Wilson adds to career year with statement performance vs. Penguins


When the Washington Capitals have found themselves a goal down and a hit short, they’ve turned to Tom Wilson for the last nine seasons to supply both. His physical play paired with his nose for the puck and knack to push the attack have made him a hot commodity in hockey, one Washington has made a special effort to keep around.

Wilson displayed his value for the Capitals in their electric 6-3 victory over rival Pittsburgh on the road on Saturday, supplying the game-winning goal in the third period. Jump-starting a two-on-one break with Alex Ovechkin, Wilson fired a near-perfect shot over the glove of Tristan Jarry to give the Caps a 4-3 lead which they wouldn’t relinquish.

“That’s always my first thought, I think, is to try to get it over to [Ovechkin],” Wilson said of the goal postgame. “But I think it was probably, honestly gonna be a tougher pass than shot so I just decided to shoot it…[I] got lucky, fortunate timing in the game. Happy to get the win.”

Wilson’s GWG in a game which everyone circles on their calendars has been the latest in a series of fortunate events for the 28-year-old. It’s his fifth game-winner of the year, tying Ovechkin for the team lead. He also tallied an assist on Martin Fehervary’s empty-netter 27 seconds before the final buzzer, giving Wilson his first multi-point game since a 5-2 loss to St. Louis in mid-March.


“You’re out on the road and playing in a loud building,” Wilson said. “That felt kind of like a playoff atmosphere. The rink was loud, there’s a lot of energy in there.”

In terms of personal accolades, Wilson is having the best season of his career. His goal against the Penguins was his 22nd on the year, tying a career best. One more, and he’ll set single-season career highs in goals, assists and points. After being named an All-Star replacement for the first time in his career this season, Wilson is riding a personal hot streak which has lifted the Capitals into a fierce postseason push.

Washington has won 11 of its 16 games dating back to the beginning of March. The Capitals now find themselves slowly but surely creeping up in the Metropolitan division, as they sit just four points behind third-place Pittsburgh with a game in hand.

Owning one of the league’s best road records this season, and having won five straight such games, Washington is hoping to continue their streak as they face a gauntlet for the remainder of April: Boston, Toronto (twice), Colorado, and the New York Rangers are a few of the opponents the Capitals will face to close out their regular season. Tom Wilson has been a huge factor in their success thus far.

“To come together and play well in that type of game is encouraging down the line because, come playoff time, it’s important,” Wilson said. “It’s tough to go on the road. Falling back on experience, coming together, doing the little things right and getting a tough two points on the road is always important down the stretch.”