Washington, DC (Sports Network) – Alexander Semin notched his third hat trick of the season and Semyon Varlamov stopped 17 shots to post his first shutout of the year, as Washington dominated Tampa Bay, 6-0, at Verizon Center.
John Carlson, John Erskine and Tom Poti also lit the lamp for the Capitals, who own the best record in the NHL outright at 16-6-2 thanks to their second straight win.
Washington moved one point ahead of Philadelphia (15-6-3), which earned a point in a shootout loss to Calgary earlier Friday.
Mike Smith got the start and the loss after yielding four goals on 18 shots for the Lightning, who saw their five-game win streak halted and were shut out for the first time since November 4 at Los Angeles.
Erskine pushed Washington’s advantage to 2-0 on a heavy point drive 4:38 into the second period, then Semin singlehandedly gave the Caps control of the game.
He started by one-timing a Marcus Johansson feed from the left circle at 6:52 to make it a three-goal advantage.
Semin struck once more at 8:56 on a Capitals power play by hammering a pass from Nicklas Backstrom, then completed his trifecta on another perfect shot on a 5-on-3 from along the goal line to the left of Ellis at 11:21.
Poti’s goal, a soft wrister that squeezed between Ellis’ arm and body, came with 5:14 left in regulation.
Carlson’s blistering slapper from the right point gave the Caps a 1-0 edge just 3:09 into the game. Johansson had won a right-circle draw seconds before and slid the puck back to the point for a waiting Carlson.
Semin also posted three-goal games on October 23 against Atlanta and November 11 against Tampa Bay…Washington allowed just four first-period shots to Tampa Bay, second-fewest in any period since giving up three to Boston in the opening 20 minutes on November 5…The Capitals have won 11 of 13 home games over the Lightning since March, 2007…Johansson, Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin each recorded a pair of assists…Capitals forward Mike Knuble returned after missing three games with a broken jaw.
11/26 20:35:45 ET