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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 6

NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 11:  Marcus Johansson #90 (R) of the Washington Capitals  celebrates his goal with teammates against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on November 11, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
NEWARK, NJ - NOVEMBER 11: Marcus Johansson #90 (R) of the Washington Capitals celebrates his goal with teammates against the New Jersey Devils at Prudential Center on November 11, 2011 in Newark, New Jersey. (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
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Our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals' ups and downs:

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth The numbers were ugly - 0-1-1/3.37/.873, but take away the third period against Dallas (in which he certainly wasn't the only culpable Cap) and Neuvy had a 1.92 goals against average and a .911 save percentage for the week to follow-up his strong effort in Carolina. For the most part, he seems to be back on track, healthy and stopping pucks.
Tomas Vokoun Had a big bounce-back game in Jersey in which he surrendered just one goal on 33 shots against and turned in the type of slump-busting performance the Caps needed. Next up? Presumably a start against his former team in Music City.
Karl Alzner Picked up an assist in Newark to give him exactly half the offensive output through 14 games that he had in 82 games a season ago and provided 11 minutes of perfect penalty killing as he continues to be the Caps' steadiest blueliner.
John Carlson Two points in two losses don't quite compensate for the fact that Carlson was on the ice for five of the seven five-on-five goals the Caps allowed last week, including all four against Dallas. Still, five points in his last seven games and six in his last nine is nice production at the other end of the ice.
John Erskine Played his 400th career game on Tuesday and followed it up with an assist and a plus-one rating on Friday before sitting out Saturday night's tilt with soreness, presumably in "his surgically repaired shoulder." That can't be good.
Mike Green Returned to game action for the first time in three weeks on Friday... and lasted eight shifts before leaving with an unrelated lower body injury that forced him out of Saturday night's game. Given that the team's 8-0-0 in games in which he dresses and 2-4-1 when he doesn't, the Caps might just start wheeling him out for a shift as a good luck charm.
Roman Hamrlik Bad against the Stars (and he knows it), Hamrlik managed a minus-one rating in the 3-1 win on Friday night but was actually playing well on Saturday before leaving the game after taking a crosscheck. Amazingly, Hamrlik - who once had 49 assists in a season - is still looking for his first helper of the campaign, as another scoring change robbed him of one on Saturday.
Tom Poti Welcome to the Tom Poti LTIR Comedy Moment...

Take my groin. Please.
Jeff Schultz Scratched - scratched! - for Green's return on Friday, Sarge sandwiched that night in the press box with a pair of minus-one efforts and has been on the ice for at least one goal against in each of his last four games (not something you want out of a third-pairing blueliner).
Dennis Wideman Picked up his first two minors of the season last week and was even on the week thanks to a one-assist/plus-two game Friday, but major kudos go Wideman's way for playing monster minutes (33:52) on Saturday night, just 24 hours after a 27-plus minute effort.
Brooks Laich Picked up a helper against the Stars, but had a quiet week otherwise... unless you consider a shift from center to defense for the second Devils game to be other than quiet. Which we do. Laich acquitted himself decently on the blueline, blocking four shots, not embarrassing himself... and earning that big ol' paycheck with versatility.
Nicklas Backstrom Had his six-game point-scoring streak snapped on Saturday and turned in a minus-3 week (and game Tuesday), but continued to shoot the puck (he has just one game all season in which he failed to register multiple shots on goal) and won 59% of his 56 draws. Being on the ice for four of the eight goals against (the most of any forward) stings, with Adam Burish's game-winner for Dallas sticking out among the rest.
Jay Beagle Still not skating with the team, though presumably getting closer.
Troy Brouwer A primary assist on the shorthanded Chimera game-winner in Jersey and the game's first goal against the Devs back home have Brouwer on a 24-goal/65-point pace over his last ten games.
Jason Chimera Used his speed on Friday night and his big body on Saturday to score a pair of important goals and wasn't on the ice for a single opposition tally all week. Dude's just playing good hockey right now, and has been from the start of the season.
Cody Eakin Picked up a helper against the Stars, but skated just 17 shifts and 12:18 in the weekend's home-and-home, failing to register a shot on goal or anything of much impact. One would think he's heading back to Hershey sooner rather than later.
Jeff Halpern No points, one shot and a minus-one rating for the week and 41% in the dot over the weekend. Not particularly inspiring numbers.
Matt Hendricks No points, no shots, a minus-one rating and a fight in three games doesn't earn up arrows around here... but having twins does. Godspeed, Hendy.
Marcus Johansson With points in each of the week's three games (a grape and two apples), Johansson will have a chance to tie his career-best four-game point streak tomorrow night. He also won 51% of his face-offs over the three-game span, but did take a bad penalty on Saturday and was on the ice for as many goals-against as goals-for last week (three).
Mike Knuble Knuble is off to a rough start in November - goalless with a minus-three rating in a half-dozen games spent mostly on the fourth line - and this past week saw him take twice as many penalties (two) as shots on goal. Saving him from a down arrow? His leadership.
Alex Ovechkin Scored from the edge of the crease after a Wideman shot hit him and fell to his feet on Friday, but that was it for the week. Seven shots on goal, a minus-two rating and nary a power-play point in four games. Ovechkin did get credited with 11 hits on Saturday (roughly one-third of his year-to-date total), but when it's mid-November and Alex Ovechkin has just one more goal than Jason Chimera and Marcus Johansson, something ain't right.
Mathieu Perreault A couple of scratches and a seven-shift Saturday night during which his most notable contribution was a lost defensive-zone draw that ended up in the back of the Caps' net isn't a good week for Perreault, who doesn't have a point since back when the Caps were still undefeated.
Alexander Semin Not really benched, then really benched for a lack of effort as represented by a trio of bad penalties, Semin responded... with a bad penalty. Semin is currently on a 16-goal pace and doesn't seem all that eager to do anything about it - he fired just three shots on goal last week. But hey, at least he's been healthy. So far.
Joel Ward A quiet week for Ward doesn't mean it was a bad one for him, as he wasn't on the ice for a single goal against (sharing that distinction with only Chimera among Caps who played all three games). Hopefully the boys can get him a win tomorrow night in his big homecoming.

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