for this game

Wideman's hat trick lifts Caps past Leafs

Dec 10, 2011 - 3:57 AM
Washington, DC (Sports Network) - Dennis Wideman notched his first career hat trick and added an assist as the Washington Capitals took a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs at Verizon Center.

Nicklas Backstrom had a goal and two assists for the Capitals, who have won two straight for the first time under new head coach Dale Hunter. Tomas Vokoun stopped 26 shots in the win.

It was all power-play goals for Washington as the team went 4-for-6 on the man advantage.

"We took the shots when we were there and set things up really well," said Hunter. "We work on the power play a lot in practice and it pays off when you do."

Cody Franson and Phil Kessel scored for the Maple Leafs, who have lost four of their last five games. James Reimer gave up all four goals on 25 shots.

"For the most part I thought we outplayed them tonight," said Reimer. "But we gave them some power plays and they took advantage of them."

Toronto made it a 3-2 game with 6:44 to play as Franson kept the puck in at the right point and in one motion threw it on net with the disc sailing past a screened Vokoun.

However, Joey Crabb was called for high-sticking with 2:14 to play and Wideman scored less than a minute later when his one-time blast from the left circle went through a screen to cap the hat trick.

It was the first hat trick for a Washington defenseman since Sergei Gonchar accomplished the feat for the team on January 14, 2000 against Montreal.

The Caps got on the board 12:33 into the first when Wideman's wrist shot from the right circle found the back of the net.

Skating on the power play early in the second, Wideman's slap shot from the high slot got past Vokoun.

Kessel scored his 18th goal of the year at the 12:52 mark of the second when he stuffed home a loose puck from the right side to make it a 2-1 game.

Backstrom, though, got it back with 1:10 to play in the second on a 5-on-3 advantage. Wideman's pass from the right circle went to the low left side where Backstrom was able to get enough on it to get it past Reimer.

Game Notes

Kessel is tied with Ottawa's Milan Michalek for the NHL lead in goals and with 36 points is one behind Philly's Claude Giroux for the lead in points...Toronto was 0-for-2 on the power play...Toronto plays in Carolina on Tuesday...Washington hosts the Flyers on Tuesday...Toronto took a 7-1 decision at home against the Capitals on Nov. 19.