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At the Rink blog

Semin missed practice, expected to play Thursday

Wednesday, 03.21.2012 / 12:39 PM

By NHL.com Staff -  / At the Rink blog

Alexander Semin did not practice Wednesday for the Washington Capitals, but coach Dale Hunter told reporters that he is expected to play Thursday against the Philadelphia Flyers.

A team spokesman deemed Semin's absence a "maintenance day." Washington did not practice Tuesday, so Semin has not skated for two days.

Hunter did not name a goaltender for the team's contest Thursday at Wells Fargo Center. Tomas Vokoun has not dressed for the past two games because of a nagging lower-body injury and did not skate Wednesday. Michal Neuvirth started in a 5-2 loss to Chicago on Sunday, while Braden Holtby earned the nod in a 5-3 victory Monday against Detroit.

Top center Nicklas Backstrom also skated before practice, according to reports, as he continues his recovery from a concussion that has kept him out of the team's past 35 games.

The Capitals hold a two-point lead on Buffalo and a four-point advantage on Winnipeg for the eighth spot in the Eastern Conference. A win Thursday against the Flyers would move Washington within two points of seventh-place Ottawa with eight games to play.

I've been getting frustrated lately, and the only thing keeping me sane was the team winning and other people stepping up and scoring. Then you just kind of let it go and realize you can end the series with one shot, that frustration goes away for a brief moment, and that's what happened.

— Montreal forward Max Pacioretty after scoring the OT winner in Game 4 -- his first career playoff goal -- to eliminate the Lightning and send the Canadiens into the second round