The signs were on display early Thursday night that the sellout crowd at Verizon Center was in store for another sublime display by Alexander Semin. It simply took until the final period to be rewarded.
Semin scored three times in the third period for his second hat trick in nine games, leading the Washington Capitals to a 6-3 win over the Tampa Bay Lightning. Semin leads the Capitals with 12 goals this season and is riding a six-game point streak, during which he has recorded 13. Washington has won six in a row.
“He’s pretty on right now,” Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “Everything he’s touching is turning to gold, and he likes playing obviously with [Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin] and that responsibility.”
“He’s a great player with a lot of skills,” Backstrom said of Semin, who has often taken criticism for his uneven play and been something of an enigma – until this season. Coaches and players say Semin has been more outgoing through 16 games this season, in addition to having a magic scoring touch, as he has only been held without a point five times this season.
“He’s a sniper out there, he can score,” Backstrom continued. “I haven’t seen Alex play as well as he is right now.”
Boudreau didn’t start the contest with his super-powered trio of Semin, Ovechkin and Backstrom on the same line but put them together midway through the game in order to disrupt Tampa Bay’s system of clogging up the neutral zone. It proved to be a wise move.