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Thrashers Vs. Capitals: Alexander Semin's Hat Trick Fuels Capitals' Win

WASHINGTON, D.C. --   The Washington Capitals were in need of a win Saturday night at Verizon Center after suffering consecutive losses to the Boston Bruins earlier in the week. They got the win as well as some much needed good fortune.

Alexander Semin recorded his fourth career hat trick and Tomas Fleischmann pocketed the overtime winner as the Capitals snapped their two-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over Southeast division rival, the Atlanta Thrashers.

The win was the Capitals first of the season over the Thrashers after falling, 4-2, on opening night at Phillips Arena.

Fleischmann's goal came on a rebound of an Erich Fehr shot at 1:37 of the extra frame after the Thrashers tied the game with 33 seconds left in regulation.

"Any kind of win would've been the kind of win we needed," said Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau. "I thought it would've been a tough pill to swallow if we hadn't come away with points going on three tough road games next week."

Semin's hat trick, his first since Feb. 11, 2010 in a loss to the Ottawa Senators came after scoring just two goals through the first seven games of the season. Semin's first two tallies tied the game, and his third gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead with 6:32 remaining in regulation.

"I was just trying to get my stick on the puck and make sure it winds up in the net," said Semin. "How many times can you try to get around guys? I was just trying not to think about it and just shoot."

Added Boudreau, "He's played hard and the consistency has been there for sure.  Tonight he got rewarded for playing a good game."

Saturday night also saw the return of Mike Green, who has been out since Oct. 13 with an upper body injury. Green, though, was only used in power play situations which forced the Capitals to rotate Jeff Schultz, Tyler Sloan, Karl Alzner, John Erskine and John Carlson the entire game.

Three of the five finished with over 20 minutes of ice-time while Alzner finished with 19:22. Sloan finished with the least amount of ice-time at 16:28.

"All of our D-men are easy to play with," said Erskine. "We've been together for a long time so we know each other."

The game went scoreless for over 19 minutes as the Thrashers dictated the early play. Atlanta got on the board at the 19:02 mark of the first period on a power play goal from Andrew Ladd after Capitals netminder Michael Neuvirth had made a stick save on Anthony Stewart while lying on his back.

It is the second straight game the Capitals have allowed a power play goal with under a minute to go in the first period of a scoreless game.

The lead didn't last long, though, as Semin got on the board 38 seconds into the second period after Thrashers netminder Chris Mason's clearing pass went between the legs of Atlanta defensemen Tobias Enstrom right to Semin.

Semin fired a slap shot from the top of the right circle to tie the game at 1.

The Thrashers retook the lead four minutes later on a goal by Evander Kane, but controversy soon followed.

First, Green appeared to tie the game at 2 at 11:42, but the goal was disallowed after it was ruled Green had kicked the puck into the net. Replay showed that Green did infact redirect the puck with his foot, but the puck hit an Atlanta player before redirecting into the net.

"[The officials] came over and just said Toronto overruled it, but we thought it was a goal," said Boudreau.

Four minutes later, Dustin Byfuglien plowed into Neuvirth after being stopped on a semi-breakaway. Neuvirth went flying into the Capitals net, and lay on the ice for a few seconds, which prompted Erskine to charge at Byfuglien and start throwing punches.

Byfuglien received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging while Erskine received two-minutes for roughing. Erskine's minor limited the Capitals ensuing power play to just three minutes.

Boudreau said it looked like Byfuglien leaned in to hit Neuvirth, but was not unhappy with Erskine's actions saying he did the right thing by protecting his teammate.

Said Erskine, "I looked over and I saw [Neuvirth] down, so it looked to me like he was knocked out. I knew [Byfuglien] had done something, so I just took it and felt like I had to stick up for him."

Alexander Semin recorded his fourth career hat trick and Tomas Fleischmann pocketed the overtime winner as the Capitals snapped their two-game losing streak with a 4-3 win over Southeast division rival, the Atlanta Thrashers.

The win was the Capitals first of the season over the Thrashers after falling, 4-2, on opening night at Phillips Arena.

Fleischmann's goal came on a rebound of an Erich Fehr shot at 1:37 of the extra frame after the Thrashers tied the game with 33 seconds left in regulation.

"Any kind of win would've been the kind of win we needed," said Capitals Coach Bruce Boudreau. "I thought it would've been a tough pill to swallow if we hadn't come away with points going on three tough road games next week."

Semin's hat trick, his first since Feb. 11, 2010 in a loss to the Ottawa Senators came after scoring just two goals through the first seven games of the season. Semin's first two tallies tied the game, and his third gave the Capitals a 3-2 lead with 6:32 remaining in regulation.

"I was just trying to get my stick on the puck and make sure it winds up in the net," said Semin. "How many times can you try to get around guys? I was just trying not to think about it and just shoot."

Added Boudreau, "He's played hard and the consistency has been there for sure.  Tonight he got rewarded for playing a good game."

Saturday night also saw the return of Mike Green, who has been out since Oct. 13 with an upper body injury. Green, though, was only used in power play situations which forced the Capitals to rotate Jeff Schultz, Tyler Sloan, Karl Alzner, John Erskine and John Carlson the entire game.

Three of the five finished with over 20 minutes of ice-time while Alzner finished with 19:22. Sloan finished with the least amount of ice-time at 16:28.

"All of our D-men are easy to play with," said Erskine. "We've been together for a long time so we know each other."

The game went scoreless for over 19 minutes as the Thrashers dictated the early play. Atlanta got on the board at the 19:02 mark of the first period on a power play goal from Andrew Ladd after Capitals netminder Michael Neuvirth had made a stick save on Anthony Stewart while lying on his back.

It is the second straight game the Capitals have allowed a power play goal with under a minute to go in the first period of a scoreless game.

The lead didn't last long, though, as Semin got on the board 38 seconds into the second period after Thrashers netminder Chris Mason's clearing pass went between the legs of Atlanta defensemen Tobias Enstrom right to Semin.

Semin fired a slap shot from the top of the right circle to tie the game at 1.

The Thrashers retook the lead four minutes later on a goal by Evander Kane, but controversy soon followed.

First, Green appeared to tie the game at 2 at 11:42, but the goal was disallowed after it was ruled Green had kicked the puck into the net. Replay showed that Green did infact redirect the puck with his foot, but the puck hit an Atlanta player before redirecting into the net.

"[The officials] came over and just said Toronto overruled it, but we thought it was a goal," said Boudreau.

Four minutes later, Dustin Byfuglien plowed into Neuvirth after being stopped on a semi-breakaway. Neuvirth went flying into the Capitals net, and lay on the ice for a few seconds, which prompted Erskine to charge at Byfuglien and start throwing punches.

Byfuglien received a five-minute major and a game misconduct for charging while Erskine received two-minutes for roughing. Erskine's minor limited the Capitals ensuing power play to just three minutes.

Boudreau said it looked like Byfuglien leaned in to hit Neuvirth, but was not unhappy with Erskine's actions saying he did the right thing by protecting his teammate.

Said Erskine, "I looked over and I saw [Neuvirth] down, so it looked to me like he was knocked out. I knew [Byfuglien] had done something, so I just took it and felt like I had to stick up for him."