Capital Ups and Downs: Week 12

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 Three games, three wins, 100 shots faced, seven goals allowed (that's a .930 save percentage for you math geniuses) and a perfect shootout against the Islanders. Yeah, that'll do.
Michal Neuvirth http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png The fact that Neuvirth didn't come down with malaria before his start Sunday night more than should earn him a green arrow this week in and of itself. But he also performed very admirably in that start despite cooling his heels for the last three weeks, turning aside twenty-eight shots of the thirty shots he faced (with neither goal his fault) en route to his third (!!) win of the season.
Defensemen
Karl Alzner http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png For the second straight week, Alzner found himself on the ice for five goals-against - three of which were at even strength. Not great in general, and particularly not great considering the team only gave up seven goals total (and considering that the only top line he faced scored a hat trick). He's skating big minutes at even-strength and on the penalty kill, including his second-highest ice time against Tampa (trailing only the 26:14 he logged earlier this season, also against the Bolts), but nonetheless no one was on for more goals-against this week than Alzner.
John Carlson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png As an offensive defenseman, Carlson's always a bit of a mixed bag defensively - or at least has been since being separated from Alzner. But being on for more goals-for (six) than goals-against (four) is pretty good overall, as is picking up a goal and an assist of his own while finishing the week with a plus-four rating.
John Erskine http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Quietly returned to active duty against the Hurricanes, but was more noticeable as the week went on (and not in a good way). He was on for three goals-against in the four games and possession suffered when he was on the ice. Let's just say that the Erskine-Oleksy pairing may be a bit too exciting for our tastes.
Mike Green http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png His five-game point streak may have been snapped Sunday night against the Lightning, but before it was Green racked up seven points - five goals, two assists - and rocketed up to a tie for second place in goal-scoring among defensemen. He also scored his first power play goal of the season, picked up his first multi-goal game since October 2011.
Jack Hillen http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Probably had the most eventful week of anyone on the team - on and off the ice. Between inking a two-year contract extension and becoming a papa for the second time, Hillen was very busy. He also picked up assist #2 and 3 in the big win over Tampa, tripling his point total for the season in a single night, and was on for six Caps' goals while getting dinged for just two against (...even if he looked pretty bad on the second one).
Steven Oleksy http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Averaging about sixteen minutes a night on the third pair is probably closer to his wheelhouse than the heavy workload he was given earlier in the injury-riddled season, and he continues to be steady, although like Erskine (obviously) possession was a bit of a black hole when he was on, and he got dinged for a couple of power play goals-against while also picking up the penalty that allowed Tampa to strike first Sunday night.
Tom Poti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png No end in sight to the back injury that's kept Poti out of the lineup since mid-March. Darn you, Steve Ott.
Jeff Schultz http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png As healthy defensemen returned and other healthy defensemen made their way back to Hershey... Schultz remained exactly where he was. Which was the press box. $2.75 million is an awful lot to pay a guy for eating nachos...
Forwards
Nicklas Backstrom http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Which came first, the red hot Alex Ovechkin or the red hot Nicklas Backstrom? Another big week for the Swedish center, as he racked up eight assists (including a four-assist performance against the 'Canes, the eighth of his career and the first since 2010). He's now up to 34 assists on the season, third-most in the League and seven behind the injured Sidney Crosby.
Jay Beagle http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Rocked it in the faceoff circle, winning fifteen of his twenty-two draws on the week, but did end up in the sin bin for the power play goal that put the Hurricanes up by two... although it's hard to mind too much when the team stormed back (pun intended) to win.
Troy Brouwer http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png Was held off the scoresheet in all four games this week, the first time he's gone that many games without a point in just over a month. Of course, it probably hasn't helped that his left-wingers are dropping faster than Spinal Tap drummers, with first Laich and then Erat ending up on the shelf mid-game, but the Caps can't afford to be a one-line team and he needs to be part of the solution.
Jason Chimera http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Picked up his first assist since the dawn of time (or March 17, but who's keeping track?) on Ward's eventual game-winner against Tampa and threw in a Saturday night fight, albeit not a very good one, with the guy who boarded him in the last Panthers game. That's the most we've seen of Chimera on the scoresheet in a good long time, so...yay?
