LAS VEGAS—Tom Wilson defended his third period hit on Jonathan Marchessault following Monday’s Game 1 of the Stanley Cup Final, saying he believes it was “a good, clean hit.”

Golden Knights Coach Gerard Gallant disagreed, calling the hit “real late.” Gallant also said he thought it warranted a major penalty; Wilson was assessed a minor for interference after the officials huddled to discuss the play.

“We were upset about it,” Gallant said.

“It was a big hit. Wilson is a great hockey player. He’s a competitive guy. He’s an old-school player. For me it’s a late hit. We’re going to stand up for our players. Marchessault is one of our stars and we don’t want to see that happen.”

“When I see it live, I didn’t see much of it,” Gallant added. “But when you watch it in replay, and you see how late he hits Marchessault and, for me, it should have been a major penalty. Again, when you watch it live you don’t see that. But when you see it in the video, he hit him real late and real hard.”

The play occurred with the score tied 4-4. Marchessault made a pass in the neutral zone and continued to track the puck for a moment. Wilson (6 foot 4, 218-pounds) rocked Marchessault (5 foot 9, 174-pounds) with a shoulder-to-shoulder hit that knocked the first line winger to the ice.

The league reviews every hit from every game.     


“He might have been a little bit surprised by it but it wasn’t an aggressive hit,” Wilson said. “He looked fine at the end when he was yelling at me from the bench and wooing. It was just a hockey play.”

Asked if he thinks he might hear from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety, Wilson said he didn’t know. Wilson has been suspended three times this season, dating back to the preseason. His most recent ban was for three games in the second round for a hit that broke the jaw of Pittsburgh rookie Zach Aston-Reese.

“I don’t know these days,” Wilson said, asked if he expects to hear from the NHL. “I believe it was a good, clean hit. It’s playoff hockey. There’s going to be big hits. It’s a contact sport, so that’s what I saw.”

Wilson added: “Right after he got up, he said, ‘Good hit.’ It’s the Stanley Cup Final out there. There’s going to be hits.”

Caps Coach Barry Trotz said after the game that he expects Wilson to be available for Game 2 on Wednesday.