The Washington Times - December 20, 2009, 02:13AM

So Alex Ovechkin and Alexander Semin were the last two members of the Washington Capitals on the ice for the third period. As it turns out, coach Bruce Boudreau had just given it to his team during the second intermission pretty good.

They — well, Ovechkin (more on that in a minute) — put on quite a show in the final 20 minutes here to best the Edmonton Oilers.


“It was one of those things where Bruce comes in and inspires us and Alex is our leader,” Mike Green said. “When he brings it, we follow. Alex raised everybody up tonight.”

Boudreau said he challenged the Ovechkin-Backstrom-Semin trio, and then put them on the ice to start the period (Brooks Laich’s line started the first two) for them to show him.

Ovechkin scored in 32 seconds.

“The reason [Ovechkin] is the best player on the planet is he’s totally old school. Instead of saying, ‘Oh, woe is my. Why is the coach yelling at me?’ He took up the challenge and said, ‘I’ll show you.’ “

Ovechkin attempted 14 shots in the third period. The ENTIRE Edmonton team attempted 18.

Now, about what Boudreau just said. Ovechkin was other-wordly in the third period. Backstrom was great. As for Mr. Semin, um, yeah — more of the same from the first two periods, which is to say he was pretty much invisible.

There are plenty of Caps fans who love Semin (and there are those that don’t). There is no doubting his sensational talent. The question is not “Is Alexander Semin a great player?” The REAL question is “Should a team with Stanley Cup aspirations feel comfortable with giving Alexander Semin a $30 million contract?” 

Nights like tonight are not going helping his cause on that front.

A couple of other quick notes before it is time for one last (hopefully) night of rest on this road trip.

* Nicklas Backstrom has eight goals in nine games. His 12 goals are only two behind Semin and Tomas Fleischamnn for second on the team.

* Speaking of Fleischmann, he’s got 14 in 25 games now. Book him a ticket back to Vancouver in two months.

Flesichmann was also a bit of a soothsayer on this night.

“Fleischmann] comes up to me after the second and he goes, ‘Don’t worry about it — we are going to win this game.’ And then he did it — it is amazing,” Michal Neuvirth said.

* Speaking of Neuvirth. it is tough to fault him on either of the goals he allowed and he stopped the other 26 shots on net. Bruce Boudreau pointed out that Neuvirth did a great job controlling his rebounds and covering up pucks for faceoffs. The Caps won 58 percent, so Neuvirth was helping his team gain possession of the puck in many of those instances.

* These Caps are the fastest team to 50 points in club history. If this matters that much to you, send a fruit basket to Gary Bettman for those points from overtime losses and shootout wins that weren’t available until recently.