Sun, Dec 11, 2011 - Page 19 News List

NHL: Washington capitalize on power plays to top Leafs

TOTAL EFFORT:Capitals defenseman Dennis Wideman scored a goal in each period and also assisted on Nicklas Backstom’s second-period goal to finish with four points

Reuters and AP, Washington

The Washington Capitals’ Alex Ovechkin, left, fires a shot that is stopped by the Toronto Maple Leafs‘ James Reimer, right, during their game in Washington on Friday.

Photo: AFP

Washington defenseman Dennis Wideman scored three power-play goals to record his first NHL hat-trick and lead the Capitals to a 4-2 win over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Friday.

The Capitals scored all four of their goals with the man-advantage and have won three of their past four games. Toronto have allowed six power-play goals in their past two games and have lost four of their past five.

“Dennis is a smart player and he knows when to pass and when to shoot and he was bang on tonight with it,” Capitals coach Dale Hunter told reporters. “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 scored in each period and assisted on Nicklas Backstrom’s second-period goal, while the Capitals enjoyed a two-man advantage, to finish with four points.

A Maple Leafs penalty awakened the Capitals, who had registered just one shot through the first 12 minutes. Wideman scored on Washington’s second shot, finding the top corner after corralling a hard pass from Mike Knuble.

Phil Kessel scored his 18th goal of the season in the second period to move into a tie for the league lead, while Cody Franson added Toronto’s second with six minutes left in the third period.

“Five-on-five I thought we controlled and at times dominated the game,” Maple Leafs coach Ron Wilson said. “We didn’t have much puck luck the way some things bounced around the net. Bad penalties, undisciplined penalties did us in tonight, simple as that.”

SABRES 2, PANTHERS 1, OT

In Buffalo, New York, Jason Pominville scored 2 minutes, 19 seconds into overtime, while Ryan Miller finished with 22 saves to lift Buffalo over Florida.

Derek Roy also scored for the Sabres (15-11-2), who won for just the third time in their past nine games (3-4-2). Buffalo also won for only the second time in their past eight home games.

Jason Garrison scored, while Scott Clemmensen finished with 18 saves for the Panthers (16-8-5), who failed to win their fourth straight for the first time since March 2008.

Pominville notched the winner with a wrist shot on a breakaway from the blue line.

In other games, it was:

‧ Jets 4, Hurricanes 2

‧ Oilers 4, Avalanche 1

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