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Capital Ups and Downs: Week 10

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

Paul Bereswill

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

Goalies Trend Notes
Michal Neuvirth As has been the case all year, Holtby getting hot means Neuvirth is watching from the sidelines. Probably not that fun for him, but he'll get his chances.
Braden Holtby From bad numbers one week to great ones the next, Holtby's taking us all on a bit of a roller-coaster ride this year. He'll be the first to tell you he should have had the eventual game-winner in Pittsburgh (and the game-tying goal in New York), but picking up wins in three of the four games this week - while allowing just five goals and posting his fourth shutout of the season - will help us all get over that.
Karl Alzner Another steady week for Alzner, who was in for three Caps goals and three against while adding another assist to his mighty offensive resume.
John Carlson Was on the ice for just one goal-against, and none at even strength as he continues to show steady improvement from a rough start. And suddenly his power play prowess is back, as well, as he was on for four Caps power play goals (assisting on three of them) to just one even strength. If he can find some consistency - and Green can find some health - the Caps could have a very potent one-two punch with the extra man.
John Erskine Continues to be out with a mysterious upper-body injury and has now missed the last nine games.
Mike Green There was no easing back in to the lineup for Green this week, as he made his return in the first of two against Winnipeg and logged the second-highest ice time on the team. Doesn't seem to have missed a beat, either, as he was on for two of the Caps' four goals his first game back, three of the six in the second win over the Jets (including his own)... but it was his bad pinch against the Rangers that led to a 2-on-1 goal by Arron Asham, and his ankle that cost Holtby his second-straight shutout.
Jack Hillen Took a penalty early in the Penguins game and another one in the first game against the Jets, but was better after that and seems to be getting more comfortable jumping into the play. Still looking for that first point, though...
Tomas Kundratek Still out after injuring his leg against the Hurricanes last week
Steven Oleksy Rebounded nicely from a bit of a rough week last week, on for just one goal-against while picking up his fourth assist of the season against the Jets and adding a fifth in the win over the Rangers. Unfortunately he got a bit penalty happy, adding three minors to the major he got for cleaning the clock of Winnipeg's James Wright. Feisty is good, but cautiously feisty is better.
Dmitry Orlov Made his debut against the Penguins and had a quietly successful first few games, picking up his first assist of the season while not being on for any goals-against, but seems to be getting eased in a bit more cautiously than Green (as he should be). Nice to have him back in the lineup if only to see him skate, because he sure is fun to watch.
Tom Poti Yet another blueliner who continues to be out, which is less worrisome now that Green and Orlov have returned but still not ideal given the collective youth of the blue line at the moment.
Jeff Schultz Skated a fairly non-descript 10:49 against the Penguins and then proceeded to be a healthy scratch for three straight games - and if the team keeps winning, that'll likely continue. Not all that surprising, considering that Oates' system seems to be designed around faster, puck-moving defensemen and Schultz is... well, neither. Sorry, Sarge.
Nicklas Backstrom Could it be that Backstrom's pedestrian start to the season was just a case of the blues at being separated from Ovechkin? ...probably not, but he does seem to have perked up quite a bit since being reunited with the captain. He assisted on three of Ovechkin's goals, picked up a couple of his own (assisted by Ovechkin) and scored the game-winner in the shootout against the Rangers. Balanced out two rough nights in the dot with a couple of good ones, which we care less about anyway if he keeps putting up points like he is.
Jay Beagle Rocked it on faceoffs this week, winning just over 57% of his draws (including 6 of 7 against Pittsburgh) and wasn't on for a single goal-against all week. That's usually good enough for us - but his goal early in the second period against Winnipeg Friday night was a big one for the Caps and bumps him up to a shiny green arrow.
Troy Brouwer Continues to pile up the points at an impressive rate, picking up goal #11 on Thursday and #12 Friday (both at even-strength) as he seems to have found some nice chemistry with Mike Ribeiro and Brooks Laich. Incidentally, before this season Brouwer had never scored against Atlanta/Winnipeg... he now has goals in each of the four Jets games this season.
Jason Chimera Remember when he scored that goal last week and it seemed like maybe he'd do it again sometime soon? Yeah, about that... in a week when the Caps scored thirteen goals, he had a hand in exactly zero of them. No goals, no assists, not even a point in the 6-1 win over the Jets in which all but four players picked up at least one. And he was in the box twice, including the penalty that led to Pittsburgh's game-tying goal on Tuesday.
Joey Crabb A healthy scratch to start the week, on the waiver wire by Friday and a Hershey Bear by Saturday.
Eric Fehr Hasn't looked the same over the last week or so, something that's been reflected in the lack of offense and dwindling ice time. More troubling, though, was that he left the Ranger game in the third period with what the team is calling an "upper-body injury". Ruh roh.
Matt Hendricks Broke out The Paralyzer in last night's shootout and it failed. I don't know what to believe anymore.
Marcus Johansson Picked up his fourth goal of the year and an assist in the first Jets game and added two assists in the second... which is both a sign that he's playing better and a happy byproduct of getting bumped up to the top line alongside Ovechkin and Backstrom.
Brooks Laich Made his return to the lineup against the Pens in a very quiet fashion but became more of a presence as the week went on, starting with a shorthanded breakaway chance in Winnipeg on Thursday (something he repeated on Friday) and finally picking up his first goal to open the scoring in the 6-1 win over the Jets. And while penalties aren't generally good things, it was nice to see him get nicked for two while coming to the defense of a teammate.
Alex Ovechkin Scored a goal in each of the four games this week, including three on the power play, and finished the week with a whopping eight points - five goals, three assists and a plus-3 rating. Ovechkin led the team in shots on goal in three of the four games, racking up 20 on the week (with another 20 chances that missed or were blocked), threw 13 hits, blocked 2 shots and was only nicked for one goal-against. He has been a man on a mission of late, and it's really something to see.
Mathieu Perreault Earned a sweater in all four games this week but didn't do much with it, with no goals, no assists and a bad penalty in Winnipeg. We've been trained to expect more from Perreault of late, and there's no reason to think this was anything more than just a bad week... but consistency has been an issue in the past and with at least one guy in the press box who could fill in for him he needs to be looking over his shoulder.
Mike Ribeiro He may have quieted a bit on the goal-scoring front but Ribeiro is still putting up points at a steady clip, with three helpers this week to keep him among the League leaders in both points and assists. With the Caps amazingly within reach of a playoff spot for the first time all season and the pool of available rental players dwindling, George McPhee is about to have a very tough decision on his hands...
Joel Ward Another week of solid, steady work from Ward, who was held goalless again but picked up another assist while being on for just one goal-against. His game isn't flashy (and we'd like to see him get a goal before March ends) but he's bringing the effort and the physicality, which isn't nothing.
Aaron Volpatti With the return of Brooks Laich, it seems that his seat in the press box - for now, at least - is pretty secure.
Wojtek Wolski Just unable to crack the lineup at this point, which is sad considering the fact that he seemed to be clicking before this most recent run of scratches. With the team playing as well as they have been one would think Oates would be reluctant to mix things up... but there are a few guys in the top-nine forwards who could maybe use a breather, right? #FreeWolski