Washington Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman did something no other Caps defenseman had done since Sergei Gonchar in 2000 to lift the Capitals to their second straight win, a payback 4-2 defeat over the Toronto Maple Leafs. The win evened the record of Dale Hunter as the new Caps bench boss at 3-3.
All four Capitals tallies came on a resurgent power play. Overall, the Capitals were a strong 4 for 6 on the power play. All three Dennis Wideman goals came on special teams, the first coming in the first period at the 12:33 mark. Wideman's wrister was assisted by Nicklas Backstrom and Mike Knuble. Despite being out shot 8-6 in the first period, the Caps would take a 1-0 lead into the first period intermission.
Wideman added his second goal of the game just 1:49 into the second period with a slap shot on the Caps power play. Alex Ovechkin and Brooks Laich added helpers. After Phil Kessell pulled the Leafs to within 1, Nicklas Backstrom took a pass from Wideman and gave the Caps a 3-1 lead. The assist was Wideman's 3rd point of the night on an overall 4 point night. The Caps and Leafs evened out on shots on net at 12-12, but the Caps headed into the second intermission with a 3-1 lead.
Cody Franson pulled the Leafs to within 1 nearly three minutes over the half way mark of the fourth period. That would last about 5 minutes when Wideman struck again to complete his first career hat trick and ice the game for the Capitals. The slapper was assisted by John Carlson and Backstrom.
Congrats to Dennis Wideman on his first career hat trick and a four point night. Wideman factored into every goal for the Caps tonight. Caps net minder Tomas Vokoun stopped 26 of 28 shots to earn his 12th win of the season. The win improves the Capitals to 15-12-1. Again, another encouraging win for the Capitals as they looked more and more comfortable in the Dale Hunter defensive system. Tonight was the turning of a new page. After struggling most of the season in the power play, the 4 for 6 effort could be a spark of confidence to give long standing fuel to the Caps power play.
Ice Tim Leaders:
Dennis Wideman, 25:47
John Carlson, 25:28
Karl Alzner, 22:31
Multi Point Scorers:
Dennis Wideman, 3 goals, 1 assist
Nicklas Backstrom, 1 goal, 2 assists