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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 20

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth Surrendered three goals in each of three appearances this past week (two starts and a 40-minute relief stint). But he wasn't quite as bad as his 3.40 goals against average and .844 save percentage might imply, and the team certainly owes him a couple of bailouts, one of which he cashed in against the Ducks.
Semyon Varlamov Rebounded from getting yanked after just twenty minutes in Anaheim (and three goals allowed on just nine shots against) with a strong performance in Buffalo to pick up his second win in nine decisions since January 8.
Karl Alzner Had his first career three-point game (and had a plus-three rating) against the Ducks, but was on the ice for three power-play goals-against this week on a penalty kill that has hit a bit of a bump in the road, going just 5-for-9 and allowing a goal in each of the week's four games.
John Carlson Like Alzner, Carlson was on the ice for a trio of opposing power-play tallies (and another three at even-strength), but was also on the ice for a whopping nine of the Caps' 13 goals for the week, meaning that he was on for 15 of the 26 goals scored in Caps games this week. Yeah, he's getting a lot of ice time with Mike Green out, leading the team in minutes in all four games this week (and racking up a plus-four rating along the way).
John Erskine Now in his fifth season in Washington, Erskine surpassed his single-season Caps high for games played in Anaheim, and, fittingly, commemorated the occasion by fighting Andy Sutton after the Ducks blueliner boarded Matt Hendricks.
Mike Green The Caps are taking it slow with Green, which makes sense of course, but seeing how the team struggles to move the puck out of its own zone and up ice with the two-time Norris finalist out of the lineup makes you wonder if they might not be looking for another puck-mover before the deadline.
Scott Hannan Picked up his second point as a Cap in the Wednesday night scorefest, and was on the ice for six goals against this week (including screening Varlamov on the Buffalo goal on Sunday), but he's providing plenty of what this team needs... off the ice.
Tom Poti Poti is going to set a career low for games played in a season, and he'll almost certainly set a career low for points in a season, failing to reach the numbers he bottomed-out at two seasons ago in both metrics. So, in sum, he's had his two worst seasons in the NHL in the past three years... and the Caps have him locked up for two more.
Jeff Schultz As the cliche goes, you can't score if you don't shoot... and Sarge hasn't registered a shot on goal in seven games, as he's still looking for his first goal of the campaign (Alex Ovechkin has more goals this season than Double Nickel has shots on goal). More importantly, Schultz's minus-1's in California give him 19 games this season in which he's been a minus-1 or worse, already eight more than he had in all of 2009-10.
Tyler Sloan Hasn't registered a shot on goal since November 19 (nine games), a plus since November 17 (ten games), or a point since November 14 (eleven games).
Nicklas Backstrom Scored a nice goal in San Jose to give the Caps a chance late, and had a couple of helpers in Anaheim, but didn't get on the scoresheet in Phoenix or Buffalo and won just 35.9% of his faceoffs in the last two games.
Matt Bradley Lit the lamp for the first time since December 18 (breaking an eight-game drought) on Monday night, but had an otherwise quiet week.
Jason Chimera Picked up a cheapie secondary assist on Sunday, breaking a six-game scoreless spell over which he was a minus-six. Also has failed to register a hit in his last five games, and deserves some blame for the team's recent third-period woes: he's been on the ice for six of the nine third-period markers the team has allowed over the last six games.
Eric Fehr The three-to-four week estimate given when he was placed on IR on January 15... a wee bit optimistic, no?
Boyd Gordon Surprisingly, there are two forwards in the League who have taken more shots on goal than Gordon and also dented the twine just once. Taking it one step further, since 2003-04, only Shawn Thornton has had more shots on goal and fewer goals than Gordon (and hey, look who clocks in at number nine on the list).
Matt Hendricks Some guys talk the talk on effort; Matt Hendricks delivers it every single night. He had three assists on the week, but his biggest helper - the third-period penalty he drew on Sunday - didn't make it onto most stat sheets.
Marcus Johansson Settling in as the second-line center (for now), MoJo scored in the week's first and last games and added an assist in between. Perhaps more encouraging were the two three-shot games and the 54% win rate in the dot over the four games.
D.J. King Didn't get a sweater last week and has played fewer minutes on the season than more than a half-dozen of his teammates skated in the last four games.
Mike Knuble Scored in Anaheim (who didn't?), and averaged three shots on goal per game last week, but hasn't had an assist since January 8 (a span of 18 games). This is the swan song, it would seem.
Brooks Laich Had a goal and an assist against the Ducks and an assist in Phoenix, but has gone 34 games without a power-play goal (or point) and has just four extra-man tallies on the year, after scoring a dozen a season ago.
Alex Ovechkin Back-to-back multi-point games for only the second time since November, 22 shots on goal, a dozen hits, a pair of goals in his last three games... it's beginning to look a lot like Ovechmas.
Mathieu Perreault It's tempting to give Perreault an up arrow on the strength of his two-point Sunday afternoon, but that would ignore his previous three point-less games of the week, a span over which he was minus-four and not on the ice for a single goal-for.
Alexander Semin Sensational against the Ducks, notching his fourth hat-trick of the season, and good enough to tack on helpers in the two games on either side of that one. On the week, Semin was on the ice for seven of the Caps' 13 goals and only on for one opposition tally, was a plus-six, and hasn't committed a single minor penalty since returning from injury. Good Sasha.
David Steckel Broke a 19-game goal-less drought in Anaheim one game after snapping a 10-game assist-less streak in Phoenix, and won 59% of his draws for the week.

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