will - no more puck-over-the-glass penalties, mmm'kay?
Matt Hendricks http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Broke an eight-game scoreless streak with an assist in Toronto and followed it up with a goal against Florida back home. What a year for a guy who came to a new team's training camp last fall as a free agent looking for a contract (and ending up as the team's Masterton Trophy nominee).
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Concluded a successful freshman campaign with a five-game point-scoring drought during which he had a minus-three rating. The playoffs are a different animal, of course, something which MoJo's teammates know... and which he'll soon find out.
D.J. King http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Assuming he's healthy, if D.J. King isn't going to dress for a game in which the primary goal is to ensure the well-being of the team's skill players, why is he on the roster?
Mike Knuble http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Tallied against the Panthers and ended the regular season with 24 goals. Now it's time to really go to work.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Notched two assists versus Florida to run his streak of helpers to five games, but didn't score a goal in his last 11 and fell short of the 20-goal mark for the first time since 2006-07. So there should be plenty of goals left in his sticks for the second season.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Had seven points in three games before the whitewashed finale and hasn't fired fewer than five shots on goal in any of his last half-dozen games. Alpha Omega Eight, you are cleared for takeoff...
Alexander Semin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Took the first two games of the week off for "maintenance" and returned Saturday to do nothing, along with his other 17 teammates not wearing goalie pads. These next couple of weeks and/or months will go a long way towards cementing public opinion on Alex Semin, and it all starts with a match-up against a team he torched for five goals and three assists in the first round two seasons ago.
Marco Sturm http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Ran his assist streak to three games on Wednesday and has five points in his last six games as he appears to be a good darkhorse candidate for a big playoffs.

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