Hurricanes-Capitals Preview

Alexander Semin snapped his longest goal drought of the season

with another hat trick, and a visit from the Carolina Hurricanes

isn’t likely to slow him down.

Semin looks to power the league-leading Washington Capitals to a

third consecutive victory over the Hurricanes as the Southeast

Division rivals meet at Verizon Center on Sunday.

Semin is among the league leaders with 17 goals, and his 29

points are second on the Capitals (16-6-2) to Alex Ovechkin’s

31.

The right wing, however, has done the majority of that damage at

home, scoring 15 goals and 22 points to help Washington go 11-1-1

there.

He failed to get a point in two games against the Hurricanes

(10-10-2), but both came in Carolina and still ended in Capitals

wins – including a 3-2 victory Wednesday.

Semin’s goal-scoring drought reached four games before he ended

it with his third hat trick of the season in Friday’s 6-0 win over

Tampa Bay.

“He’s an unbelievably skilled guy,” said center Nicklas

Backstrom, who assisted on two of Semin’s goals against the

Lightning and scored twice at Carolina on Wednesday. “I don’t know

if I’ve seen anyone more skilled than him, to be honest with you.

He can shoot from every angle. That’s pretty impressive. I’m just

glad he’s on our team.”

With the Hurricanes visiting the nation’s capital for the first

time in 2010-11, Semin could be in for another big performance. His

23 goals in 31 games against the division foe are his highest

production versus any opponent, and his 38 points tie his output

against Tampa Bay.

Semin has 16 of those goals and 24 points in 16 home meetings

with Carolina.

He may also benefit from the potential return of defenseman and

two-time Norris Trophy finalist Mike Green.

Green has missed two games with an undisclosed injury, and is

considered day-to-day. He has five goals and two assists in the

last four games against the Hurricanes.

“He might,” coach Bruce Boudreau told the team’s official

website of the possibility of Green returning. “There’s a good

chance. He came through practice pretty good (Saturday). We’ll know

(Sunday) when we have our 9 o’clock (a.m.) meeting on what the deal

is.”

The Hurricanes are looking to build on Friday’s 3-0 win over

Boston after dropping five of six (1-3-2).

Cam Ward will likely be in net for a second consecutive game

after drawing inspiration from Wednesday’s birth of his son to make

37 saves against the Bruins for his first shutout of the

season.

“The last couple of days have been really amazing for myself,”

he said. “What a great way to start for him. I knew it was going to

be his first one he would watch. I’m a very lucky young man. I’m

very fortunate to have a lovely wife and (her) giving me a healthy

boy.”

Ward has lost four of his last six starts at Washington, posting

a 3.28 goals-against average. He also made 30 saves in a 3-0 home

loss Oct. 27, while getting beat twice by Backstrom.