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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 7

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth Continues to struggle, allowing four goals against Winnipeg (albeit in a game in which his team basically hung him out to dry) and then failing to stop the bleeding against Toronto Saturday night. The result? An abysmal 4.49 GAA and a save percentage of .833 for the week, bringing his season numbers to 3.46 and .877. 
Tomas Vokoun Considering how good he was against Nashville, the down arrow may seem a bit harsh - and the Caps' slump is more likely in spite of his play overall rather than because of it. Still, it's hard to say that a record of 0-2-0 with a GAA of 4.21 and a save percentage of 0.875 meets whatever expectations he's set, and with the Caps desperate for a win Saturday night, he was unable to deliver.
Karl Alzner Was on the ice for only two goals-against (in a week that saw the Caps give up fourteen total), and even more impressively was on for two goals-for - in a week in which the Caps only scored three. Heck, he somehow managed a plus-one rating in a 7-1 loss. So there's that.
John Carlson Reunited with Alzner by the end of the week and seemed better for it, but continues to struggle in his own end. In fact, since the Caps' seven-game winning streak ended back in October he's been on for a team-high seventeen goals-against (which is only slightly mitigated by the fact that he's also been on for a team-high twelve goals-for during that span).
John Erskine Took a bad penalty in each of the last three games (and added a fighting major), which brings his penalty streak up to five games - and he's only played in eight. Oops.
Mike Green Still not skating, and we're well into week two of this "day-to-day" injury. It's definitely overstating things a bit to say he's the reason this team is losing, but the fact that the Caps are 8-0-0 with him in the lineup - and 2-7-1 without - isn't entirely a coincidence, either. Get well soon, Greenie.
Roman Hamrlik Was "only" on for four goals-against but has pretty much picked up where he left off since leaving the Devils game early last week - and watching opposing skaters blow by him on a nightly basis is more than a little troubling.
Dmitry Orlov Has not yet played for the Caps, but his call-up from Hershey yesterday is a direct result of what the team did last week. Hopefully he injects a little energy into the lineup (and maybe reminds some guys that their roster spots aren't carved in stone) when he makes his long-awaited NHL debut.
Tom Poti Welcome to the Tom Poti LTIR Comedy Moment...

Knock knock.

 Who's there?

Not Tom Poti.
Jeff Schultz On for the game-tying goal in Nashville, two of the four goals (both on the power play) against Winnipeg and three of the seven in Toronto. For those of you who struggle with math, that comes to six total goals-against, also known as almost half the team's goals allowed this week. Considering his ice time is middle-of-the-pack at best, that ain't good.
Dennis Wideman Continues to have to play the role of "Mike Green Lite" and is struggling doing so, with a minus-four rating on the week and no points despite nine shots on goal and over twenty minutes a night. 
Nicklas Backstrom Failed to register even a single point all week and has now gone four straight without one - this after picking up a point in all but two games the entire rest of the season. He did manage to win at least 60% of his draws in each of the three games, at least... so it's not all bad.
Jay Beagle Still out, still with no timetable on a return - and the team could probably use a little of the feistiness he brings on a regular basis.
Troy Brouwer After scoring just one goal in his first nine games with the Caps, Brouwer has four in his last nine and appears to be settling in a bit, adding goal #5 to break open the scoring against Nashville Tuesday night. 
Jason Chimera Picked up an assist on two of the three goals scored this week and continues to be one of the harder working players on a nightly basis, whether he's on the "meat and potatoes" line or skating alongside Alexander Semin.
Cody Eakin Assisted on Brouwer's goal in Nashville, but is starting to look a bit out of place (despite the coaching staff's insistence that he's been their best player of late). One has to wonder if he wouldn't be better off getting serious minutes in Hershey than he is getting 11-12 minutes a night in the NHL.
Jeff Halpern Was on the ice for four goals-against (two PPGs) but has put in some hard-working shifts in the other teams' zones and was part of a couple of almost-goals that got whistled down in Toronto. 
Matt Hendricks Was only on the ice for one goal-against, but was in the box when Toronto scored to make it 396-1 (...we might be rounding up) Saturday night. Props for being the guy hurtling into the net on not one but two plays in TO that could have been goals had that pesky whistle not blown.
Marcus Johansson Should get an automatic down-arrow for being on the ice during a Dave "slow-as-molasses" Steckel shorthanded breakaway goal, but he did get a lovely assist in Nashville and is still doing enough little things right to make him stand out in a good way - relatively speaking.
Mike Knuble Hasn't put up all that much in the way of offense - although being relegated to the fourth line will have that impact on one's numbers - but quietly does his job, works hard and uses the term "ass-kicking" when needed. That he was only on the ice for one goal-against in this week's fourteen-goal bonanza (and got a brief but lovely reunion with Ovechkin and Backstrom) counts for something, as well.
Brooks Laich Scored a beauty of a goal against the Leafs and assisted on Semin's goal in Winnipeg, but was also on the ice for four of the five PPGs given up by the Caps this week, as well as two of Nashville's three goals on Tuesday. And let's not forget that missed two-on-zero chance that turned into a goal the other way in the 'Peg. Yeah, that one still smarts.
Alex Ovechkin No goals, no assists and a minus-four on the week... it's time for a come to Jesus/Allah/Buddha/GMGM meeting. Stat.
Mathieu Perreault Continues to be the odd man out with Eakin in the mix, despite the fact that he's played rather well when he actually gets into the lineup. Go figure.
Alexander Semin Scored for the first time in four games Thursday night (and just the fourth time all season) but added another three minors to his resume. And whether they're reputation calls or not - and let's be honest, some of them are - his penalty streak is now at seven games (and counting?), making it only five games this year in which he hasn't taken a minor. Donned a fourth-line jersey at practice Sunday; is a trip to the pressbox next?
Joel Ward Has no points in his last six games, and it was his brain cramp against Winnipeg that led to Evander Kane's second goal - also the second goal by Kane for which Ward was on the ice.

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