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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 24

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Braden Holtby Held Montreal to just two goals in winning his fifth-straight decision before taking a backseat to Neuvirth for a couple of games and being returned to Hershey on Saturday. If this was it for Holtby's first partial season of NHL action, his 9-2-2/1.95/.930 line absolutely sparkles (especially considering that he was 7-0-1/1.02/.966 in his last eight games), and with only 11 games played, he'll be eligible for next year's Calder Trophy as the NHL's rookie of the year. Of course, there's another Calder for Holtby to worry about between now and then...
Michal Neuvirth Was good against the Wings (though not on the game-winning goal) in his first game back from the freak eye injury that sidelined him for more than a week and then was magnificent in shutting out a desperate Devils team on Friday night. In his seven starts since getting lit up by the Rangers, Neuvy has gone 5-1-0/1.73/.944 (though it should be noted that all five of those wins came against teams that aren't going to the playoffs).
Semyon Varlamov Will "get his chance" this week, and hopefully can pick up right where he left off before heading to injured reserve after stopping 28 of 29 Buffalo Sabres shots on February 20.
Karl Alzner Was on the ice for five of the nine goals the Caps scored on the week (assisting on one of them) and just one of the five they allowed. Don't look now, but Alzner's up to plus-15 on the season.
John Carlson After hitting a rough patch a few weeks back, Carlson has not only righted the ship, but is playing perhaps his best hockey as an NHLer. For the week, Carlson was on the ice for seven goals-for and just one against, scored his first goal in two months, added a pair of assists, and fired a career-high six shots on goal in Montreal (and followed that up with five the next night). Say, speaking of the Calder...
John Erskine Missed all three games this week with the flu. Hmm...
Mike Green Could return to play in just his second game since February 12 on Tuesday, but that's probably overly optimistic.
Scott Hannan Blocked six shots against the Habs and had his first assist in 14 games against the Wings and now has an impressive run of 11 games in-a-row without a minus-rating (racking up a plus-eight over that span).
Tom Poti "He’s coming along," said Bruce Boudreau of Poti.  "I don’t know when his debut is gonna be, but we’ll see. It’s one of those things where it’s a process. It’s not quick, but it’s going." Easily the most under-reported story of the Caps season.
Jeff Schultz Fired a missile (or not) over Martin Brodeur's left shoulder to provide enough offense for the win on Friday night, his first goal since February 11... 2010.
Tyler Sloan Has gone 17 games without a point (dating back to November 14), a span over which he has a minus-seven rating, and has more minor penalties (five) than shots on goal (two). 
Dennis Wideman No Cap skater was on the ice for as many goals-against this week (three) as Wideman, but a pair of assists helped to mitigate. In the ten games since coming over from Florida at the trade deadline, Wideman has been on the ice for 15 of the 29 goals the Caps have scored and eight of the 15 they've allowed.
Jason Arnott A surprise shut-down (to media and fans, at least), Arnott is expected to be out at least seven to ten days. But the Caps have seen what they need to see in terms of where he fits into the lineup, so getting him healthy and rested for the playoffs is what matters most at this point.
Nicklas Backstrom Returned to the lineup against the Devils, and while he didn't find his way onto the scoresheet, a 13-for-17 night in the dot is encouraging coming from a guy who missed five games with a busted thumb. With 25 points in 15 career games against the Flyers, it certainly will be good to have him back in the lineup for Tuesday night.
Jay Beagle Had three hits in Montreal and another three in Jersey, but has now gone 19 games without a goal (and has only one assist in that stretch).
Matt Bradley Fought Paul Mara after the Canadiens defenseman had decided to avenge a clean Beagle hit with some stickwork to the face, but had yet another scoreless week. Bradley has gone 16 games without a goal and has just one (and one helper, 24 games ago ) in his last 25.
Jason Chimera Picked up an assist against the Wings, but had just one shot on goal and three hits for the week. When he's not scoring (and he's not, with no goals in his last 20 games), Chimera has to be hitting more, at the very least.
Eric Fehr Another upper-body injury for Fehr, but this one doesn't sound as bad as the last one... we think.
Boyd Gordon Won 62.8% of his 43 faceoffs and skated a perfectly scoreless 5:37 of shorthanded ice time.
Matt Hendricks No points and no fights for the week, but a minus-two in Motown and a double-minor high-sticking in Newark.
Marcus Johansson Two goals against the Habs, a plus-three rating against the Devs keep things moving in the right direction for MoJo, who has two goals, four assists and a plus-seven rating in his last eight games.
D.J. King Kudos to King for picking up an assist against the Wings in his first (and only) game since February 21.
Mike Knuble Just when you (ok, I) thought he was done, Knuble shows that he still has some gas left in the tank. His three insurance goals this week (one in Montreal, two in Jersey, where he also added an assist and was plus-three on the night) leave him with nine points and a plus-seven rating in his last 11 games. One thing to keep an eye on, though - Knuble has committed five minor penalties in his last ten games.
Brooks Laich Scored a beauty against the Habs, but was pretty quiet for the rest of the week. Laich needs four goals in nine games to hit the 20-goal mark.
Alex Ovechkin

Had a helper in Montreal and a rocket of a goal in Detroit, but saved his best for the last game of the week, dishing two gorgeous assists and posting a plus-three rating in Jersey (a game in which he didn't even register a shot on goal). Ovechkin now has 21 points in his last 16 games, this despite a "nagging ailment" that will sideline him for at least the Philly game this coming week.
Alexander Semin Picked up a helper on the Ovechkin goal against the Wings, but was pretty invisible for the rest of the week and hasn't scored a goal in his last five games. In fact, he has scored a goal (or three) in just five of the 33 games he's played since November.
Marco Sturm Maybe he's still getting his timing back after his most recent injury, and maybe he's still adjusting to his new team and new teammates, but the numbers speak for themselves: 0 goals in ten games as a Cap. Nice assist against the Canadiens, though.

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