GAME 16 RECAP: Caps Win Sixth Straight; Semin Hat Trick

Posted by Cheryl Nichols | Friday, November 12, 2010 | , , , | 0 comments »

“It wasn’t anything special. I was just going out there and playing like I do every other game. [The] Most important thing is for the team to win and that’s what happened tonight.” -- Alexander Semin (translated by Dmitry Chesnokov)

THE RESULT:  The Washington Capitals extended win streak to six games in front of the 69th consecutive sellout crowd at Verizon Center on Thursday night with a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning.

Tom Poti returned to the ice after missing eight games and scored the Capitals first goal of the night.  “He’s a good player and a veteran in this league that’s been successful. It’s nice to have him back because we’re young back there {on defense}” said Coach Bruce Boudreau.

There is no question whether the Ovechkin/Backstrom/Semin line is working.  Coach Bruce Boudreau talked about Alex Semin to the media after the game, "I think he likes playing with Alex {Alex Ovechkin} and Nicky {Backstrom}. I think they can play. They’re interchangeable.”

Alexander Semin continues to be red hot. Semin got this second hat trick in just nine games and leads the Caps with twelve goals for the reason.

Tampa Bay Lightning Captain Vincent Lecavalier missed a shift in the first period and the Comcast camera caught his fingers taped together on his right hand, however, remained in the game.  Lightning Head Coach Guy Boucher explained, "Vinny was playing so good the last four games. He was playing great. He got two posts in the first period. That’s the story of his four games. He could’ve had three points every game. Just real bad luck for him. I feel for him. He’s worked so hard – taken care of so many small details. He’s been a real leader on our team. He’s grinding it out. He’s been outstanding for us.”

Goalie Michal Neuvirth struggled in the first period and had several rebounds and a couple of lucky breaks when the puck hit the post, however, he settled down and made key saves when it mattered. He stopped 38 out of the 41 shots made by the Bolts. "He's been really good for us," Backstrom said. "We needed it. Hopefully he can continue playing the way he does and we can keep scoring too."

Nicklas Backstrom continued to discuss the play of the Caps. “The first period wasn’t so good. We didn’t work hard enough, but we worked ourselves back into the game and we finished it [the game] off strong. We have to find a way to start games better. Hopefully it will be the next game.”

Boyd Gordon only played 1:42 after suffering a lower-body injury early in the first period. Coach Bruce Boudreau wasn't sure when the injury occurred but that it could have been when Gordon collided with Matt Smaby on an icing call. "He said he's had this before, the same type of injury and it's usually a week," Boudreau told media after the game. "I don't know when it happened but I think that might be it."

Check out the Movember progress here.


• Nicklas Backstrom recorded his 200th career NHL assist on Tom Poti’s goal in the second period. He also added four assists and now has 12 points (1 goal, 11 assists) in the last six games.
• Tonight’s game featured two of the top three scorers in the NHL in Steven Stamkos (26 points) and Alex Ovechkin (23). Ovechkin registered a goal and two assists while Stamkos scored his league leading 14th goal of the season and added an assist. Ovechkin has points in eight straight games (5 goals, 10 assists) and has at least a point in 11 of the Capitals’ 12 victories this season.
• With Semin (12 goals) and Ovechkin (9), the Capitals are the only team in the NHL with two nine-goals scorers. The duo has combined for eight goals and 20 points in the past five games.
• Poti, who missed eight games with an injury, scored for the first time since Mar. 8, 2010 (19 games).
• Mike Knuble, who snapped a 13-game goal-less drought on Tuesday against the New York Rangers, scored his third goal of the season at 7:51 of the second period.
• The Capitals have won six straight games overall and five in a row at Verizon Center. It’s the fourth straight season that the Capitals have had a winning streak of at least five games after going five seasons with one. Bruce Boudreau has 10 five-game winning streaks in his NHL head coaching tenure.
• After scoring two goals in the second period, the Capitals have now outscored their opponents 25-10 in the middle stanza this season. During the Caps six-game winning streak, Washington has outscored their opponents 31-17 with 17 of the 31 goals coming in the second period.
• Brooks Laich, who recorded an assist on Knuble’s goal in the second period and leads the NHL with a plus-13 rating, has collected seven points (2 goals, 5 assists) in the last six games.
• Washington leads the league with nine wins (9-3-0) when allowing the first goal of the game (.750).
• The Capitals are 8-0-0 when Semin scores a goal and 7-0-0 when the team records a power play goal.
• The Caps have won for the first time on a Thursday night (1-2-0) and now have registered wins during every day of the week.
• Capitals radio play-by-play voice Steve Kolbe called his 1,000th career NHL game tonight.