TORONTO—Tom Wilson got a promotion Wednesday morning as Capitals Coach Barry Trotz attempts to squeeze more production from his third line in Game 4 of the series.
Wilson is now with Lars Eller and Andre Burakovsky. Wilson had been on the fourth line for much of the season. The move displaced Brett Connolly, who is now on the fourth combo with Jay Beagle and Daniel Winnik.
Why the move? Through the first three games of the Caps-Leafs series, the third line had amassed 17 shots but no points at even strength.
“I’d like a little more production out of it, no question,” Trotz explained. “I think Lars has had a pretty good series. He just hasn’t got on the board. So we’re just trying to change it up to see if we can get some production out of that line.”
Asked what Wilson adds, Trotz said: “Tom Wilson. Everybody knows what Tom Wilson is. That’s what he brings.”
Wilson, a Toronto native and the Caps' overtime hero in Game 1, said he hopes his addition to the line can spark something while simultaneously giving the Leafs a different look.
“It’s important for every line to step up in the playoffs,” Wilson said. “The same people can't do it every night. Our top-six are pretty good at carrying the bulk of the load, but our bottom-six needs to chip in when we can. We get a little bit of a different look and maybe spark something.”
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Wilson said he expects to quickly find some chemistry with his new linemates. He skates alongside Eller on the penalty kill and is very tight with Burakovsky.
“Hopefully we can make things work,” he said. “I’m just going to try and bring my element to the line. Play my role, play my game and hopefully it clicks and we get it going.”
Eller added: “I’ve played all year with Tom on the p.k., so I have a good idea of what Tom’s strengths are and what his tendencies are. We talked about getting net presence and getting bodies in there, and I think that’s one of the biggest things that Tom brings.”