Martin Erat http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png Gave us a glimpse of what an Erat-infused lineup could look like in his debut against the Islanders, and then followed it up with a promotion to his rightful place on the second line... for exactly 4 minutes and 17 seconds. Thanks to Florida's Erik Gudbranson, that's all the Erat we got as he left the game limping and woozy after a bad hit into the boards. Day-to-day? Here's hoping.
Eric Fehr http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Was eased back into the lineup against the Islanders but saw his ice time go up after Erat's went down the following game, in which he fired a team-high four shots (tied with Ovechkin and Perreault). His minor penalty for roughing Sunday night wasn't just one of the funnier matchups, it also resulted in getting Martin St. Louis off the ice for two minutes; and no offense to Fehr, but we'll take that trade any day. Now that he's healthy, the offense should return...right?
Matt Hendricks http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png On the ice for the Islanders' game-tying goal Thursday and for two of Florida's late comeback-attempt goals on Saturday, which isn't what we're used to from Hendricks... and neither is yet another missed shootout attempt. Also his minor penalty against the Panthers put the kibosh (temporarily, at least) on Ovechkin's hat trick attempt. Timing, Matt, timing.
Marcus Johansson http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Continues to ride the wave of Ovechkin-Backstrom awesomeness, with five assists this week - one of which was actually all him, a nice pass to set up Ward's game-winning shorthanded goal against the Hurricanes. His points-per-game is now up to .68, a career high, and at this pace would (obviously) be on pace to crush his career-high in points over the course of a full 82-game slate. Mojo's got mojo, y'all.
Brooks Laich http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/538577/ow.png This season is probably not going to go into the scrapbook as one of his favorites. His lingering groin injury (and the assorted aches and pains that go along with jumping into a season cold) seems to still be a problem. And let's face it, taking a puck to the... er, kiwis, probably didn't help any. Not that there was much to write home about before the injuries, of course, as it was another pointless week for Laich.
Alex Ovechkin http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png Which came first, the red hot Alex Ovechkin or the red hot Nicklas Backstrom? Eh, best not to question it...just enjoy it. He's riding a hot streak that now extends back almost a month and continued with a strong week last week. So how does one follow up that three-goal, two-assist performance? Oh, just by putting together a seven-goal, two-assist week in your next four games (including three multi-goal games), pulling yourself into a tie for the League lead in goals with twenty-five and finally shaking that "can't hit the empty net" monkey off your back. Yeah, that ought to do it.
Mathieu Perreault http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217737/down.png His assist Sunday night was his first point since... well, since Chimera's last point, oddly enough. And while it's great to see him pick up his eighth assist of the season, a team struggling to find secondary scoring needs more out of the diminutive center than an assist every 11 games or so. Especially if he's going to be on the ice for two of the team's seven goals-against despite getting limited minutes.
Mike Ribeiro http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Snapped a four-game pointless streak with a two-point night (one goal, one assist) against the Panthers - including the ugliest goal he'll likely ever score, particularly on the power play - and added an assist the following night against Tampa. Has slowed down a bit offensively of late (as was to be expected) but like Brouwer he's suffered a bit from fragile winger syndrome. That said, earlier in the year he was making his linemates better and he's not anymore; it's his job as the center to make the second line credible at even strength, regardless of who is flanking him. Right now they're very much not.
Joel Ward http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217733/up.png It's no secret that Ward has struggled in the goal-scoring department of late (although he still had matched last season's output prior to this week) - so it was great to see him have a big week for once, not just for himself but for the team. Ward's shorthanded goal against the 'Canes gave the team the breathing room they needed in a back-and-forth contest, and his late second-period goal Sunday night ended up being the game-winner (and came just three and a half minutes after his late second period assist on the game-tying tally).
Aaron Volpatti http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png Skated exactly eight minutes - and racked up six hits - against Carolina before taking a seat for two straight games. Thanks to some injuries he was back in the lineup Sunday night and actually had a pretty decent outing, generating some good chances with his linemates despite his usually limited ice time. And for whatever reason Adam Oates sees him as a better option than...
Wojtek Wolski http://assets.sbnation.com/assets/217757/dash.png ...this guy. Never good when two scoring-line wingers go down with injuries and you still can't get into the lineup. Poor Woeful, er, Wojtek Wolski.
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