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Tom Wilson puts his butt on the line for the Caps

Tom Wilson puts his butt on the line for the Caps

It wasn’t ideal shot-blocking form, but Tom Wilson wasn’t worried about aesthetics when threw himself in front of a Michael Del Zotto slap shot in the second period of Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win against the Flyers.

The blast, taken from the top of circle, ended up striking Wilson on his backside—just to the side of the padding that protects the tailbone.

In other words, the location couldn't have been worse.

“It’s sore. It actually hit me right beside my pad, right on the tailbone,” he said before cracking: “I got a pretty funny mark there that the boys are enjoying.”

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Wilson, though, did not allow the discomfort to prevent him from producing one of his most effective performances of the season.

“Tom had a real terrific game,” Coach Barry Trotz said.

Although Wilson didn’t factor into either goal, he was all over the score sheet. The fourth line winger had two shots on goal, one of which skittered just inches from going into the net. He notched a game-high nine hits. He also drew a penalty and took one, too.

“I thought there was a little bit of sell job on the penalty,” Trotz said of Wilson’s roughing minor on Brandon Manning in the third period. “At the same time, I think the guys on the bench said, ‘Hey, Tom’s killed a lot of penalties [this season]. We didn’t deserve that one. Let’s get this killed.’”

Wilson also played an integral role in shutting down the Flyers’ top line of Jordan Weal-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds.

“Tom did a really good job of keeping that line in tow,” Trotz said. “He sorta set the tone. Simmonds and Giroux are emotional players. They are physical. They are in your face. They play hard. And Tom, [Jay Beagle] and [Daniel Winnik] had a real terrific game shutting that line down.”

But the defining moment of the night for Wilson was the blocked shot. For a couple of reasons: game situation and the price he paid for it.

The block—his only one of the night—came early in the second period of a scoreless game. The contest was chippy and physical and tight-checking and...teetering.

And that’s why Wilson found a way to get in front of the shot.

As he knelt on the ice in discomfort, several teammates came over and tapped him with their sticks as a way of saying, 'Thanks.' Right on the butt, of course.

Wilson did not miss a shift.

“The only happy part is that when it hits you, it’s not getting through you,” Wilson said. “But I think you’ve got to be a bit of psycho if you like taking the rubber and blocking those shots.”

He added: “But you pay the price, get in the way. A lot of this club will do that. That’s what makes us so good. We pay the price for the team and for [Braden Holtby] whenever we can we try to get in the way and turn that shot away.”

MORE CAPITALS: Caps survive slugfest to extend home win streak

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Dmitrij Jaskin's year goes from bad to worse as his former team prepares to play in Stanley Cup Final

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Dmitrij Jaskin's year goes from bad to worse as his former team prepares to play in Stanley Cup Final

Dmitrij Jaskin had a tough year. He played in only 37 games for the Capitals and scored only two goals and six assists. He seemed to struggle to earn the trust of head coach Todd Reirden and did not play a single game in the playoffs.

A tough year just got a little bit worse for Jaskin as now he will watch his former team, the St. Louis Blues, play in the Stanley Cup Final starting Monday.

Jaskin was a member of the Blues through training camp, but was a surprise addition to the Caps’ roster just one day before the start of the regular season. Frustrated with his lack of opportunities in St. Louis, Jaskin requested a trade and the Blues placed him on waivers. With Tom Wilson still awaiting word on how long his suspension would be for his hit to Oskar Sundqvist in the preseason, Washington claimed Jaskin off waivers for more forward depth.

Though Jaskin was an established NHL player with over 250 games of experience and 25 goals, he was used sparingly by Reirden. Jaskin seemed to play well when given the opportunity, but showed a lack of finish offensively that earned him the ire of the coaches. Any mistakes would see him taken out of the lineup completely.

“Obviously it was disappointing,” Jaskin said of his season. “I thought it would be better, but you always gain some experience from another season. It's over with and there's nothing I can do about it, just can get ready for next season and look forward to it.”

