Capital Ups and Downs: Week 17

WASHINGTON, DC - JANUARY 24: Mathieu Perreault #85 of the Washington Capitals celebrates with teammates after scoring his third goal of the game against the Boston Bruins at the Verizon Center on January 24, 2012 in Washington, DC. Washington won the game 5-3. (Photo by Greg Fiume/Getty Images)

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Rode the pine for the week's only action but has looked strong in his limited pre-break action; the hope is that he can continue to rotate in when needed and provide the Caps with two strong netminders going forward. He’s certainly capable of doing so.
Tomas Vokoun http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Stopped 29 of 32 shots against Boston and continues to provide the Caps with what they were missing earlier in the season: consistency in net.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png If you were only looking at the base stats from Tuesday night, you might think Karl had a relatively quiet 22+ minutes, with one shot, one blocked shot, one hit and a plus-one rating. Dig a little deeper, though, and we find he was very active indeed, on the ice for two of Boston's three goals (including the one he put in his own net...that one hurt) and three of Washington's four.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Finished the week’s only game with the team’s top Corsi rating and was on for two of Perreault's three goals… but it was his forehead-smacking bad clearing attempt up the middle that led to Tyler Seguin’s goal Tuesday night. Still, it'd be unfair to give him a down arrow based on one bad play in one game (and sadly we've come to expect it), so he gets a reprieve. Just this once.
John Erskine http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Finished Tuesday’s game in the plus column and added two hits (as well a giveaway) to his resume for the night, but was also on for one of Boston’s three goals and did so in less than ten minutes of ice time. So... he's efficient, at least.
Mike Green http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png The road to recovery begins for 52, and GMGM even suggests he could start skating this week. Fingers crossed and ready the bubble wrap.
Roman Hamrlik http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Not only did he pick up assists five and six on the season (rolling!), but Tuesday’s game was also his first multi-point game of the season. Which is mildly incredible.
Dmitry Orlov http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Wasn’t particularly active – in a good or a bad way – Tuesday night but he hasn’t looked all that great lately (which, granted, is at least partly based on how unexpectedly good he looked early on). So it’s probably for the best that he got a little rest instead of a trip to Hershey this weekend.
Tom Poti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png *crickets*
Jeff Schultz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Good thing he got that All-Star break to recuperate from several weeks of doing... well, nothing beyond practice and morning skate.
Dennis Wideman http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png On for two goals-against and two goals-for - including his own empty-netter - in a very active game versus his old team, then headed up to Ottawa to represent the Caps in his first All-Star Game. A 95.3 mph slapshot in the SuperSkills competition and an assist and only a minus-two rating in a goalfest? That'll do.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Stuck in "no timetable for his return" hell; here's hoping he got plenty of rest over the weekend and breaks out of the holding pattern sooner rather than later.
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png His assist on Cody Eakin's goal Tuesday night was his first point of the season, in lucky game 13 on the year, and capped off an all around decent effort by the fourth-liner in a game where the Caps needed all hands on deck.
Troy Brouwer http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Picked up an assist on Wideman's ENG but was also "only" credited with two hits. Subjective stat, sure, but with one of their big hitters out of the lineup until next weekend, the Caps really need him to step up the physicality against a rough-and-tumble team like Boston (and really any team, for that matter).
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png He may have been tagged with a minor penalty Tuesday night, but it was one that came about as a result of being a pain in the rear around the Boston net - and resulted in him taking not one but two Bruins' defensemen (including a certain 10-foot-tall blueliner) off the ice for two minutes. We'll take that tradeoff any day.
Cody Eakin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Opened the scoring against Boston with his fourth goal of the year, and celebrated it by getting to spend his All-Star break in beautiful, exotic... Hershey.
Jeff Halpern http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png His assist on Wideman's empty-netter was his first point in six games, but more importantly, he skated a season-high 17:44 and won 11 of the 15 draws he took. Solid.
Matt Hendricks http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png It wasn't enough that he had his ear sliced in half by friendly fire in practice while in Pittsburgh, or that he followed that up by getting elbowed in the head against the Penguins - the assault on Hendrick's skull continued with yet another puck to the ear against the Bruins. Didn't stop him from skating a season - and career - high 17:45 in that game, though... if anyone earned a few days off over the weekend, it's this guy.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Continues to chip in offensively with an assist on one of Perreault's three goals and finished a plus-two, tied with his two linemates for a team-high. Still would like to see him shoot more, however, and his strength on the puck continues to leave something to be desired.
Mike Knuble http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Was active, albeit pointless, in the Bruins game, skating over 18 minutes in the injury- and punishment-depleted lineup while being credited with a few takeaways and a couple of blocked shots. Of note, that was the third time this month that he cracked the 18 minute-mark - something he had done only twice the rest of the season (and not at all since the end of November).
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png It's strange to say he was "only" on the ice for one goal-against in a game in which his team gave up three. But after a rough month defensively, being out for one goal - a power play strike, no less - against a potent offensive team will earn you an "only" any day.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/924012/gavel.png Tough to say what the bigger story was this week, Ovechkin's suspension or the fact that he wouldn't attend the All-Star festivities in Ottawa over the weeke-... actually, strike that, it's not tough at all. Here's hoping that with the All-Star break in the past, the ink spilled and pixels wasted complaining about his absence will be as well - and he can get back to focusing on what really matters. Well, in two more games, that is.
Mathieu Perreault http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Brought energy and some scoring oomph as his way of stepping up with Ovechkin watching from the press box. What's truly amazing, though, is that Perreault somehow managed to squeeze two minor penalties and three goals (his first career NHL hat trick, congrats) into under fourteen minutes of ice time. Efficient little bugger, isn't he?
Alexander Semin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png With three-quarters of his Young Gun pals either in the infirmary or in detention, all eyes are on #28 to pick up the fairly hefty load and kick up his game a notch. And while his offense in his first opportunity was limited to an assist (a pretty one, at that), he finished the game a plus-two and was fairly active on both ends of the ice. Two more games to prove he can put this team on his shoulders, as he's done in the past - or at the very least raise his trade value.
Joel Ward http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Earned his first assist in almost two weeks against the Bruins and saw a slight bump in his ice time... which for now is about as good as it gets. Here's hoping he's one of those slow starter/strong finishers and this one point outburst is just the beginning of the good stuff.

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