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Playoff Hockey Wins Two Games in Florida

By Rodger M. WoodBraden HoltbyDisplaying a patient, dump the puck, four – line balanced attack and good defensive playoff hockey on the road the past two nights, the Caps beat Florida 3-2 and Tampa Bay 2-1 to take sole possession of first place in the Southeast Division.When the Caps found themselves down a goal early in the first period at Florida, assisted by line mates Alex O and Mike Knuble, Niklaus Backstrom tied the score on a mighty slap shot at 17:16 mark of the first period.Midway through the second period, on a sweet backhanded shot from in front of the net, Boyd Gordon beat Panthers goalie Scott Clemmensen to put the Caps ahead 2-1.The Caps kept the lead until Panthers forward, David Booth, on a 5 on 3 advantage at 17:24 of the third period, scored the 2-2 equalizer.Alexander SeminPlaying like a man possessed, Alexander Semin, assisted by Karl Alzner and Marcus Johanssen, slapped the game winner in at only 43 seconds into overtime.Off a faceoff, Sean Bergenheim put the Lightning ahead 1-0 at the 12:30 mark of the first period at Tampa.The game stayed 1-0 until again Semin, assisted by Ovie and defenseman Dennis Widemann, tied the game at 14:28 mark of the third period.Regulation and overtime ended in a 1-1 tie and it took Alex O’s dramatics to win the overtime shoot out, when he put the sole goal past Lightning net minder Duane Roloson, who had shutout the Caps in two previous outing this season.Replacing Michal Nevirth at the start of the second period, #1 star of the game, Caps backup goaltender Braden Holtby sensationally stopped all 21 Stamkos, Lecavalier, St. Louis, and other Lightning sharpshooters shots in two periods of regulation, overtime, and the shootout.Without a doubt, the 21-year old goaltender played like a #1 NHL goalie, if Varlamov or Neuvirth were out of the lineup for any time.Plus the youngster looked like a pro and was more articulate than most athletes and politicians I’ve seen in the Versus interview after the game.Versus Ed Olyck commented last night, it was the best he has ever seen Caps forward Alexander Semin play. The Caps forward proved his worth, scoring his winning 23rd goal of the season in overtime at Florida, and 24th tying goal in the third period of the Tampa game.Hit in the face-mask by the slap shot, Neuvirth and injuring a finger, Backstrom both left the Tampa game, but Coach Boudreau announced after the game, both players were held out only for precaution and are all right.Forward Eric Fehr’s shoulder is healthy again and is ready for duty.The Caps return home to the Verizon Center Wednesday against the Edmonton Oilers.

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Finding His Game, Alex Semin Helps Avert A Lightning Strike

Alex Semin

Alex Semin powers down the ice earlier in the season against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

“Semin was the best player on the ice sheet last night, and his game-tying goal late in the final frame seemed in its virtuosity and swagger to assure the Caps of leaving town with two points. The Capitals are a vastly different looking hockey club when Sasha skates with swagger.” OnFrozenBlog.com

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Caps Deadline Acquisitions Pay Early Dividends

By Rodger M. WoodDennis WidemanVeteran acquisitions at the trade deadline, Jason Arnott, Dennis Widemann, and Marco Sturm ignited the Caps in home wins against the Islanders and Blues last week and the Caps appeared to be headed in the right direction for the playoffs.The Caps were trailing the Islanders 1-0 at the 19:12 mark of the third period, when Jason Arnott passed the puck out to line mate, Brook Laich, who buried it in the net for the tying 1-1 goal.Two minutes later in the overtime, given a chance to win the game, Alex O.fought past Islanders forward Fran Nielsen to score a highlight game winning 2-1 goal.Starting to take hold as the Caps #1 goalie, Michal Neuvirth kept the Caps in the game, stopping 28 of 29 shots, many from point blank range.While he lost, Islanders goalie Nathan Lawson was also sensational in the nets, stopping 40 of 42 shots and truly deserving better than an overtime loss.Thursday night against the Blues, the Caps battled back from behind twice to win3-2. Scoring his first goal in 118 games, stay at home defenseman, Scott Hannan, tied the score up at 1-1 at the 3:08 mark of the second period.Three minutes later, Niklaus Backstrom tied the game up a second time, 2-2 before, Arnott rifled the game winner past Lawson at the 14:41 mark of the third period.The new players are helping in other ways. Center Arnott has made the second line a potent force. As a role model of disciplined play, he is making line mates Alexander Semin and Brooks Laich better players. Coach Boudeau is starting to station 6-5, 250 Arnott in front of the net with Ovie and Semin in must score situations.He showed veteran leadership on the bench and ice, talking vociferously to teammates. With him on the ice, the Islanders and Blues had trouble shutting down both Caps top lines.Arnott, and Sturm also give the Caps four solid lines. The Johanssen, Chimera, and Sturm line created opportunity after opportunity with their speed in both games. In his first time on the ice for the Capitals against the Islanders, Sturm missed an open net goal opportunity.The fighting line of Matt Bradley, Matt Hendricks, and Boyd Gordon played tough both games. Hendricks checked the puck free for Hannan’s goal in the Islanders game and Bradley beat the pee pee out of Tyson Strachan in the Blues game to open up and spark the Caps’ in the Blues game.Defenseman, Dennis Widemann led the Caps in ice time with 22.12 In the Blues game. He moved the puck well, took three shots, and replacing right handed point man, Mike Green helped to make the power play move the puck and look sharp again.Bookmark and Share

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Caps Score Big At The Trade Deadline

By Rodger M. WoodDennis WidemanVP/GM George McPhee announced at the 3 PM trade deadline today that the Capitals acquired veteran center Jason Arnott from the New Jersey Devils, and defenseman, Dennis Wideman from the Florida Panthers in moves, which could very well fill the team’s two biggest holes in the lineup well before the April playoffs.The 6-5, 220 Arnott is a 16-year veteran, who scored the goal in double overtime, that won New Jersey the Stanley Cup in 2000. He scored 369 goals, 501 assists in 1,161 games and was an all star center in 1997 and 2008. He scored 30 goals, and 36 assists in 106 playoff games. This season he has 13 goals and 11 assists in 62 games. As a former Devils team captain, he’ll add a strong veteran presence to the Caps dressing room. Popular Caps player David Steckel and a 2012 2nd round draft pick were traded for Arnott.MG 48876-0, 200, Defenseman Dennis Wideman is a two way defenseman, who can play the blue line and be the right handed point shot the Caps need on a slumping power play. He scored 9 goals and 24 assists this season, and in a 7-year NHL 439 GP, 55 goals and 143 assists. McPhee said the book on Wideman is he’d take a puck to the jaw, if it would helphis team win. The Caps traded prospect center Jake Hauswirth, and a 2012 3rd round pick for Wideman.

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