Hurricanes vs. Capitals preview: Alexander Semin returns to Washington

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Washington and Carolina will meet for the first time this season.

The Washington Capitals (6-10-1) will host the Carolina Hurricanes (9-7-1) at Verizon Center on Tuesday night.

It will mark the first of five meetings between the Southeast Division rivals this season.

Both clubs will be entering the night having played 17 games this season. That is where their similarities end, however, as the Hurricanes are tied with the Tampa Bay Lightning for the division lead (Carolina has a game in hand), while the Capitals are sitting at the bottom of the grouping.

Despite the team implications of the contest, the major storyline of the affair has revolved around the return of forward Alexander Semin to Washington for the first time since leaving via free agency last offseason. Originally chosen with the No. 13 overall selection in the 2003 NHL Draft by the Capitals, Semin played in 469 regular season games with the team before signing a one-year, $7 million contract with Carolina.

It's fitting that the Semin storyline has overshadowed the focus on the teams given that much of the framing has debated Semin's quality as a teammate.

Former teammate Troy Brouwer told the Washington Post that Semin was inconsistent and that he could be one of the best players on the ice when he wanted to be, stating that he was unsure whether Semin would come to play on any given night.

Current teammates Eric Staal and Tim Brent have come to Semin's aide by defending his quality as a member of the Hurricanes, with Brent stating via Twitter that he hopes Semin "sticks it to them."

Entering Tuesday night, Semin has recorded four goals and 10 assists for 14 points in 17 games this season.

The contest is scheduled to begin at 7 p.m. ET and will be televised on FS-CR and CSN-DC.

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