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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 1

The latest edition of our weekly look at individual Washington Capitals ups and downs.


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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth Always the bridesmaid and never the bride, Neuvirth will get his chances this season, perhaps sooner rather than later.
Braden Holtby It's tough to hand out our first down arrow of the season based on one game playing a new system after a shortened training camp, but expectations are sky-high for Holtby this season, and six goals-against in sixty minutes ain't gonna cut it. Welcome back to the NHL, Braden - let's hope the re-acclimatization doesn't take long.
Karl Alzner Alzner logged just over 22 minutes on opening night, including nearly six with the Caps down a man, and was only on the ice for the 5-on-3 goal-against. Steady as she goes.
John Carlson All three goals that the Caps scored on Saturday night tied the game. The other thing they had in common was that John Carlson was on the ice. (He was also on the ice for all three Tampa power-play tallies, but nary an even-strength goal-against.) Carlson finished the night with a helper, a plus-two rating and twice as many blocked shots (4) as anyone else in the game in 25 minutes played.
John Erskine When the team dresses seven defensemen and you're not one of them... welp.
Mike Green Green led all skaters in ice time with 26:57 that included more than ten minutes of special teams time (six on the power-play, four-and-a-half shorthanded), and looked pretty decent - and healthy - doing it.
Roman Hamrlik Hamrlik managed a secondary assist in limited ice time, which is notable in that it took him until his 28th game to notch his first helper a season ago.
Jack Hillen "Week-to-week" with an upper-body injury after being run into the boards by Vinny Lecavalier just six shifts into his Caps career.
Dmitry Orlov Has been sidelined since the December 6 game he and the Bears played at Verizon Center, so at least the Caps' first home-ice injury of the season is out of the way.
Tom Poti Playing his first NHL game in two year and a week, Poti picked up an assist in 13:20 of ice time. That's purple heart-worthy stuff... but the honeymoon will end pretty soon (if it hasn't already).
Jeff Schultz Even with Hillen missing half of the game, Schultz only skated ten shifts on the night. If Adam Oates places a high premium on defensemen who can move the puck up ice quickly and safely, Schultz may be in trouble (and looks to be a healthy scratch tonight).
Nicklas Backstrom Backstrom (and his linemates) need to be better. They know that. They will be. (Of note, by the way, Backstrom took 24 of the game's 74 draws, playing in all situations... he certainly looks to be Oates's Oates.)
Jay Beagle While the penalty kill was pretty poor on the whole, Beagle skated 5:04 with the Caps down a man and wasn't on the ice for any of the three Tampa power-play tallies. So there's that.
Troy Brouwer A second-liner to start the season, Brouwer played nearly four minutes shorthanded and more than four with the Caps up a man, but was unable to find the same kind of mojo he had last year when he lit the lamp five times against the Bolts.
Jason Chimera Picked up the primary helper on the Caps' second goal and had a team-high three hits (tied with Brouwer). If the third line can pot a goal every night, the Caps should be in decent shape.
Joey Crabb Scratched for Game One as Oates went with just 11 forwards, but Crabb will get his chance soon enough (likely tonight, in fact).
Eric Fehr Also scratched for the opener, it might've been a nice little story line if Fehr got a shot at redemption against his former (and hometown) team tonight... but that doesn't appear to be in the cards.
Matt Hendricks Hendricks will look to stay perfect in the faceoff dot after going six-for-six on Saturday. That probably won't happen.
Marcus Johansson Only Poti was on the ice for as many even-strength goals-against (two) as Johansson, who did next-to-nothing with the 4.5 minutes of power-play time he was given.
Brooks Laich There's no timetable on Laich's return, but that non-existent clock no doubt speeds up with each Caps loss.
Alex Ovechkin Came out of the gates strong, firing four shots on goal in the first ten-or-so minutes of the game and blowing up Cory Conacher on the PK, but was otherwise a non-factor. Not worried. Yet.
Mathieu Perreault Perreault managed to cram a lot into the five shifts he got, and not much of it was good, as he was part of the first-goal-against-goat-rodeo and took a third-period tripping penalty (on which the game-winning 5-on-3 goal was scored). One wonders how effective a fourth-liner Perreault can be and how long a leash he has.
Mike Ribeiro The Caps' most notable off-season acquisition was perhaps their best skater on Saturday, picking up a pair of helpers for his efforts.
Joel Ward Ward skated 2:35 with the extra man - a mere 2:27 more than he averaged per game a season ago - and got a regular third-line shift. The hockey gods rewarded the Caps for finally properly deploying the winger with a pair of Ward tallies, one coming a man-up.
Wojtek Wolski A low-risk/moderate-reward signing last summer, Wolski scored on his only shot of the game. Shoot more, DubDub.