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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 28

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Jose Theodore Stapled to the bench at the moment, but taking it like a pro... as expected.
Semyon Varlamov The best player in the series so far, Varly's 20-save second period in Game 4 highlights a 2-1/2.01/.936 week. He's the biggest reason the Caps are looking to close out the Habs tonight, rather than fighting to stay alive.
John Carlson No heroics this week, just more solid play and more plusses - Carlson has had a rating of plus-one or better in each of the five games so far, and is plus-eight for the series, having been on the ice for just one goal against in 83:47 of even-strength ice time (third-most among Caps rearguards). Stud.
Joe Corvo No points and a minus-one rating while playing two-thirds of the week paired with Tyler Sloan as his regular partner, Shaone Morrisonn, recovered from a minor injury.
John Erskine Eighth (at best) on the depth chart against Montreal, but could be seventh if the Caps are fortunate enough to advance to face Philly. Huzzah?
Mike Green Green continues to struggle mightily, both offensively (goal-less, two assists and a primary reason for a woeful 4.2% effective power-play) and defensively (on the ice for six of Montreal's nine even-strength goals in the series). Green has now gone 13 playoff games without a goal and is minus-three in that span. But hey, that Norris nomination is nice.
Milan Jurcina Sure could use Juice, eh?
Shaone Morrisonn Definitely missed in the third-pairing, but should be good-to-go for tonight.
Tom Poti Poti's post-season performance continues to impress, as he notched another three assists and a plus-seven rating in three games this week. Like Carlson, he has been on the ice for just one even-strength goal against in more than 80 minutes of ice time. The two Massachusetts natives have been the Caps' best pairing, and it's not close.
Jeff Schultz Like Green, has been on the ice for too many goals against, but has been better since Game 2.
Tyler Sloan If "not completely embarrassing himself" is the bar for acceptability, Sloan cleared it in his two games this week... but not by a lot.
Nicklas Backstrom Had a big Game 4 (one goal, two assists, plus-four), but sputtered a bit in the games before and especially after, as his line was on the ice for both goals against in Game 5. And, of course, he shares in the blame for the horrid power play success. But of all the players to worry about going forward, Nick is at the bottom of the list.
Eric Belanger His second line has been awful offensively, but given what he went through on Friday night, he gets a Purple Heart.
Matt Bradley Scored an icing-on-the-cake goal in Game 3, assisted on the eventual game-winner in Game 4.
Jason Chimera Scored the Game 4 winner and wasn't on the ice for a goal against all week. Given his role (fourth-liner, for the moment), it's hard to ask for much more.
Eric Fehr Had a goal and an assist in Game 3, but still gets minimal minutes. How minimal? Alex Ovechkin is averaging just five minutes less per game than the 27:37 Fehr got all week. Is shortening the bench this much really conducive to a long and successful playoff run?
Tomas Fleischmann You know Flash is stinkin' the joint up when even Gabby sees it and does something about it (like benching him in Game 5). Flash is a pretty worthless hockey player when he's not producing anything offensively... and he's not producing anything offensively.
Boyd Gordon Game-changing shorty in Game 3. Assist on game-changing shorty in Game 4. 37:35 of total ice time (including 11:29 shorthanded) in the series without being on the ice for a goal against. 77.1% of his face-offs won. It's nice to see a guy raise his game when it matters, isn't it?
Mike Knuble Potted that Game 4 shorty (and had a second goal in the game) and created the havoc that helped Gordo's Game 3 tally. Knuble now has at least a point in all five games, but... he has been on the ice for three of the last four Habs goals, five of the last seven, and nine of the 14 the Canadiens have scored in the series (two while shorthanded). You'd like to see those numbers improve going forward.
Brooks Laich Scored Game 3's eventual game-winner, but has been a minus-one in three of the five games and is third among forwards in ice time for the struggling power-play (though, in fairness to Laich, if the team can't establish the point shots with the extra man, there's not much he can do to help the unit). Among those who need to be better.
Quintin Laing Perhaps he can recommend a good oral surgeon to Belanger.
Brendan Morrison As little as he's bringing to the table right now (one assist, five shots on goal and a minus-one rating in the series), you have to wonder how healthy David Steckel is.
Alex Ovechkin On a four-game point streak with four goals, an assist and a plus-three rating this week, AO is still finding it tough to get his shots on goal - his ten shots in three games is well below his season average (though his six shots on Friday night give reason for optimism). Expect big things tonight... as you do every night from the world's best player.
Alexander Semin Admit it - you skipped straight to this when you started reading the post. Semin's defenders will point to his 29 shots on goal (most in the League of any player with five or fewer games played) and say that it's only a matter of time. But here's the reality: Ovechkin is the only player in the NHL with more goals per game over the past two regular seasons than Semin (minimum 100 games played), and the latter has now gone a dozen playoff games without lighting the lamp. That's simply unacceptable. On the plus side, Semin has yet to be on the ice for an even-strength goal against in the series and hasn't taken a penalty since Game Two, so at least he's only killing the Caps at one end of the rink.
David Steckel Healthy? Hurt? Either way, the Caps could use some of the magic that saw Stecks pot three goals in the Pittsburgh series last spring.
Scott Walker An energy guy like Walker could be the perfect spark for a Caps team in need of one.