Capitals Vs. Ducks: Alexander Semin's Hat Trick Leads Caps To Crazy 7-6 Win Over Ducks

Despite having not scored since Thanksgiving, Alexander Semin returned in a big way, netting his fourth hat trick of the season in a wild 7-6 win over the Ducks.

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Capitals Vs. Ducks: Alex Semin Ends Scoring Drought With Hat Trick, Leads Capitals To 7-6 Win Over Ducks

The new defensive-minded gameplan of the Washington Capitals has taken some getting used to. On Wednesday, however, defense be damned.

Led by Alexander Semin's hat trick, the Capitals escaped Honda Center with a 7-6 victory over the Anaheim Ducks in an absolutely crazy contest.

Each period featured at least four goals and the game itself featured several lead changes. Four goals were scored within 10 minutes in the first period and another four were scored in less than seven minutes in the second. The Capitals found themselves down four times during the game and four seemed to be the magic number Wednesday, but in the third period, Semin made sure that three is what counted.

After a Mike Knuble breakaway tied the game at 5-5 just 58 seconds into the third period, Bobby Ryan reclaimed the lead for Anaheim on an interesting call. The net behind Ducks goaltender Curtis McElhinney was knocked off its moorings, but the referee allowed play to continue. Anaheim took advantage as the Capitals seemed a bit confused; Ryan Getzlaf found Ryan on a 2-on-1 that beat Michal Neuvirth to give the Ducks a 6-5 lead.

As was the norm Wednesday, the Caps found a way to respond. Scott Hannan fired a tough-angle shot on McElhinney that he jumped up to stop, leaving him out of position for the rebound that popped out in the slot. Semin pounced on it and scored his second goal of the evening at 11:37.

Yet, Semin wasn't done. With less than two minutes left, Semin drove the net and found s opening big enough to sneak the puck past McElhinney to give the Capitals the lead for the first time since it was 2-1. Semin earned his fourth hat trick of the season, despite not having scored since November 28.

Eleven different goal scorers combined for the 13 total goals. Washington's seven goals were the most since its 7-2 win over the Calgary Flames October 30. With a three-game losing streak snapped, the Caps head up north to San Jose to face the Sharks Thursday night.

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Capitals Vs. Ducks: Scoring Spree Continues As Ducks Lead 5-4

The high-flying Capitals have been itching to make an appearance. Consider it poetic that it's happening against the Ducks.

The Caps and Ducks have continued to trade goals, but the latter leads 5-4 after two periods.

Corey Perry pushed the lead to 4-2 at 6:21 on a shorthanded breakaway. After the Capitals turned over the puck in the offensive zone, Luca Sbisa intercepted the puck and held it as the Ducks made a line change. Sbisa then feathered a pass down the length of the ice for Perry, who deked past Alex Ovechkin and fired a shot that literally froze Michal Neuvirth, who replaced Semyon Varlamov after he gave up three goals on nine shots in the first period.

But just like in the first period, when the Ducks responded, the Capitals did, too. First, David Steckel scored his fifth goal of the season at 7:52 off of a nice feed from Boyd Gordon. As the energy line cycled, Gordon brought the puck from behind the net and sent a pass to Steckel in front. Steckel would chip it in past Curtis McElhinney.

Less than two minutes later, Alex Semin returned to the scoresheet for the first time since November 28 by finishing a 3-on-1 with Marcus Johansson and Ovechkin. Semin brought the puck into the zone and passed to Johansson, who fumbled the puck a bit, but was still able to corral it and send it back to Semin. Ovechkin got his stick on the puck just enough to find Semin free in front.

The Ducks responded yet again to retake the lead at 5-4 at 13:18. Lubomir Visnovsky's harmless wrist shot from the point ricocheted off of both Nicklas Backstrom and Jeff Schultz and over Neuvirth's shoulder.

The two teams have combined for nine goals on 37 shots with all nine goals coming from different players.

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Capitals Vs. Ducks: Wild First Period Ends With Ducks Holding 3-2 Lead

Early predicaments made it look like the Washington Capitals were headed for another disappointing start. The Caps battled back from an early deficit, but the Ducks snapped back even harder.

A back-and-forth first period finally ended with the Ducks holding a 3-2 lead.

Ryan Getzlaf opened the scoring at 4:10 on the power play. Jason Blake got a shot off right in front of the crease which was stopped by Semyon Varlamov. Blake remained in the crease as the puck bounced around and out to Getzlaf, who fired a low backhand that snuck by Varlamov.

Alex Ovechkin would make sure that the Caps wouldn't fall too far behind just 6:33 later on what Caps fans would classify as a classic Ovi goal. Nicklas Backstrom fed the puck to Ovechkin at the blueline, who then sprinted up ice. He would beat the initial defender, blow past Luca Sbisa and flick a wrist shot past Curtis McElhinney on one knee for his 22nd goal of the season.

Brooks Laich made it 2-1 at 16:07 thanks to a turnover from Teemu Selanne. Selanne sent an errant pass that Laich intercepted in the slot, giving him a wide-open lane to the net. Laich deked McElhinney and wristed a top-shelf goal over his blocker.

Selanne would redeem himself less than two minutes later by redirecting Saku Koivu's wrist shot and Toni Lydman gave the Ducks the lead again at 19:29 from a shot from the point that caught a screened Varlamov off guard.

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Capitals Vs. Ducks: Starting Lineup

Via Washington Post, below is tonight's starting lineup for the Washington Capitals as they prepare to face off against the Anaheim Ducks at Honda Center.

Forwards
Ovechkin-Backstrom-Knuble
Laich-Johansson-Semin
Chimera-Perreault-Bradley
Hendricks-Steckel-Gordon

Defense
Alzner-Carlson
Schultz-Hannan
Erskine-Sloan

Goal
Varlamov
Neuvirth

Scratches: Mike Green (inner-ear trauma), D.J. King and Patrick McNeill.

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Capitals Vs. Ducks: Caps Look To End Losing Skid By Going Duck Hunting

The Pacific Division has not been too kind to the Washington Capitals this season. In the fourth of five straight against said division, the Caps hope that the Anaheim Ducks will not prove mighty Wednesday.

Monday's 3-2 loss to the Phoenix Coyotes was yet another setback to the Western Conference for the Capitals, who have lost seven straight against the West and three overall. Washington is 0-3-0 during their recent five-game stretch against the Pacific Division, having been outscored 9-3 in the process. In fact, the Caps are the only team in the Eastern Conference without a win against the Pacific (0-4-1).

If the Caps need any sort of motivation, it can come in the form of revenge; the Ducks defeated the Caps 2-1 in overtime December 15, a loss that sent them to the seventh loss of their eight-game skid.

Defeating the Ducks won't be easy without Mike Green, whose status is uncertain after suffering from "inner ear trauma." Green is still feeling the effects of taking a puck to the head February 6 and sat out of Monday's game even after playing in last Saturday's 4-1 loss to the Los Angeles Kings. The Caps recalled Patrick McNeill from AHL Hershey as a precaution and he could make his NHL debut in Green's place if the latter cannot play.

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