The Capitals may not be atop the NHL in many statistical categories right now but one they are leading is goals scored during four-on-four play with seven.
In Saturday’s 4-2 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets, Washington recorded a pair of goals — one by Alexander Semin, another by Dennis Wideman — during a four-on-four when Dmitry Orlov and Grant Clitsome received matching minor penalties for roughing.
The extra space available on the ice during four-on-four play creates an advantage for the Capitals, particularly when they’re trying to push the agenda offensively. While they may not have an extra player available as an option, those on the ice have more room to work with, regardless of whether they’re trying to shoot or set up a teammate.
As Wideman skated the blueline in Columbus he had more time and space to decide where to dish the puck before he passed to Semin, who also was able to gain better positioning for his wrist shot that evened the score against the Blue Jackets.
“We’re a really good team four-on-four,” said Tomas Vokoun, who gets to watch the game play out in front of him. “We’ve got a lot of good skating forwards and mobile D so it’s been a strength for us all year long.”
While it’s not a situation the Capitals can count on, being able to take advantage of it is crucial – as the come-from-behind win against Columbus showed.
“We moved the puck around well and the four-on-four created the two goals,” Coach Dale Hunter said. “It’s big for us.”