It was a frantic shift inside the Columbus zone early in the third period as the Capitals began to press for a potential comeback. Alex Ovechkin had already taken two shots on goal on the scrambling shift when Dennis Wideman gained possession of the puck a few feet inside the blueline on the right point.
The defenseman saw Ovechkin in the left wing’s favorite spot for a one timer, near the slot in the left faceoff circle, and Wideman sent a slap-pass directly to him. Ovechkin fired for Washington’s first goal of the game to begin the four-goal, third period comeback against the Blue Jackets Saturday night.
“He played great tonight,” Ovechkin said of Wideman. “What he did in the third period, pass to me, pass to Sasha, was amazing. He scores goal — game winning goal — couple of assists, it was beautiful.”
On the official scoresheet, however, Wideman did not receive an assist on the play and the tally was recorded unassisted.
Once the four-on-four began just under six minutes into the frame, Wideman had more space to work with. He popped out looking for a play to make and was skating along the blueline when he saw Alexander Semin on the left wing boards. Semin received the pass, worked his way to center ice and fired to make it 2-2.
Twenty-eight seconds later, Wideman added his own tally after Marcus Johansson gave him the puck as they rushed up ice. His shot ultimately went off Blue Jackets defenseman Aaron Johnson, but it found its way past goaltender Steve Mason all the same.
“I was just going down the wing, Marcus fed it over to me, I looked up and I had quite a bit of space so I just took it and I was thinking shot the whole way,” Wideman said. “I think I got a little help from either their forward or their D tipped it up in the corner for me, that was a little bit of a break there.”
It was Wideman’s first goal in nine games and his first multi-point game since Dec. 9 against Toronto, when he recorded a pair of goals and assists. The surge from the defenseman came just at the right time too, as Washington has been looking to string wins together in an effort to get back on track in the Eastern Conference standings. The win against Columbus gave the Capitals their longest winning streak since they reeled off seven victories to start the year.
“For awhile here we were going win one, win two lose a couple we were going back and forth,” Wideman said. “We needed to string some together, the top teams are starting to pull away from us and we’re getting into that time of year where you need to crank it up and start running some wins together to try to get back up there were we need to be.”