On several occasions this season the Capitals have lost a defenseman mid-game and had to persevere. They did it again Tuesday night when the Hurricanes’ Tuomo Ruutu knocked Dennis Wideman out of the game in the second period.
Wideman, who limped to the bench, down the tunnel and did not return, was listed as day-to-day by Bruce Boudreau. He appeared to suffer a lower-body injury, but the coach did not reveal that.
“I haven’t really seen the replay yet,” Boudreau said following his team’s 3-2 shootout loss. “It looked like he fell and got hit, as far as I know.”
Wideman lost an edge in his defensive zone when Ruutu hit him cleanly, though the Caps defenseman was hit awkwardly and took a while to get to his feet. No penalty was assessed on the play, though Alex Ovechkin did go after Ruutu seconds later.
For the rest of the game, however, the Caps had to roll five defensemen. The pairings of Karl Alzner with John Carlson, Scott Hannan with John Erskine and Wideman with Jeff Schultz were disrupted and jumbled around because of Wideman’s injury.
The Caps didn’t want to make any excuses, but in a game where they were trying to match Carolina’s intensity it affected them.
“It’s a lot tougher when you’re up every other shift instead of every third shift,” Carlson said. “It’s just adjustments you have to make though; it’s gonna happen. It’s a hard game and people are gonna get hurt and people are gonna get bruised. It’s just how you fill in for them.”