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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 27

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Jose Theodore Kept the Caps in Game 1, but couldn't stop a shot - literally - in Game 2, and was yanked early. In his last seven playoff starts, Theo has been pulled four times and is 0-6/5.33/.837 (and in the three starts he did finish, he was 0-3/3.46/.883 - not terribly inspiring). Obviously some of those starts are more meaningful than others in assessing the likelihood of him turning in a good start in Game 3 or later on... but still. Bottom line: time to test the length of that leash. Update: apparently it's pretty short.
Semyon Varlamov Not exactly razor-sharp in relief, but the team rallied in front of him and, most importantly, won. Good enough reason to give him the Game 3 start? How about when you couple it with all of that Theo evidence (anecdotal, circumstantial and otherwise)? Update: Bruce thinks so.
John Carlson Tom Poti called the rookie the Caps' best defenseman through two games, and here are the numbers to back it up: one season-saving goal, two assists, a plus-three rating, three penalties drawn (none taken), eight shots on goal and only on the ice for one goal in 38:58 of ice time through two games (the questionable opening marker in Game 2). What an American.
Joe Corvo Scored in Game 1 and added an assist in Game 2. But Corvo giveth away as well, and it was his neutral zone turnover in overtime on Thursday night that turned into the game winner moments later (the only goal against for which he has been on the ice in the series so far).
John Erskine Warming up in the bullpen? Doubtful.
Mike Green To put it bluntly, Green showed through two games why he was left off of Team Canada: bad mistakes at bad times (of course, it's not as if the blueliners that represented Canada in Vancouver are immune from such things). Be it losing Scott Gomez on the Habs' second goal with a one-goal third period lead in Game 1, flipping the puck over the glass right before overtime later in that period, or any number of struggles in Game 2, Green's 2010 playoffs are picking up where 2009's left off. He's been on the ice for five of the eight goals the Caps have allowed in the series so far, is pointless, and has just two shots on goal while quarterbacking a power-play that is 0-for-7. Needless to say, Green needs to right the ship ASAP.
Milan Jurcina Still a ways away.
Shaone Morrisonn Has been somewhat effective paired with Corvo, despite having the worst Corsi rating on the team in each of Game 1 and Game 2. However, he did have a chance to step up on Tomas Plekanec moments before the latter's Game 1-winning shot... and didn't.
Tom Poti His fight with Scott Gomez was a pivotal moment in the game and quite possibly the series (with the added bonus of making him unavailable to kill a penalty less than a minute later). Add an assist on the Game 2 game-winner and a plus-one rating in each of the two games, and Poti's post-season is off to a good start.
Jeff Schultz Like Green, Schultz has been on the ice for five of the eight goals the Caps have allowed through two games and has had a minus-one rating in each (only the third back-to-back minuses for Sarge this season). Settle down and play your game, big fella.
Tyler Sloan Mayor of Scratchville.
Nicklas Backstrom Scored a third-period go-ahead goal in Game 1 and then finished off a hat trick in overtime of Game 2, firing a dozen shots at Jaroslav Halak in two games. Yes, he took a bad penalty, whiffed on Gomez in the neutral zone and hopped off the ice immediately prior to the game-winner in Game 1, but with the season potentially on the line he scored three times and added an assist in the final 22:08 of Game 2, earning an "up" arrow. What a Swede.
Eric Belanger Had a helper in Game 1, but the two big stats for Belanger through two games are that he has won 80.6% of his 36 faceoffs through two games (including 13 of 16 against Plekanec) and he has killed 3:14 of penalties without being on the ice for a goal against. Sounds like a third-line center doing his job very well (other than that offensive zone trip in Game 2, that is).
Matt Bradley An assist, a plus-one rating and seven hits. Sounds like a fourth-line wing doing his job very well.
Jason Chimera Very effective in Game 1, drawing an early penalty and getting an assist on Corvo's goal and generally doing a great job on the forecheck and cycle. He did a little less in Game 2 and had a brutal giveaway on the second Montreal goal, but he did have four shots on goal.
Eric Fehr Outstanding work on the forecheck and in registering seven shots on goal in Game 1, Fehr followed it up by scoring an absolutely critical goal in Game 2 to cut the Montreal lead to 2-1... and perhaps shattering Halak's confidence along the way.
Tomas Fleischmann Set up the aforementioned Fehr goal, but that's all he's done through two games.
Boyd Gordon Four hits, two shots on goal, a perfect night in the faceoff circle and 2:57 of scoreless penalty killing in Game 1 earned Gordon a scratch for Game 2. Huh.
Mike Knuble Followed up a season-high seven shots on goal and a beautiful assist on Backstrom's goal in Game 1 with just one shot on goal, but a brilliant screen on Backstrom's second goal of the night and the primary helper on his OT game-winner.
Brooks Laich The second line has struggled in both games, and for Laich that's a minus-two, an offensive zone tripping penalty and nothing to show for 7:48 of power-play time.
Quintin Laing Deputy Mayor of Scratchville.
Brendan Morrison Was he really healthy/ready enough to play Game 2? His twelve shifts (and just two in the third period) say no, though 7-for-9 in faceoffs wasn't half bad.
Alex Ovechkin Shot-less and pointless for the first time in his career in Game 1, Ovi got on the scoresheet for the first time in the series at 18:23 of the second period of Game 2 with an assist then added a goal and two assists in the third. He's still getting a ton of shot attempts muffled at or near the point of release, but that third period reminded everyone in the hockey world why he has won back-to-back Hart trophies.
Alexander Semin We're still awaiting his first point of the post-season, but not his first penalty - Sasha has a couple of outside-the-defensive-zone stick infractions already (in fairness, he has also drawn a couple of penalties). Eleven shots on goal gives hope, though, as does the knowledge that he doesn't usually stay cold for long. It's no exaggeration to say that whether or not Semin shows up could be the difference in this series.
David Steckel Played the least of any forward in Game 2 - just 8:51 - and didn't do anything with that time after small minutes in Game 1.
Scott Walker Tough to imagine him getting into this series, but you'd imagine that if he does, he'll make some kind of impact.