The frustration finally boiled over for the Washington Capitals Saturday night at the Verizon Center, as the Colorado Avalanche sent them to their fifth straight loss by a score of 3-2.
It all was too much to bear for winger Alexander Semin, who was sent for an early shower at 6:07 of the second period after cross-checking John-Michael Liles well after the whistle had blown for a save by Avalanche goaltender Craig Anderson. Semin was given a five-minute major penalty for cross-checking as well as a game misconduct, which resulted in his automatic ejection. The misconduct also opens Semin up to a possible suspension, which could be announced by the National Hockey League sometime before Sunday's game against the New York Rangers.
At the time, the Capitals were trailing 2-1, but soon fell further behind as the visitors cashed in on the resulting five-minute power play. Kevin Shattenkirk sent over a beautiful pass from the half-boards to a wide-open Paul Stasny, who tapped into a wide-open net to give Colorado a 3-1 lead at 9:53 of the second. That goal would ultimately prove to be the winner.
The Avalanche took the very early lead on a soft goal allowed by Michal Neuvirth at 2:14 of the first period, as Shattenkirk's shot from along the goal line went off Neuvirth's right pad and in the net to give Colorado a 1-0 lead. The Capitals equalized at 9:45 of the first as Anderson couldn't corral a shot by Alexander Ovechkin and Mike Knuble was on the spot to bat the puck out of thin air and into the net for his 250th NHL goal.
But Colorado retook the lead at 18:39 of the first period as defender Tom Poti was caught out of position and allowed a streaking Ryan Wilson to take a pass from Stasny and fire a wrist shot past Neuvirth to give the Avalanche a 2-1 lead.
Matters seemed bleak for the Caps after Semin's moment of madness, but Matt Hendricks's pretty backhanded, between-the-legs goal at 4:30 of the third period while former Capital Tomas Fleischmann was in the penalty box for slashing kept the fans and players engaged. However, the Capitals couldn't make a breakthrough against Anderson and a determined Colorado team, which blocked 27 Washington shots.