Lesson learned: Don’t split up the Ruskies.
You knew the plot already. Mike Knuble‘s return to active play had an ill portent for the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin (Please don’t call them the “Young Guns”) line. It turned out that Bruce Boudreau decided to demote the “lesser” Alexander to the second line with Morrison and Laich. (Russian Machine cannot abide.) After 30 lackluster minutes and a two-goal deficit, our esteemed coach must have noticed that Semin was unhappy and that Ovie’s line could not gain traction. Wisely, Boudreau restored the top line, The Care Bears (adorable, snuggly, have magical powers– get it???). Not 3 minutes later, Alexander Semin produced his first goal of the night. Cooperation among comrades!
Alexander would go on to score another before the 2nd period was out and would maintain a menacing presence in front of the Canes net all night. Semin was joined in goals by Tomas Fleischmann, who wisely took a shot rather than pass to Ovie; and Mike Green, whose overtime goal – which led the Caps to a 4-3 OT win over the Carolina Hurricanes – redeemed the shorty giveaway he made possible late in the third.