Hurricanes vs. Capitals Preview

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - Alexander Semin snapped his longest goal drought of the season with another hat trick, and a visit from the Carolina Hurricanes isn't likely to slow him down.

Semin looks to power the league-leading Washington Capitals to a third consecutive victory over the Hurricanes as the Southeast Division rivals meet at Verizon Center on Sunday.

Semin is among the league leaders with 17 goals, and his 29 points are second on the Capitals (16-6-2) to Alex Ovechkin's 31.

Oddsmakers from online sports book have made the Capitals -224 money line favorites for Sunday's game against the Hurricanes. Current NHL Public Betting Information shows that 88% of more than 772 bets for this game have been placed on the Capitals -224.

The right wing, however, has done the majority of that damage at home, scoring 15 goals and 22 points to help Washington go 11-1-1 there.

He failed to get a point in two games against the Hurricanes (10-10-2), but both came in Carolina and still ended in Capitals wins - including a 3-2 victory Wednesday.

Semin's goal-scoring drought reached four games before he ended it with his third hat trick of the season in Friday's 6-0 win over Tampa Bay.

"He's an unbelievably skilled guy," said center Nicklas Backstrom, who assisted on two of Semin's goals against the Lightning and scored twice at Carolina on Wednesday. "I don't know if I've seen anyone more skilled than him, to be honest with you. He can shoot from every angle. That's pretty impressive. I'm just glad he's on our team."

With the Hurricanes visiting the nation's capital for the first time in 2010-11, Semin could be in for another big performance. His 23 goals in 31 games against the division foe are his highest production versus any opponent, and his 38 points tie his output against Tampa Bay.

Semin has 16 of those goals and 24 points in 16 home meetings with Carolina.

He may also benefit from the potential return of defenseman and two-time Norris Trophy finalist Mike Green.

Green has missed two games with an undisclosed injury, and is considered day-to-day. He has five goals and two assists in the last four games against the Hurricanes.

"He might," coach Bruce Boudreau told the team's official website of the possibility of Green returning. "There's a good chance. He came through practice pretty good (Saturday). We'll know (Sunday) when we have our 9 o'clock (a.m.) meeting on what the deal is."

The Hurricanes are looking to build on Friday's 3-0 win over Boston after dropping five of six (1-3-2).

Cam Ward will likely be in net for a second consecutive game after drawing inspiration from Wednesday's birth of his son to make 37 saves against the Bruins for his first shutout of the season.

"The last couple of days have been really amazing for myself," he said. "What a great way to start for him. I knew it was going to be his first one he would watch. I'm a very lucky young man. I'm very fortunate to have a lovely wife and (her) giving me a healthy boy."

Ward has lost four of his last six starts at Washington, posting a 3.28 goals-against average. He also made 30 saves in a 3-0 home loss Oct. 27, while getting beat twice by Backstrom.

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