Power-play woes are nothing new for the Capitals, but Monday night brought a couple of man-advantage goals made possible by defensemen Dennis Wideman and Roman Hamrlik. That veteran pairing was together for much of the 3-1 victory over the Blue Jackets, a righty-lefty combination that Bruce Boudreau likes.
Wideman’s power-play goal was simply a result of getting a nice wrist shot through from the blue line. It banked in off Columbus defenseman Fedor Tyutin in front, and goaltender Curtis Sanford had no chance.
It wasn’t a prototypical power-play goal with sharp passing and puck movement, but beggars can’t be choosers. And Hamrlik and Wideman seem to be a nice combination at the points on the power play, too.
“I’m not really sure what they got planned for the power play,” Wideman said. “Obviously, we haven’t had our full lineup on the ice together yet. So far me and Hamr’s have been playing together on the power play. We’ll find that out as we get a little closer to the season.”
Wideman brings something similar to Mike Green and John Carlson in that he’s a right-handed shot with the ability to get the puck to the net. Hamrlik offers another dimension being a lefty shot.
“It’s a look we haven’t had before. It’s something that we really like,” Boudreau said. “That was one of the first things that I thought of when we got him was you got that left-handed guy that can help on the power play. And he’s so smart. He wasn’t the first overall for nothing. You could see the plays that he makes – he’s pretty sharp out there.”
Hamrlik’s prowess was on display for the second power-play goal as he waited out the defense before finding Mathieu Perreault wide open at the side of the net.
“[Hamrlik] knew the guy had no stick, he got him turned around,” Boudreau said. “He had options and he picked the right one and [the puck] was flat and Matty just had to put it in.”
The Caps’ third defensive pairing against Columbus could’ve been subtitled “Adventures with Dmitry Orlov.” The 20-year-old (working with Patrick McNeill) at times looked very much like a rookie, losing the puck in the defensive zone and being a bit out of position. But at other times he was quick and very effective jumping up into the play.
That’s just Orlov.
“No, I know what he can do. He’s just a risk and reward player,” Boudreau said. “One minute you’re going, ‘Wow,’ and the next minute you’re going ‘Woah.’ but the skill level on him – he’s young. This is only his second preseason game ever in the NHL. He’s going to learn like all the other guys do. He’ll gain it through experience.”