Semin's goal lifts Capitals to shootout win

The Associated Press
Tuesday, March 22, 2011; 11:04 PM

PHILADELPHIA -- One Alex was all the Washington Capitals needed.

Alexander Semin's shootout goal lifted the Capitals to a 5-4 victory over Philadelphia on Tuesday night and pulled them within one point of the first-place Flyers in the Eastern Conference.

Playing without ailing star forward Alex Ovechkin for the first time this season, the Capitals showed their resilience after wasting a 3-0 lead.

"The important part for us, is that a team came back, scores four goals and takes a lead on us. But we battled back, and obviously, we did great in the shootout," Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau said. "But it was important for us to show the where-with-all to come back. When you believe you can win, you can do a lot of things."

The Flyers maintained the edge in the East by earning a point for going into overtime. Philadelphia has two more games remaining (10-8) than the Caps.

Semin beat Brian Boucher with a nifty move and backhanded a shot into the top corner for the winner.

Ville Leino, whose shootout goal gave the Flyers a victory at Dallas on Saturday night, scored on the first shot. Matt Hendricks answered for the Capitals.

Claude Giroux was next and he couldn't get a shot off on Michal Neuvirth. Nicklas Backstrom then beat Boucher. Danny Briere kept the Flyers alive when he scored, but Semin ended it.

"We were a little bit lucky there," Backstrom said. "They definitely came out harder in the second and third period, and we weren't ready for it. But both teams knew how important this game was, and we turned it around there eventually."

Ovechkin, who leads the Capitals with 77 points, was shut down on Monday for seven to 10 days with an undisclosed injury.

For a while, it didn't seem to matter.

Backstrom, Mike Knuble, Dennis Wideman and Marcus Johansson scored for Washington, which has won 13 of 15.

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