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44 SOG
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game recap

Capitals 6, Panthers 2

Tuesday, 08.16.2011 / 5:15 AM

Associated Press

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Capitals 6, Panthers 2
Florida Panthers 2, Washington Capitals 6

WASHINGTON (AP) - Alexander Semin showed no rust following a lengthy injury absence, and the Washington Capitals demonstrated they are just as dangerous without Alex Ovechkin in the lineup.

Semin had two goals and two assists in his return from a right wrist injury and the Capitals hardly missed Ovechkin, their suspended superstar, in beating the Florida Panthers 6-2 on Thursday night for their fourth straight victory.

"We just go out and play as a team, that's the key word," Semin said through a translator. "Of course, it's bad that (Ovechkin) didn't play tonight, but what can you do? It was my first game after an injury and it's always difficult to play your first game after an injury. The team helped me a lot to get back to my game."

Asked whether he was surprised that Semin, who had missed the previous seven games with the injury, played so well in his return, Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau wisecracked: "He was well rested. He should have a lot of energy."

Ovechkin served the first of a two-game ban levied by the NHL following his ejection Monday for a knee-to-knee hit on Carolina's Tim Gleason. Some fans in the sellout crowd of 18,277 held signs reading "Free Alex."

Ovechkin will be eligible to rejoin the Capitals on Monday at Tampa Bay; the Capitals are 5-2-0 this season when he's not in the lineup.

"I think it shows we've got some depth," said Washington's Brendan Morrison, who had a goal and two assists. "Obviously, Ovie isn't in the lineup tonight, so it's a chance for other guys to step up and contribute. We got that tonight from several guys."

Tomas Fleischmann, Matt Bradley and Nicklas Backstrom also scored for Washington, which improved to 3-0-0 this season against the Panthers.

Stephen Weiss and Bryan Allen scored for Florida, which has lost six of seven. Weiss' team-high 12th goal with 3:22 left ruined Semyon Varlamov's shutout bid.

Varlamov is 6-0-2 in his last eight starts and 11-1-2 in 15 games this season.

Scott Clemmensen subbed for injured Florida goalie Tomas Vokoun for the second straight night, but was quickly pulled from the game. Vokoun was struck in the head by teammate Keith Ballad's stick on Monday and stitches were required to repair a gash in his left ear.

Florida allowed three power-play goals in 12 opportunities - two in the third period after Mike Duco was assessed 27 minutes in penalties and ejected - and failed to score on five man-advantage tries.

"It was undisciplined; we didn't play our system. When you are in the box for 30 minutes, you are not going to win many games," Florida's Bryan McCabe said. "With a power play like that, even without Ovechkin, they're still clicking around pretty good."

Semin and Fleischmann scored midway through the first for a 2-0 lead, sending Clemmensen to the bench in favor of backup Alexander Salak.

"(Semin) didn't miss a beat at all," Morrison said. "He got us going with an early goal, a beautiful goal - a toe drag and a great shot. Not too many guys can do that. It got us going on the bench."

At 10:34, Semin froze Clemmensen with a stutter-step in the right circle before flicking the puck past him for his 10th goal. A little over a minute later, Fleischmann scored from between the circles.

The quick outburst was the kind of start Boudreau was hoping for against the listless Panthers.

"I like the way we followed the game plan in the beginning," he said. "We thought they'd be tired and if we attacked them early and got them down, they might not have the strength to come back."

Bradley's short-handed tally made it 3-0 early in the second.

NOTES: Washington registered a season-high 44 shots and is 6-0-0 against Southeast Division opponents. ... Ovechkin has missed all three games against the Panthers this season, the first two while recovering from an upper-body injury in early November. ... Florida also scratched LW Kenndal McArdle (upper body injury). ... Washington D Shaone Morrisonn (concussion) missed his seventh straight game, while RW Mike Knuble (broken finger), C Boyd Gordon (back), LW Quintin Laing (broken jaw) and D Tom Poti (upper body) also sat out. ... Washington RW Eric Fehr has points in five straight games, a career high.

scoring summary
1st Period
10:34
WSH
Alexander Semin (10) Snap shot - ASST: Brooks Laich (14)
1 - 0 WSH
11:50
WSH
Tomas Fleischmann (8) Wrist shot - ASST: Eric Fehr (5), Brendan Morrison (12)
2 - 0 WSH
2nd Period
02:45
WSH
SHG - Matt Bradley (5) Snap shot - ASST: NONE
3 - 0 WSH
05:13
WSH
PPG - Nicklas Backstrom (7) Wrist shot - ASST: Alexander Semin (9), Brendan Morrison (13)
4 - 0 WSH
3rd Period
03:19
WSH
PPG - Brendan Morrison (9) Slapshot - ASST: Alexander Semin (10), Mike Green (23)
5 - 0 WSH
06:32
WSH
PPG - Alexander Semin (11) Wrist shot - ASST: Chris Clark (8), Brooks Laich (15)
6 - 0 WSH
16:38
FLA
Stephen Weiss (12) Wrist shot - ASST: Bryan McCabe (12)
6 - 1 WSH
17:21
FLA
Bryan Allen (2) Tip-in - ASST: Jeff Taffe (1), Dominic Moore (3)
6 - 2 WSH
penalty summary
1st Period
13:20
FLA
Bryan Allen  Slashing against  Alexandre Giroux
15:21
FLA
Bryan McCabe  Slashing against  Eric Fehr
2nd Period
01:41
WSH
John Erskine  Holding the stick against  Rostislav Olesz
03:27
FLA
Dmitry Kulikov  Hooking against  David Steckel
05:02
FLA
Gregory Campbell  Hi-sticking against  Mike Green
10:21
FLA
Stephen Weiss  Hooking against  Nicklas Backstrom
12:21
WSH
Brendan Morrison  Hooking against  Jeff Taffe
16:39
WSH
Karl Alzner  Hi-sticking against  Mike Duco
3rd Period
02:14
FLA
Mike Duco  Aggressor against  Alexandre Giroux
02:14
FLA
Mike Duco  Misconduct (10 min)
02:14
FLA
Mike Duco  Fighting (maj) against  Alexandre Giroux
02:14
FLA
Mike Duco  Instigator against  Alexandre Giroux
03:04
FLA
Bryan Allen  Elbowing against  Brooks Laich
04:24
WSH
Chris Clark  Hooking against  Bryan Allen
09:38
FLA
Bryan Allen  Boarding against  Mathieu Perreault
09:48
WSH
Tyler Sloan  Cross checking against  Keith Ballard
13:52
FLA
Gregory Campbell  Slashing against  Eric Fehr
17:45
WSH
Brian Pothier  Hi-sticking against  Jeff Taffe
goalie stats
Scott Clemmensen
SA: 11TOI: 11:50
Saves: 9EV: 9 - 11
PIM: 0PP: 0 - 0
SV%: .818SH: 0 - 0
Alexander Salak
SA: 33TOI: 48:07
Saves: 29EV: 15 - 15
PIM: 0PP: 10 - 13
SV%: .879SH: 4 - 5
Semyon Varlamov
SA: 28TOI: 59:44
Saves: 26EV: 16 - 18
PIM: 0PP: 8 - 8
SV%: .929SH: 2 - 2