Though his individual situation was challenging, Jaskin looked like he was in a much better position for a deep playoff run than his former squad. The Caps were the defending Stanley Cup champions and would go on to win the Metropolitan Division while the Blues were in last place in the entire NHL as late in the season as Jan. 3. The two teams suffered a reversal in fortune in the postseason as Washington was bounced out of the first round by the Carolina Hurricanes. St. Louis eliminated the Winnipeg Jets in six games, won a Game 7 thriller in double overtime against the Dallas Stars and closed out the San Jose Sharks with three straight wins in the conference finals.

“I wish them all the best,” Jaskin said following the first round. “I think it's pretty impressive that they won against Winnipeg. Now, as you see, everybody's got the same chances. A lot of upsets this year and I think they have a pretty good chance to go far.”

Luckily for Jaskin, he did manage to find some playing time this summer in the World Championship tournament playing with the Czech Republic.  He has scored two goals and two assists in nine games and will play for the bronze medal on Sunday.

After that, his future remains unclear. Jaskin is a restricted free agent meaning the Caps will have a chance to retain his rights and his playing in Worlds seems to indicate he is secure in his position. At the same time, he was used sparingly enough throughout the season that whether the team will offer him a qualifying offer remains a question.

“I'll love to stay,” Jaskin said. “I love it here, guys are great and the organization and the city, everything's good. I would like to stay, but we'll see.”

For now, however, Jaskin will have to sit and watch to see whether his old team, the team he requested a trade from, will hoist the Stanley Cup.

“Obviously it's frustrating to not keep on playing and watch them play,” Jaskin said, “But as I said I wish them all the best and I think they have a pretty good chance.”

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How to watch the IIHF World Championship Finals: Date, Time, TV Channel, Lineups

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How to watch the IIHF World Championship Finals: Date, Time, TV Channel, Lineups

The 2019 International Ice Hockey Federation (IIHF) World Championship is coming to a close this Memorial Day weekend.

After two weeks, the sixteen team field has been narrowed down to four with the world championship now on the line in Slovakia. 

The two group winners, Canada, the top-ranked team in the world and 26-time IIHF Champions, and Russia, who rolled through the group stage with a 7-0 record and a +29 goal differential, are the favorites. Russia overwhelmingly has played like the best team in Slovakia, outscoring its opponents 40-10 behind Nikita Kucherov's 16 points in eight games.

The Russian/ Soviet Union team is the only team with more titles than the Canadians with 27 (five as Russia, 22 as the Soviet Union). 

Washington Capital Alex Ovechkin is playing for Team Russia. In eight games he's scored two goals and recorded an assist. 

Canada will face off against the Czech Republic, whose only loss came against the Russians in group play, with a spot to the Finals on the line. Russia will play Finland for the last spot in the gold medal match.

Three of the four teams remaining (Russia, Canda, and the Czech Republic) are the winningest teams in the IIHF's history. The four semifinalists have combined to win 67 of the 82 IIHF World Championships.

When is the 2019 IIHF World Championship Finals?

The 2019 IIHF World Championship Finals will take place at 8:15 p.m. local time (2:15 p.m. ET) on Sunday, May 26. The bronze medal match will precede the gold medal match at 3:45 p.m. local time (9:15 a.m. ET). 

2019 IIHF World Championship Schedule:

There are only four matches left in the 2019 IIHF World Championship. The two semifinals, the bronze medal match, and the gold medal match.

SEMIFINALS:
No. 3 Russia vs. No. 5 Finland, 9:15 a.m. ET, May 25
No. 1 Canada vs. No. 6 Czech Republic, 1:15 p.m. ET, May 25

BRONZE MEDAL MATCH:
Loser of Semifinal No. 1 vs. Loser of Semifinal No. 2, 9:45 a.m. ET, May 26

GOLD MEDAL MATCH:
Winner of Semifinal No. 1 vs. Winner of Semifinal No. 2, 2:15 p.m. ET, May 26

How to watch or stream the 2019 IIHF World Championship Finals:

All games at the IIHF World Championships will be broadcast on NHL Network.

Who is playing in the 2019 IIHF World Championship Finals?

The 2019 IIHF World Championship Finals will be played between the winner of Russia (8-0-0)/ Finland (7-0-1) and Canada (7-1-0)/ Czech Republic (7-0-1).

Lineups for the 2019 IIHF World Championship Finals:

Lineups for the 2019 IIHF Championship Finals will be announced on the morning of May 26.