Alexander Semin was relieved that his teammates managed to kill off the boarding penalty he was assessed at the end of regulation in tonight’s 4-3 overtime win over the Hurricanes. But the Caps winger questioned whether he should have been in the penalty box at all.

“I don’t know, I don’t see the play,” he cracked in English before turning serious.

“It was penalty?” he asked, shrugging.

Semin laid a shoulder check on Carolina defenseman Bryan Allen, who went head first into the boards, as time expired. In the scrum that ensued, one of the Hurricanes grabbed Semin by the jersey, snapping his silver necklace and scratching his nose.

“I was going to shoulder to shoulder,” Semin said of the hit, switching to Russian, which was translated by Sport-Express reporter Slava Malamud. “But he was very far from the boards.”

Coach Bruce Boudreau said he thought the penalty might have been a make-up call. Earlier in the period, Carolina defenseman Joni Pitkanen was whistled for boarding Mike Knuble behind the Hurricanes’ goal.

“I’m sure they called it because it was similar to the one that they called on them,” Boudreau said. “But I don’t know if it’s as bad as that or not.”

What wasn’t up for debate, though, was the fact that Semin had an otherwise impressive performance. He finished with three shots on goal (four others were blocked or missed the net), was credited with a takeaway and scored the game’s prettiest goal.

The Caps were down 1-0 after a slow start when Semin saw an opportunity for a breakaway late in the second period. Hurricanes defenseman Tomas Kaberle got caught pinching and Semin raced into the neutral zone. Caps defenseman John Carlson hit Semin in full stride with a nice stretch pass from deep in the Washington zone.

“I saw that the defenseman went to the corner and the forward tried to cover up for him but he hit me and fell down,” Semin said in Russian. “So I saw the opening and went for it.”

As for Carlson’s pass?

“It was goooood,” Semin said, winking and switching back to English.