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Caps sign Wilson to 3-year deal

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Caps sign Wilson to 3-year deal

The Capitals have signed first-round draft pick Tom Wilson to a three-year, 2.5 million entry-level contract, general manager George McPhee announced today.

Wilson will earn 832,500 at the NHL level and 70,000 at the AHL level, with bonuses. Last week the Caps signed first-round draft pick Filip Forsberg, taken 11th overall, to an identical deal.

Taken 16th overall in the 2012 NHL draft, Wilson is a 6-foot-4, 203-pound power forward who impressed the Capitals' scouts with his heavy body checks at least week's development camp.

"He is what we were looking for when we drafted him," McPhee said. "He's a big, strong kid who really competes.

"Boy, the first three or four shifts of the opening scrimmage I was worried that if he did that all week we'd have only two or three players left on the ice. We got him to settle down and protect everybody else for the rest of the week. We like him a lot. Great kid, great character and he's going to be a pretty effective player."

Forsberg is expected to play in Sweden next season, while Wilson is expected to return to the Plymoputh Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League.

"When they play is sort of up to them," McPhee said. "We're not going to put them in over their heads. We're going to develop them right.

"A guy like Wilson, we know he's big and strong and tough, but we really want to develop him to be a top player. Sometimes if you throw them into the NHL too early they become survivors.

"It's not about surviving, it's about developing and seeing what we can turn them into . We want Wilson to be a top-six guy; he'd be quite a package. Go back to junior, play a lot, kill penalties, get on the power play, score 25 or 30 goals and develop."

Wison, 17, entered the draft ranked 15th overall among North American skaters by NHL Central Scouting. Last season he collected 27 points nine goals, 18 assists and 141 penalty minutes in 49 games with Plymouth and added 13 points seven goals, six assists in 13 OHL playoff games. The Toronto native was voted as the Best Body Checker in the OHLs 2012 Western Conference Coaches Poll and was a runner up for the Hardest Worker category.

He won a gold medal with Team Canada at the 2011 Ivan Hlinka Memorial Tournament, posting three goals in five games. He also won gold with Team Ontario at the World Under-17 Hockey Challenge, recording one assist and six penalty minutes in four games.

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3 stars of the game: Caps yet again blow a late lead, yield Game 1 to Penguins

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3 stars of the game: Caps yet again blow a late lead, yield Game 1 to Penguins

A game that started off with so much hope and promise finished with a sickeningly familiar feeling as the Capitals squandered a 2-0 lead in a 3-2 Game 1 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins.

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored just 17 seconds in and Alex Ovechkin put the Caps up 2-0 at the start of the third, but three the Penguins responded with three third-period goals to stun the Caps.

Here are the three stars of the game.

3 Stars of Capital vs. Penguins Game 1:

1. Jake Guentzel: Guentzel had 22 goals and 48 points in the regular season. Not a bad season by any means, but nothing to suggest he would turn into the second coming of Mario Lemieux in the playoffs again. Geuntzel clearly elevates his game when it comes to the playoffs and boy did he come up big for Pittsburgh. Down 2-0 in the third, Guentzel assisted on Patrik Hornqvist's goal.  Less than three minutes later, Guentzel at the blue line found Sidney Crosby with a cross-ice pass that Crosby was able to easily score on. Then Crosby returned the favor with a shot that Guentzel was able to deflect in for what would be the game-winning goal.

2. Alex Ovechkin: Once again, Ovechkin delivered in a big playoff game and once again, it wasn't enough. Ovechkin floated a pass to Kuznetsov behind the defense that Kuznetsov netted for a goal 17 seconds into the game. At the start of the third period, Ovechkin took a 2-on-1 opportunity and sniped the top corner to put the Caps up 2-0.

Say what you want about how one-sided the Ovechkin-Crosby rivalry is, but you could not come away from this game saying the Caps lost because Ovechkin doesn't perform in big moments. His performance indicated otherwise.

3. Matt Murray: Giving up a goal 17 seconds in is not an auspicious start, but Murray certainly recovered well.

Murray made 32 saves, several of which were of the phenomenal variety. The save of the game came in the second period when Murray extended the arm to deny Devante Smith-Pelly on what looked like an empty-net rebound opportunity. The puck bounced off the glove of Murray’s blocker. Once the Penguins took the 3-2 lead, Murray was absolutely lights out.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov scores in under 20 seconds in Game 1 vs. Penguins

Evgeny Kuznetsov scores in under 20 seconds in Game 1 vs. Penguins

So maybe this is the Capitals' year after all.

At roughly 7:10 p.m. ET on Thursday night, the puck was dropped on the ice to signify the start of Game 1 between the Penguins and Capitals at Capital One Arena.

At roughly 7:11 p.m. ET, Evgeny Kuznetsov was celebrating his first goal of the series.

That's right, Kuznetsov scored on the very first shot attempt of the series, beating Penguins' goaltender Matt Murray at 0:17 of the first period.

Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson assisted on the goal.

YOU CAN WATCH THE GOAL IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

Seventeen seconds is mighty fast, but it won't even get Kuznetsov on the  Top 10 list for fastest playoff goals.

Don Kozak holds the NHL record, scoring on a breakaway just six seconds into Game 4 of the 1977 quarterfinals between the Los Angeles Kings and Boston Bruins. 

Just last season, Blue Jackets' Cam Atkinson scored 11 seconds into Game 3 of Columbus' first-round series against the Penguins' goalie Marc-Andre Fleury. Atkinson sits at the No. 10 spot.

The Capitals' record for fastest playoff goal is 15 seconds, scored by Mike Gartner in Game 1 of the Capitals 1987 NHL Playoff series against the New York Islanders. 

Kuznetsov will have to settle for giving the Caps the best type of start to the series.