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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 4

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 Too many bad goals (a brutal miscommunication with his defenseman and an unscreened point shot against Toronto, and a deflating five-hole tally against Pittsburgh) led to a quick hook against the Pens and a 92-minute work week. Neuvirth needs to be better.
Braden Holtby Couldn't stop the bleeding and was saddled with the loss against the Pens (three goals-against on 17 shots in 27 minutes... which works out to a goals against average of 6.66, of course), but bounced back with a shutout (and a beauty of an assist) on Saturday night and ended the week 1-1-0/2.07/.932, including a .971 save percentage on 34 even-strength shots-against.
Karl Alzner Thursday night marked Alzner's 250th NHL game (including playoffs) and he marked the occasion by committing two minor penalties in the same game for only the third time in his career. Alzner had a typically solid-if-unspectacular week, which featured 3:39 of penalty-killing without a goal-against.
John Carlson Picked up his third point in the last five games on Saturday night's first (and game-winning) goal by firing a shot off of Troy Brouwer and in, no doubt exactly how he planned it. At least as importantly, in 54:43 of even-strength ice time for the week, Carlson wasn't on for a single goal-against other than that Neuvirth-Poti screw up against the Leafs. Don't look now, but Carlson's season may be back on track.
John Erskine Celebrated his post-suspension return to the lineup against the Cats by fighting George Parros, which takes stones (even if it's not a great trade for the Caps). Washington is now 3-2-1 with Erskine in the lineup (0-6-0 without him), and while that's certainly more correlation than causation, it's reason enough for him to keep getting a sweater.
Mike Green Had a secondary power-play assist on a garbage-time goal, but needs to be doing more, offensively, both at even-strength and with the extra man, while continuing to provide solid defense.
Roman Hamrlik With Erskine on the shelf serving out the final game of his suspension and Tom Poti a late scratch with an upper-body injury, Hamrlik found himself back in the lineup against Pittsburgh where he (like everyone else) struggled a bit. Right now he's Adam Oates's least-favored option on the blueline.
Jack Hillen The latest update pegs Hillen as being out another 6-8 weeks.
Tomas Kundratek Had primary helpers on goals that mattered (at the time) in the week's first two games, including his first career point against Toronto.
Dmitry Orlov GMGM on Friday: "I was told a week ago it might be another month." So early March or so.
Tom Poti Rough week for Poti, whose miscommunication with Neuvirth cost the Caps an early goal against the Leafs, but which must have felt fine in comparison to getting boarded by Leo Komarov later in the same game, a hit which kept Poti out of the next two games.
Jeff Schultz On Saturday, Schultz broke a three-game shot-less streak with three (the first time he's done that in a single game in more than three years), and picked up his first assist of the season along the way. The point was Double-Nickel's first since November 21, 2011, and snapped a... wait for it... 55-game drought.
Nicklas Backstrom Ran his point-scoring streak to five games against the Leafs, but was shut-out over the next two. That said, no Cap was on the ice for more goals-for (five) or had a better differential (plus-three) for the week. The points will come, and that Backstrom has only been on the ice for three even-strength goals-against (and seven for) over the last nine games is a positive.
Jay Beagle 6:10 of perfect penalty-killing helps (which is good, because not a ton more that Beagle is doing these days helps much).
Troy Brouwer "As good a leader as there is in this game," Brouwer now leads the Caps in goals with five (tied with Joel Ward) after a couple on Saturday night, one of which he actually shot. Brouwer has four goals and two assists in his last seven games, and is backing up his critical words off the ice with his play on it.
Jason Chimera Spent some time on the fourth line in practice this week as a message that the team needs him to increase his physicality and utilize his speed more. He's still looking for his first goal of the season, but did break a four-game point-less streak with a helper on Saturday night.
Joey Crabb This guy doesn't do much, does he?
Eric Fehr Picked up his first point of the season with an assist on the third goal against the Panthers and was solid in a third-line role all night. Still, Fehr has only registered a shot-on-goal in one of the last five games he's played, something which will need to change going forward.
Matt Hendricks Whole lotta zeroes on Hendy's ledger for the week... unless we're talking goals-against, for which he was on the ice for three (two on Pittsburgh power plays) or his team-worst minus-three goal differential for the week.
Marcus Johansson Scored his first goal of the year (and played his best game of the season) against Toronto, but reverted to what has been the norm for him so far in 2013 against Pittsburgh, earning himself a healthy scratch against Florida, about which Oates noted, "We need more execution." Paging John McKay.
Brooks Laich Getting close enough to a return that he's now sitting in on special teams meetings. (He hadn't been previously?) Barring any setbacks, it sounds like a return to full practice and then the lineup is somewhat imminent.
Alex Ovechkin Finally scored an even-strength goal on Saturday (snapping a career-long 14-game streak without one), and all of the sudden is showing real signs of life - four points on the week (including a pair of goals), a four-game point streak, and 27 shots on goal in his last five games. If that last rate keeps up, the goals will start pouring in opponents' nets.
Mathieu Perreault Got back into the lineup against the Kitties to provide energy, and that's exactly what he brought to the game... along with a goal and an assist. Perreault played his game to a tee, and more efforts like that will go a long way towards solidifying his spot in the lineup.
Mike Ribeiro Had a three-game goal-scoring streak snapped against the Cats, but an assist in that game gave him at least a point in four-straight. Here we are one-fourth of the way through the season and Ribeiro has more multi-point games (four) than scoreless outings (three). That'll do.
Joel Ward Had gone four games without a point before notching a goal and an assist against Florida as the third member of that super third line. Ward's next goal will equal his total from a season ago.
Wojtek Wolski That Wolski has been inconsistent so far probably comes as a surprise to, well, no one. This was a down week for the Polish winger.