Alexander Semin is capable of taking over a game. Last year against Carolina comes to mind: he tied the game up with under three minutes left and won it in the last 11 seconds. Carolina still hasn't recovered.
During the streak he's been playing his best hockey of the year, and tonight for 50 seconds he looked as dominant as anyone can look.
Mike Knuble comes off the ice with 4:52 or 4:51 left in the 2nd period and Semin comes on. Brooks Laich skates over the puck along the left boards and Semin takes the puck from Jonathan Cheechoo with 4:46 left. He goes forehand, backhand, forehand which causes Alexandre Picard to orbit Brendan Morrison and gets off a wrister using Filip Kuba as a screen to score with 4:44 left, and there is a one second runoff on the clock. So far he's been on the ice for about eight seconds and handled the puck for two of them with a score.
He next receives the puck with 4:29 left on a cross ice neutral zone feed from Tyler Sloan. He gets off a snapshot from 29 feet with 4:25 left that just trickles right. Sloan gets a clearing attempt at the right point and dumps it in the corner with a backhand. Semin looks like Omar Vizquel smoothly grabbing it with his right glove with 4:19 left. He settles the puck and goes between Kuba's skates as he spins him around, then feeds Laich in the slot with 4:14 left. Laich handles the puck to the right point and dumps it in the right corner with a backhand. Morrison settles it in the right corner and Semin picks it up with 4:07 left. He dangles around a quarter of the right circle and unleashes a wrist shot with zero movement in his lower body through Picard, who was picked by Laich about a second before, with 4:03 left in the period, and there is a two second runoff on the clock. From the faceoff to Semin's release (hee hee), Semin is on the ice for 40 seconds, handling the puck for 12 seconds.
Semin's shift lasts 51 seconds, three seconds of which was runoff. Of the 48 seconds during which there was action, he controlled the puck for 14, about 30% of the time. Two goals, a third that barely missed. Every time he touched the puck he created at least one highlight. I thought his first goal would be unassisted although Laich got the helper, and he created the scoring chance on the second more than either of his linemates who got the assists. Semin capped off a hat trick in the third, and assisted on a Fleischmann goal in the first before Morrison replaced Tomas as second pivot in the second. But in the second period he showed just how unstoppable he looks when he's on.
The streak in memorium: Before the streak the Capitals were six points back of Chicago for the best record in the league, to start the night they were two points ahead of San Jose. Before the streak they were five points behind New Jersey in the East, to start the night they were 14 up on the Devils. They increased their division lead on Atlanta from 14 to 26 points. During the streak they outscored their opponents 67-33, 30-6 in the third period. Eighteen different players scored. They scored on 30.9% of their power plays. The goalies had a 2.33 GAA with a 0.933 save percentage. The top line went 33-36-69 with 138 shots. These stats were culled from tonight's Comcast Sportsnet Capitals' broadcast.
Miscellaneous: This post was originally going to be called Semin can dangle but that was gross.
About the Author
Written by Ryan Cleaver
Ryan Cleaver was born in Björk’s house in Iceland and grew up on Easter Island, where his parents were giant stone heads. He has the ability to fire beams of tacos out of his hands and he can turn his legs into tigers. On Sundays, Ryan enjoys reading Family Circus and traveling through time. His favorite color is greenish-transparent and his favorite movie is the one you just watched.