The Washington Times - November 13, 2011, 11:08AM

Just 3:06 into Saturday’s game, Alexander Semin was whistled for tripping. Again it was a stick penalty in the offensive zone, this time while the Capitals were on the power play.

After his brief shift out of the box, he took one more before going absent. It seemed to be an equipment problem, and Semin was back a bit later. Barring injury, he was going to be – because Bruce Boudreau said he’s not going to keep sitting Semin like he did for half the game Friday.

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“I thought he tried really hard. You’re not going to keep benching him and benching him and benching him,” Boudreau said after the 3-2 shootout loss. “He got a penalty early – he went for the puck. That wasn’t a lazy penalty.”

Boudreau went on to explain that his reasoning for benching Semin at the Devils on Friday went beyond penalties.

“You guys are getting the wrong impression: The penalties are part of why he didn’t play [Friday], but it wasn’t the whole reason,” the coach said. “He just wasn’t playing very well, and we wanted to win the game. So we went with what we thought were the nine best players at the time. Everybody assumes it’s because he took two penalties. He was still playing after he took the two penalties.”

Semin leads the Caps with 11 minor penalties in 15 games. That’s tied for fourth in the NHL. Reporters requested to speak to the winger Saturday night, but he did not come out to address either the American or Russian media.

He played 17:17 Saturday, a far cry from Friday when he was credited with 8:25 and actually played just 8:14.

Boudreau was complimentary of Semin’s performance in the second half of the home-and-home series.

“He takes one early, but the puck was going into the glove, he was chopping at the glove and ended up with the guy falling down,” Boudreau said. “I thought his effort overall, he tried really hard. He was engaged in the game.”

Semin had just one shot on net but an opportunity in the shootout that was stopped by New Jersey’s Johan Hedberg.

“It would’ve been nice if he had’ve scored in the shootout,” Boudreau said. “It would’ve been pretty good redemption for everything.”