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.”
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.”
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