Capital Ups and Downs: Week 14

USA TODAY Sports

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 stopped 99 of the 103 shots he faced last week, and two of the four goals he allowed came with the Caps up by at least four goals with less than ten minutes left in the game. Holtby now has 21 wins on the season (including last week's pair), and, if not for his captain's heroics, he'd be getting a lot more ink for his team's turn-around - he's 17-8-1/2.21/.932 since Valentine's Day. Oh, and in his NHL career (including the post-season), Holtby is now 32-13-0/1.96/.937 with five shutouts after February. Studly.
Michal Neuvirth http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Neuvirth has had the best seat in the house for most of Holtby's starts, including all three last week. At this point, it's hard to see Neuvirth getting another start this season unless the Caps' playoff fate gets resolved early or things go badly awry for Holtby.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png The Caps allowed five goals all week and Alzner was on the ice for three of them, including the two that mattered in Ottawa, this after having the worst Corsi rating on the team against Toronto. He did have the primary assist on the game-winner in Montreal, though, so you take some defensive struggles as part of the package when you have a dynamic offensive blueliner like Alzner. Or something.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had a pair of helpers against the Leafs and six blocked shots against the Habs, as he continues to draw some tough assignments... and handle them.
John Erskine http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Alongside Carlson, Erskine has continued to essentially defy the odds and get results that his underlying numbers say he shouldn't. Over the course of an 82-game season, those things would tend to even out. Over 48 (and whatever follows)? Let it ride, Big John.
Mike Green http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png A pair of power-play assists against each of Toronto and Montreal make it easy to look past five-on-five play that should probably be a bit better while paired with Alzner.
Jack Hillen http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Another week, another couple of points for one of four Caps defenders with a PDO waaaay above 1000. In English, that means he's been lucky (see, for example, that Ottawa game).
Steven Oleksy http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png If you're starting to sense a theme regarding the good fortune that's happened upon several Caps at even strength, good on you. Let's add Oleksy - Hershey's defenseman of the year - to the list, and hope that Lady Luck sticks with the boys in red a bit longer.
Tom Poti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Healthy enough to play, apparently, but won't be activated until he's needed, it would seem.
Jeff Schultz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Jeff Schultz? Ah, yes, Jeff Schultz. I once knew a defenseman named Jeff Schultz. Long time ago, when I was a young man. Not a day passes I don't think of him and the promise that I made which I will always keep. That one perfect season for Jeff Schultz. That's uh, ten healthy-scratches in a row for Sarge.
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Gave everyone a scare on Tuesday night when he was sent head-long into the boards by Jay McClement, but returned to the game. Backstrom then gave everyone a scare on Thursday night when he was unable to finish the Ottawa game after taking a Green slapper to the arm... but bounced back with a goal and an assist in Montreal and won 55% of his draws. Rough week for the Caps' top pivot.
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png A quiet week for the fourth-liner, but worth noting that he has gone nine games without being on the ice for a power-play goal-against, which is impressive considering that he leads all Caps forwards in shorthanded ice time.
Troy Brouwer http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png With three even-strength goals on the week, Brouwer has helped make the second line a credible threat once again, and given that he was on the ice for seven Caps tallies and just the empty-net goal-against, that's a pretty great week for a guy who in 44 games is just three goals away from his full-season career high of 22.
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Gets high marks for taking McClement to task for his hit on Backstrom, but didn't do much otherwise.
Martin Erat http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Is it any coincidence that Erat's acclimation in Washington has coincided with the second-line's resurgence? Of course not. For the week, Erat had a goal and two assists, displaying sense and skill as advertised.
Eric Fehr http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had a golden opportunity to tie the game in Ottawa, but was stoned by Craig Anderson. If only the game was being played outdoors, he might have converted the chance...
Matt Hendricks http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Today marks one month since Hendricks last had a point. Maybe he's saving up for something special this week.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Had a nice power-play goal to hammer the final nail in Toronto's coffin on Tuesday night, and a pretty pass to Brouwer on the Caps' third goal Saturday, giving him 19 points in 22 games since returning from his concussion.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png The Caps could certainly use a healthy Laich, but where, exactly, would he play? Adam Oates wishes he had that problem to deal with.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png As he continues to recalibrate previously recalibrated expectations, Ovechkin just keeps lighting lamps, with another couple of multi-point games sandwiched around an off-night in Ottawa. But perhaps most impressive this week was the captain's instinctive defense of his center after the latter got boarded in the Toronto game. Ovechkin is leading his team in just about every way imaginable right now.
Mathieu Perreault http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Not much going on for Perreault, who has gone 17 games without a goal and has assists in just two of those outings. I think I may have just answered that Laich question...
Mike Ribeiro http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png The third member of that born-again second line, Ribeiro has points in five-straight games (including eight points in the last four games after a three-point night in his homecoming in Montreal), and was on the ice for a team-high eight goals-for last week.
Joel Ward http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Ward's puck-possession skills are missed on a team that struggles in that area of the game.
Aaron Volpatti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Not sure I understand dressing fourth-liners who don't play special teams on a nightly basis, but here we are...
Wojtek Wolski http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png ... and here Wolski is. Of course, five teams in three years doesn't happen by accident... does it?
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