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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 8

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth Gave up six goals on thirty-three shots in his only action of the week, including a flubbed play with his glove that led to the fourth (and ultimately game-winning) goal by the Rangers. As is the case with the rest of the team, the poor play is more frustrating because we know what he's capable of - we're just not seeing it, and his abysmal numbers to-date show that.
Tomas Vokoun Speaking of what someone's capable of, it's likely that Tomas Vokoun wants to throw tape of Saturday night's debacle in Buffalo into the trash - right alongside his games against the Islanders and Lightning earlier in the season. He did earn two wins prior to that performance, but the Caps are going to need better than a .855 save percentage going forward.
Karl Alzner Somehow managed to be on for just three goals-against in a week in which the Caps gave up seventeen (and wasn't on for more than one goal-against in each game). Despite earning a minus-one for the week, he still leads all defensemen - and is tied for the team lead - with a plus-eight on the season. Le stud.
John Carlson Actually had a pretty decent week offensively, scoring two goals and adding a couple of assists to bring his point total up to twelve on the year (and allow him to finish the week a miraculous plus-three). He's looked a little better in his own end, as well, but two flubbed pucks at the blueline led to the opening tally in two different games - one of which came shorthanded.
John Erskine Took a fall in practice that apparently caused him to reinjure his shoulder, but has practiced with the team in the last few days and could be back sooner rather than later. 
Mike Green Not playing. Not skating. Not winning. Game Over Green has a bittersweet ring to it these days.
Roman Hamrlik On for half the team's sixteen goals-against and was particularly painful when paired up with Dennis Wideman. It'd be nice to get more than just a passing glimpse of the type of player he could be, but so far a passing glimpse is all we've gotten. Not good enough.
Dmitry Orlov Made a quiet but solid debut against Phoenix Monday night, then upped the ante with a much better performance on Wednesday in which he threw a memorable hip check and picked up his first career NHL point. That performance earned him some power play time on Friday, which led to his second career point. And the best part? On for just three goals-against while getting an increase in ice time each night. No savior, but a nice start for sure.
Tom Poti Welcome to the Tom Poti LTIR Comedy Moment...

A priest, a rabbi and Tom Poti walk into a ba-...oh, never mind.
Jeff Schultz Picked up his fifth assist of the season against Phoenix, made a great play to break up a 2-on-1 that helped set up the Caps' OT winner against the Jets and was on for the same number of goals-against (4) as he was goals-for. 
Dennis Wideman Made a tremendous pass to set up Chimera's OT winner Wednesday night (earning him his lone point over the four games) but has had a week filled with miscues and miscommunication while continuing to have to carry the load in terms of ice time. Well, with the exception of Friday's third period, that is.
Nicklas Backstrom Seemed to regain his scoring touch after last week's slump, with two goals and three assists over the four game stretch to give him a team-leading (and NHL top-ten) twenty-five points on the season. Also seems to be finding his faceoff prowess, finishing the week on the good side of 50% in three of the four games and an overall win percentage of 54.4%. That minus-four Saturday night stings a bit, though...
Jay Beagle Always a little scary when there doesn't seem to be much progress or even many updates on a guy believed to have a concussion (or "concussion-like symptoms", whatever). Get well soon, Jay.
Troy Brouwer Five shots, twenty-one (credited) hits, a goal and two assists... yup, that'll do.
Jason Chimera Chimera's Season of Disbelief continues with two goals against the Jets (including the OT game-winner) and a penalty shot tally against Buffalo to extend his team-leading goal total to nine. And oh by the way, he's tied for the team lead in plus-minus, as well, with a plus-eight. Keeping 'em out at one end, scoring 'em at the other - not much more you can ask from the guy.
Cody Eakin Scored his second goal of the year against the 'Yotes but took a bad penalty that led to the Rangers' second goal on Friday, cracked the ten minute-mark in ice time just once in his three games and was a healthy scratch Saturday night.
Jeff Halpern On for just three goals-against (one on the power play) and won 68.6% of his draws on the week, bumping his season faceoff percentage up to an impressive - but not unexpected - 61.2%.
Matt Hendricks His teammates credit his fight Monday night against Phoenix's Kyle Chipchura as being the spark that ignited the comeback, which is great. Not so great? No points in over a month, and just three on the season (all of which came in the span of two games).
Marcus Johansson Helped wreak havoc in Winnipeg's zone, forcing the turnover that led to the overtime winner Wednesday night, and added another assist against the Rangers. With thirteen points, he's now almost halfway to last year's point total (27) with just a quarter of the season under his belt.
Mike Knuble After inexplicably wallowing on the fourth line in recent weeks, it was Knuble who led all forwards in ice time Monday night... but it was a shortlived phenomenon, as his ice time gradually dropped back down to the 12-14 minute range by the end of the week. And after starting the season hot (and thanks to that no-goal on Wednesday), Knuble has now gone almost a month without a point.
Brooks Laich On the ice for five goals-against on the week (and leads all Caps' forwards in that department)... but his performance on the penalty kill Wednesday night is probably enough on its own to warrant an up arrow. Because let's face, it losing your stick, blocking a couple of shots and then mauling an opponent to take away his stick? Pretty badass. Add in a goal and an assist for the week and it's a no-brainer.
Alex Ovechkin Had what was easily his best game in awhile against Phoenix, picking up an assist on one goal and doing some excellent backchecking that led to another. He even seemed to carry over his performance a bit into Wednesday's game, adding a beauty of an assist on Semin's goal, and Friday, where he finally scored at home (and had a nice hit on Gaborik to set up a goal, as well). Hard to ignore his work, or lack thereof, against Buffalo, though, and the hockey world has come to expect more than three points in four games from the Great Eight... but since everyone else is kicking him, we won't.
Mathieu Perreault Back in the lineup at the beginning of the week, took an undisciplined penalty against the Jets, sat out Friday, back in on Saturday. These are the days of our Perreaults...
Alexander Semin Was benched on Monday night and responded in a big way against the Jets two nights later, with a goal, a plus-two rating, a solid defensive game and (gasp!) no penalties. Sadly he was right back in the sin bin on Friday, however, and again Saturday (despite the call being a bunch of bull... stuff), and failed to register a single point in either game. Sasha giveth...
Joel Ward After a great game against the Coyotes in which he never seemed to get off the ice, Ward was a somewhat controversial scratch Wednesday night due to a missed practice. He handled it with the maturity we've come to expect in his short time here, though, and was right back in the lineup for the last two games of the week.

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