By Reed S. Albers
Three games, two wins and one loss that probably should have been at least one point. That’s how Week 4 went for the Capitals and continuing with our pursuit to power rank just because we can, here’s who we think earned their paychecks.
1. Nicklas Backstrom – three goals, three assists, six points
Should it really be surprising? October was the month of Nicky and after last season’s disappointing point total (if you call 65 points disappointing), his play this past month should have fans optimistic the old Nicky is back.
2. Joel Ward – two goals, one assist, plus two
Joel Ward stepped up for the Caps this week. His goal against Anaheim on Tuesday kept the Caps in reach and though it was a losing effort on Saturday, he once again opened the scoring for the team against the Islanders.
3. Troy Brouwer – two goals (one game winner), one assist
Hey look, another depth scorer! Just like Ward, Brouwer was brought into add a bit of an edge to the teams – an edge that showed itself in victories over Anaheim and Carolina. But it’s his diving game-winning goal against Carolina that stands out amongst the crowd. Here’s to seeing ones like it over and over again this season.
4. Alex Ovechkin – one goal, three assists, plus one
Ovechkin isn’t quite back to his dominant goal scoring ways, but his past few goals have been vintage Ovi. That’s a good thing. Also his lack of scoring isn’t hurting the Caps, mainly because he’s doing a good job as a playmaker for Nicklas Backstrom.
5. John Carlson – one goal, one assist, two points, plus two
For most of the season, it’s been defender Dennis Wideman earning all the acclaim for his mix of offense and defense from the blue line. This week, it was Carlson reminding us of his chops on both ends of the ice. He also escaped the Islanders game even in plus-minus, while Wideman struggled (he was minus four).
6. Michal Neuvirth – one goal against, one win, .960 save percentage
The Czech netminder rebounded from a four goals against performance versus Vancouver last week to pick up a win over Carolina on Friday. He may not have wrestled the starting job away from Tomas Vokoun yet, but a few more soft goals from Vokoun and Neuvy might be No. 1 again.