The Washington Times - December 10, 2011, 09:19AM

Dennis Wideman had the puck in open ice on a five-on-three power play. He already had two goals in his pocket Friday night on blasts from the point that beat Maple Leafs goalie James Reimer.

So he shocked everyone in the arena when he wound up and dished it to Nicklas Backstrom on the doorstop instead. OK, surprised everyone but Backstrom.

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“No, not really, actually. I saw he was looking at me the whole time,” Backstrom said with a smile. “But it was a nice pass. I think he saved it first, so he knocked it in himself. I was a little lucky there, but that’s what we need.”

Wideman was on a roll all night and probably could have scored if he took the shot. At the end of the game he was credited with a hat trick but one the defenseman said should be taken away because the final shot caromed in off Brooks Laich.

“I had some opportunities [to clinch a hat trick],” Wideman admitted. “On the five-on-three when I got that pass in the slot, I was thinking I could maybe get one, and then I saw Nicky open on the back door, so I had to give it to him.”

Coach Dale Hunter said being a power-play quarterback is all about decisions and praised Wideman for making all the right ones in the Capitals’ win over Toronto.

The assist he earned on the Backstrom one was his most selfless play of the night.

“It was a pretty hard pass. I was thinking I was going to shoot it – but I kind of handcuffed myself that I couldn’t,” Wideman said. “I wasn’t going to get a lot of wood on it, and then I saw Nicky over there just standing on the back door, so I thought I better try to get it to him.”

It wound up in the back of the net anyway. Just kind of the way Wideman’s career night was going.

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