Reporting Sky Kerstein
Dennis Wideman’s first career hat trick, which stands as of now, helped lead the Caps to a 4-2 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Verizon Center. The Caps had four power play goals, for the first time since December 5th, 2009, and are now 7 for their last 60 on the power play. Also it’s the first time since 2006 a defenseman has had three power play goals in an NHL game.
“It was one of them nights where everything they shot went good,” Capitals Head Coach Dale Hunter said on the power play tonight.
The reason it might not stand is because Dennis Wideman thought his third goal went off of Brooks Laich and in. Very hard to tell from video reviews.
“I never had one before,” Wideman said following the win. Still haven’t had one [Wideman thinks it went off of Brooks Laich’s foot]. But, you know we were working it around pretty good.”
Nicklas Backstrom got the fourth goal for thew Capitals, which was set up when Wideman faked a shot and passed it to an open Backstrom who snuck it in from the side of the net.
“I had some opportunities on the 5-on-3 and I got that pass in the slot,” Wideman added. “I was thinking I could maybe get one, and then I saw Nicky [Nicklas Backstrom] open on the back door and I had to give it to him.”
The Caps went from 21st in the NHL on the power play to 12th with the four power play goals tonight and with all the struggles of the power play this season, Head Coach Dale Hunter was very happy with Wideman quarterbacking the unit tonight.
“Dennis [Wideman] is a smart player and he knows when to pass and when to shoot and he was bang on tonight with it,” Hunter said. “It’s all decisions to make for a good power play. You have to read the defense just like a quarterback does. So he shot some and he passed some, great decisions by him.”
Wideman ended up with three goals, one assist and a team high 25:47 of ice time. It is the first time Wideman has had a multiple goal game and he also received the “hard hat” from his teammates.
Alex Ovechkin had another great game, he got stopped on some open shots, but led the team with eight shots on goal, 12 shots total, and had one assist on the night in 20:42 of ice time. Brooks Laich also had a solid game with an assist on the night and he also gave Wideman some motivational advice after the first period.
“We were going to take a leak and I told him, ‘Don’t stop at one Dennis.’ And he goes, ‘No I don’t plan on it.’”
Tomas Vokoun had 26 saves on the night and said his game was, “pretty good.”
Former Capitals and current Maple Leafs Head Coach Ron Wilson coached Dale Hunter for a season in a half in Washington. Wilson wasn’t too happy with the Leafs effort tonight.
“Five-on-five, I thought we controlled, and at times, dominated the game,” Wilson said. “We didn’t have much puck-luck the way some of the things bounced around the net but bad penalties, undisciplined penalties did us in tonight, simple as that.”
The Caps, winners of two in a row and three of their last four, now have three days before they host the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday to end a quick two game home stand and the players will have one day off and two days of practice during that time.
“We’ve been playing a lot of hockey though,” Hunter said. “I think the guys need three days off, it’s been every other day for eight, nine days I guess or something like that, so it’s a lot of hockey and not much practice time.”
1st 12:33 PP Wideman (4), Knuble (6), Backstrom (20)
2nd 1:49 PP Wideman (5), Ovechkin (12), Laich (12)
2nd 18:50 PP Backstrom (11), Wideman (13), Semin (6)
3rd 18:41 PP Wideman (6), Carlson (15), Backstrom (21)
Check out what Dale Hunter, Dennis Wideman, Nicklas Backstrom, Brooks Laich & Tomas Vokoun had to say following the win.
Locker Room Video (Nicklas Backstrom & Dennis Wideman)
Dale Hunter Postgame Video
Dale Hunter Postgame Audio
Dennis Wideman Postgame Audio
Nicklas Backstrom Postgame Audio
Brooks Laich Postgame Audio
Tomas Vokoun Postgame Audio