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Capitals Ups and Downs: Week 19

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth Let in two goals in his only action this week, at least one of which probably needs to be stopped, and was called out for it by his coach...but there's no way that game is even close without his stellar play to that point, and to expect perfection from him (and excuse the team in front of him for less-than) is hardly fair.
Semyon Varlamov Got slightly more run support than his counterpart in his one game against the Kings (i.e. one whole goal) but received much less help where he needed it - in front of the net. If only we could attribute that .857 save percentage to his teammates...
Karl Alzner Had been on the ice for just one goal-against in the seven games prior to this week but has been on for three since, including both San Jose goals on Tuesday.
John Carlson His 3:52 of power play time led the team Tuesday night, but he didn't do much more than Mike Green has with that time and, like Alzner, was on the ice for three goals-against in just two games. And with just one point in his last eight games, he's not producing enough to make that okay.
John Erskine Four hits, six blocked shots and 31:48 of ice time without being on for a goal-against...yeah, we'll take that.
Mike Green Missed Tuesday's game with a lingering headache but was back in action against the Kings, where he proceeded to get an up-close view of three of LA's four goals. That would normally earn him a down-arrow...but the man took a slapshot to the head and was back on the ice less than a week later, so he gets a pass.
Scott Hannan Followed up a fairly solid week with another fairly solid week, with two hits, three blocked shots and just under three minutes of perfect penalty-killing time.
Tom Poti Skated with the team this week but isn't taking contact yet and isn't on the road trip. Anticipaaaation...
Jeff Schultz Was on the ice for three of the Kings' four goals Saturday afternoon and didn't look good on any of 'em, which probably was a factor in him getting his lowest ice time since January 1.
Tyler Sloan Saw his first action since late December Tuesday night, skated 14:38, wasn't on the ice for a goal-against, had one hit, blocked one shot...and was back in the press box by Saturday. Oddly enough, that's almost enough to earn him an up arrow. Almost.
Nicklas Backstrom Hasn't completely fallen off but managed no points and only three shots on net this week, while winning just thirteen of his thirty-two draws. As always, the team needs more from its best players and they're simply not getting it on a consistent basis from #19.
Matt Bradley Skated less than twenty minutes total this week, and while a couple of hits in limited time is nice, these lifeless games against Western Conference opponents are really where they need someone to create some energy. One might even say they need more Bradley...
Jason Chimera His line was victimized for both of San Jose's goals Tuesday night, and by Saturday it was no longer his line. The demotion certainly didn't help his numbers much, as he finished the week a -4 and failed to capitalize on the almost three minutes of power play time he "earned" against the Kings.
Eric Fehr Skated in the snazzy yellow no-contact jersey in practice and could be back sometime in the next one to thirty weeks, give or take a week.
Boyd Gordon Won six of his eight draws (including two of four defensive zone draws), got two shots on net against San Jose, then was banished to the press box in favor of King. Know Boyd Gordon, know....oh, never mind.
Matt Hendricks Was a non-factor against San Jose and a hit factory against Los Angeles, and has now gone two straight games without trying to kill the opponent's goaltender. For shame, Hendy.
Marcus Johansson Was 3-for-8 on faceoffs in two straight games and was inconsistent in both, with some good defensive instincts and offensive chances combining with a couple of turnovers and a minus-one for the week. 
D.J. King Was his insertion into the lineup against the Kings an attempt at adding some passion to an otherwise passionless matchup? If so, didn't really work. But a pointless fight (that may have fired the visitors up more than the home team), four hits and just over seven minutes of work earns him that paycheck, so there's that.
Mike Knuble Started the week on the third line, finished it on the top line and will probably be playing center on the fourth line by next week. Or not.
Brooks Laich Is definitely shooting more (no doubt fueled by a bit of confidence after his two-goal week last week) and had more shorthanded time - without giving up a power play goal - than any other forward, but was a minus-two against the Kings before being benched in the third period. Message received? We'll find out.
Alex Ovechkin The fact that he had the only goal for his team this week (and that it was one of those "Ovechkin-esque" goals we're starting to see more often) doesn't excuse the fact that his line got hemmed into its own zone far too often and allowed opponents too much time and space. The fact that he looked more engaged than many of his teammates, however, just might.
Mathieu Perreault That scoring streak was fun while it lasted, wasn't it? Consistency is overrated.
Alexander Semin Finished the week with no goals, no assists, a minus-one, two penalties drawn, five shots (four of which came in one game), an ill-fated (and short-lived) stint on the top line and, along with Laich, had his butt stapled to the bench as Saturday's game drew to a close. Some of that may just be due to's hoping a lot of it is.
David Steckel Won nine of his sixteen faceoffs...but we already knew he could do that.

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