While it’s uncertain if Alexander Semin will play a game on the fourth line or if his demotion in Sunday’s practice was simply a wakeup call for the winger, Coach Dale Hunter made it clear that he doesn’t want the Capitals taking retaliatory penalties.
Semin was whistled for two minor penalties in Game 1: a slash in the first period that negated a Washington power play and a trip in the third period as the visitors tried to build momentum in a then-tied contest.
Hunter attributed the trip to Semin trying to play the puck and hitting a skate instead but as for the slash, which was drawn by Rangers captain Ryan Callahan, the coach said the Russian winger didn’t control his reaction to being cross checked earlier on the play.
“Both of them should have went, it was a cross check [by Callahan] originally,” Hunter said. “You just can’t retaliate. [The referee] called one, he could have easily called two.”
“You know something, you just can’t do it,” Hunter added. “It’s up to the referees, it’s his call. It’s one of those things, he did get cross-checked but that’s the way hockey is. You have to be smart on the ice.”
Moving Semin to the fourth line at this point might be counterproductive as the Capitals look to get their star players going in the series, so it wouldn’t be too shocking to see him back in his usual spot for Game 2.
While he did have the penalties, Semin led the Capitals in shots on goal with three, including one wicked wrister on a power play in the second period that forced Henrik Lundquist to make a save with his arm.
Asked what he wants to see more of from Semin, who recorded two of his three first-round goals on the power play, Hunter said he wants to see the winger ignite Washington’s man advantage again.
“We expect him to get the power play going,” Hunter said.
More on the Capitals:
— Holtby’s Game 1 peformance puts Caps in bad spot
— Graphic: Track every Caps shot in the postseason
— Semin demoted to fourth line in practice
— Game 1: Caps surrender upper hand to Rangers, 3-1
— The mistakes that led to Kreider’s goal in Game 1
— Jenkins: Game 1 turns quickly for Washington
— Chris Kreider is the toast of New York