Capital Ups and Downs: Week 13

Greg Fiume

The latest edition of our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals ups and downs.

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Holtby faced at least 40 shots in each of his two starts this week (84 total) including 14 in the first period alone against Carolina and a whopping 21 in the second period against Tampa... hey, I thought the Southeast was supposed to be easy? And while he did allow 6 goals (for a save percentage of "only" .929) it's hard to fault him on most of them - particularly after saving the team's collective bacon in each of those heavy shot-total periods, to say nothing of the other 80 minutes.
Michal Neuvirth http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png A stellar performance last weekend earned him a second straight start in one of the toughest buildings in the NHL Tuesday (albeit one in which he's performed very well over the years) and he didn't disappoint, making the saves he needed to - and some he probably shouldn't have - en route to a 3-2 victory over Montreal.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Found himself on the ice for a few more goals-against this week (finishing a minus-three on the week) but wasn't necessarily directly responsible for them and did his usual quiet job in the three games. He also racked up a bruising ten blocked shots, including four against Montreal, and trails only John Carlson among the team's shot-blockers.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Speaking of shot-blocking... not only does Carlson lead the team in that department, he's ranked second in the League with 110 on the season (thanks in part to an insane seven blocked shots against the Habs Tuesday night). He also picked up an assist in that win and was on for more goals-for than goals-against on the week while registering five shots on goal of his own.
John Erskine http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Fifteen hits and eleven blocked shots on the week looks pretty good, as does the plus-one rating in a week where he skated over twenty minutes a game and the team gave up an average of three goals a night. But he seemed a little slow of foot at times and lost Martin St. Louis - twice - in Tampa's furious comeback on Saturday.
Mike Green http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png After having a goal-scoring streak snapped last week, Green appears to have picked up where he left off, tallying twice - both game-winners - in the three games. His huge overtime game-winner against Tampa capped off a night in which he registered seven shots on goal, the most Green's registered in a single game since January 2010. He did get run around a little bit in that game, victimized for three of the Lightning's five goals, but there's no question that this team's attack with the extra man and at evens starts with #52.
Jack Hillen http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Look who's suddenly the big goal-scorer? Hillen picked up his first goal as a Cap (against Montreal) and then added his second two games later against the Bolts while adding an assist for good measure. He also wasn't on for a single goal-against in the three games, although his ice time's been limited to the 14-15 minute range.
Steven Oleksy http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Picked up three assists and eleven blocked shots while skating limited minutes like Hillen. Unlike Hillen, however, he was on for a goal-against - St. Louis's goal Saturday night that cut the lead to one. Still not entirely sold on him continuing as a regular member of the defense corps (at least not over one of the options in Hershey) but he's been relatively solid and brings an additional physical presence to the lineup that never hurts.
Tom Poti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png As he once sang, "the waiting is the hardest part"... wait, maybe that was Tom Petty. Whatever.
Jeff Schultz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Hasn't played in over two weeks, and with the team still hot (and still in the thick of a playoff race) it doesn't look like he'll be getting back in any time soon.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Ho-hum, another four assists in three games for Backstrom - and all that does is bring him up to 38 on the season, trailing only St. Louis and Crosby for the League lead (and only 12 points shy of the overall scoring lead, as well). Goals are still a bit hard to come by, and he hasn't had one of his own since March 31... but let's be honest, if you were skating alongside Ovechkin you'd probably pass the puck, too. He's now on a seven-game points streak and has points in fourteen of his last seventeen (twenty-three points during that span).
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png As a fourth-liner skating roughly ten minutes a night, Beagle's generally expected to keep the other team from scoring as opposed to putting up offense himself. And while he did the former, on for just one goal-against (St. Louis's first goal on Saturday), he also had assists in back-to-back games - the first time he's done that all season. It was also his first point since March 22 and his first assist since February 27.
Troy Brouwer http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Snapped a season-high six-game goalless and pointless streak with a power play marker against the Hurricanes, and followed it up with an empty-netter in that same game and a power play goal against the Bolts. Still needs to step it up at even strength (and continues to struggle a bit possession-wise), as does the rest of his line, but getting a goal of any kind is certainly a start. And three in two games, an even better one.
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Was benched against the Hurricanes but back in to make part of Saturday night's best trios - and it paid off, as Chimera FINALLY got that big second goal of the season off a pretty passing play with Perreault. Hey, only eight more and he'll be roughly on the same pace as last year! ...totally doable.
Martin Erat http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png It didn't show up on the scoresheet, but Erat's return to the lineup against Tampa was a good one overall - he was strong on the puck and made some very nice plays to his linemates that were just short of perfect (and usually not through any fault of his). With a few more games under their belt, that second line might just work out fine.
Eric Fehr http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Before scoring Tuesday night in Montreal, Fehr had gone almost exactly a month without a goal (although granted, some of that time was spent out with injury). And while that first goal wasn't exactly the prettiest one he'll ever score, the one he picked up against Tampa wasn't bad... and they all count the same. For a few weeks now it's been all about the top line, so getting Fehr back to not only being healthy but also providing desperately-needed secondary scoring - and an assist on Green't OT GWG - is a great sign.
Matt Hendricks http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Dropped the mitts against the 'Canes and then notably didn't drop them against Tampa (a smart move that led to an odd-man rush the other way and a goal for the good guys). Other than that, a fairly quiet week for Hendricks overall.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Just one assist for Johansson this week, as much a factor of many of the goals coming via secondary scoring than anything else. But he continues to use his speed to his - and the team's - benefit, most notably by drawing a penalty in overtime Saturday night that set up the eventual game-winner by Green. And while it'll hardly have the League's toughs shaking in their boots, his little scuffle with Jeff Skinner was easily one of the highlights of Thursday's win over Carolina.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Groin muscles are tricky buggers...
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png It's amazing how "only" scoring two goals in three games can seem like a slow week, but that's about the pace one should expect for a normal Ovechkin and is still well above the pace of mere mortals. And after seeing each of those goals, there's no question that he is no mere mortal. Beautiful goal #1 and beautiful goal #2 led to the most beautiful thing of all - a place alone atop the League leaderboard.
Mathieu Perreault http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Perreault played fairly well earlier in the week (and didn't take any penalties, hooray!) but it was his performance against Tampa that stands out. Not only was he not on for any goals-against, his passes to set up the Fehr and Chimera goals were phenomenal and a reminder that while he may not be six feet tall, he's still got some slick hands.
Mike Ribeiro http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Took a high-sticking penalty just four seconds into a power play to negate the man-advantage on Thursday (a penalty that followed some yapping to the refs, for a change), and was run around a bit during Tampa's comeback over the weekend. He did have some typically nice assists on the power play, setting up Brouwer twice and assisting on Green's OT winner as well, but hasn't had an even-strength point in nine games (and none this week). Be the driver, Mike... be the driver.
Joel Ward http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Blocked a shot last weekend and hasn't been back since, although he has started skating again. So that's something.
Aaron Volpatti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Was bumped up to the second line in relief of Wolski Tuesday night and played well enough to earn a second stint against the 'Canes two nights later... but let's be honest, he's more suited to the fourth-line action he saw against Tampa. Or perhaps press box duty once Ward gets back to action, either/or.
Wojtek Wolski http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png He's alive! No, really, we saw him in Montreal. And he picked up an assist on the eventual game-winner against Carolina. And for a brief, shining moment he was on the second line where we all thought he'd be from the start of the year... before getting bumped back to the fourth line after just one period and then back to the press box with Erat's return on Saturday. Is it me or does it seem unlikely Wolski's back next year?
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