ANAHEIM CA - FEBRUARY 16: Alexander Semin #28 of the Washington Capitals celebrates his second goal of the game against the Anaheim Ducks in the third period at the Honda Center on February 16 2011 in Anaheim California. The Capitals defeated the Ducks 7-6. (Photo by Jeff Gross/Getty Images)

NHL Scores And More: Alex Semin's Fourth Hat Trick Of Season Gets Capitals Going

Alex Semin scored his fourth hat trick of the season as the Capitals came back to beat the Ducks. Elsewhere, the Devils kept their postseason dreams alive and the Kings won. Again.

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Capitals Vs. Ducks: Alex Semin Sheds The Drought, Paces Washington With Hat Trick

It was a tale of two streaking teams: the Anaheim Ducks, winners of eight of their last 10, and the Washington Capitals, losing ground in the Southeast Division seemingly daily. Alexander Semin changed all of that quickly on Wednesday night, however.

After scoring his first goal since late November, Semin exploded for two more as the Capitals several one-goal deficits and a two-goal deficit to frustrate Anaheim, 7-6. Semin's a vital cog in the Capitals' offensive attack, obviously. It's his fourth hat trick this season, but that just goes to show you how hot he was to start the year. If this game can be the propeller that kicks him into gear, the Capitals will certainly be thankful.

Washington was able to grab two important points in this one thanks to a return to their old style. They seemingly shedded their new-found defensive style and reverted to a bit of river hockey. Japers' Rink explains.

This wasn't one of those tight-checking, play-it-safe Canadian Percentage hockey games we've grown accustomed to seeing the past few weeks from the Caps. This was firewagon hockey, with 100-foot passes, blown assignments, crazy bounces, odd-man breaks and intense forechecking. While fans have clamored for the Caps to go back to this Run-n-Gun style, I am not sure the Caps have the right defensive personnel to play this type of game on a nightly basis.

As for the Ducks, they were without starting goaltender Jonas Hiller in this one. He sat out with lightheadedness and has been placed on the injured reserve. He'll miss at least three games. Curtis McElhinney made 24 saves in place of Hiller. Seymon Varlamov was pulled after allowed three goals on nine shots in the first. Michal Neuvirth made nine saves on 12 shots the rest of the way.


Hurricanes Vs. Devils: New Jersey Keeps Winning, Keeps Thinking Playoffs

In 2011, the New Jersey Devils have a better record than all but one team in the Eastern Conference. Unfortunately for them, this is the 2010-2011 season, and that first part wasn't all that hot for 'em.

They continued their resurgence and kept their playoff hopes alive with yet another win on Wednesday night, though, holding off a late charge by the Carolina Hurricanes to win 3-2. Ilya Kovalchuk scored for the Devils in the first period, followed by quick goals from Brian Rolston and Patrik Elias in the third period to give New Jersey a 3-0 lead. 

Then, Carolina turned on the jets. Sergei Samsonov scored with about 12 minutes left in the third and with an empty net late in the period, Tuomo Ruutu added another to cut the lead to 3-2. With just five seconds left, however, it was too late. Johan Hedberg was fantastic for the Devils, as SB Nation's In Lou We Trust alluded to.

The Devils began to look sloppy and if it wasn't for Johan Hedberg, the Devils could have been burned earlier.  That said, the Devils did keep Carolina a little honest late and only allowed one more late in a desparate attack by the visitors. 

I'm sure many fans are pleased with the win.  I think the result is fair. However, Jacques Lemaire should probably get on his team to play more complete periods.  Doing well for the first 7-9 minutes or so in each period isn't likely to lead to positive results against the Rangers on Friday or at Carolina on Saturday. 

New Jersey is still 12 points back of 8th place in the East, the spot currently occupied by Carolina. 


Kings Vs. Blue Jackets: Road Trip Continues To Treat Los Angeles Kindly

While one Los Angeles team was getting embarrassed in Ohio, the Kings were down in Columbus getting their shootout on. The final result? Another two points on a long East Coast trip that's been very good to them. With the 4-3 win over the Blue Jackets on Wednesday night, the Kings improved to 6-0-2 on their road trip so far, and they're 8-0-2 in their last 10 overall. 

That's a pretty good way to get yourself back into a comfortable position in the up-and-down Western Conference playoff picture. After falling to the abyss before the road trip, the Kings now sit in ninth place, just one point behind eighth place Calgary with three games in hand. 

L.A. probably should've had a hold of things in regulation, but the Jackets stole a point away thanks to Kris Russell's late third period heroics.


Flyers Vs. Panthers: Philadelphia Holds Off Third Period Florida Rally, Wins 4-2

Kris Versteeg picked up his first point as a member of the Philadelphia Flyers as the East leaders squeaked by the Florida Panthers with a 4-2 win. It was Cory Stillman's 1,000th NHL game, but rookie goaltender Sergei Bobrovsky bested him at least once on a pretty deflection that fooled the Flyers defense. 

Andreas Nodl, James van Riemsdyk and Mike Richards scored for Philadelphia, which is kind of ironic because they were broken up as a line partly due to Versteeg's addition and partly because they weren't putting points on the board. The trip gave the Flyers a 3-0 lead after two dominant periods, but on the second game of a back-to-back, it looked like their legs stopped working a bit.

Florida capitalized

Cue the final period, when goals by Rostislav Olesz (!) and David Booth (!!) provided a timely return to legitimate competition for a spell until Danny Briere capped the night with an empty-netter at the 19:22 mark. This was the classic fall-behind-early, fall-short-late comeback, with a twist: forward Marty Reasoner may well have launched his club's scoring with a mad scramble in Philadelphia's goalmouth.

Sergei Bobrovsky initially appeared to have foiled Reasoner's jam into the net, resulting in a no-goal call by on-ice officials. Off to the War Room we went, where the play was ultimately issued inconclusive, but a righthand overhead replay clearly showed "Bob" scooping the puck out of his net - and cleanly across the goal line - with his right leg. Whatever.    

Not enough. Danny Briere's empty netter sealed the deal late in the third. 

Elsewhere in the NHL...

Maple Leafs 2, Sabres 1: Dude, Joey Crabb.

Blackhawks 3, Wild 1: Mike Haviland's head coaching debut in the NHL didn't come the way he wanted it to come, with head coach Joel Quenneville in the hospital, but both guys will certainly be happy with the result. Chicago still trails Minnesota in the West by one point, but when you're on the outside looking in this late in the season, it all matters. The 'Hawks got a much-needed win Wednesday night.

Penguins 3, Avalanche 2: For all the chatter about the injury woes of the Pittsburgh Penguins and all the chatter of their demise, they remain only five points behind the first-place, rival Flyers. Then again, Colorado's not exactly the most impressive team in the NHL these days. 

Flames 4, Stars 2: Calgary won again. Dallas lost again. The teams are now tied. In December, the Flames were in 14th and the Stars were in 2nd. Oh, Western Conference. 

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