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Wilson's dad discusses his son's 'heightened emotions'

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Wilson's dad discusses his son's 'heightened emotions'

With the Capitals’ fathers gathered together in a luxury suite at BB&T Center on Thursday night, you can imagine the uncomfortable feeling Keven Wilson must have had when he watched his son skate off the ice early in the third period with a five-minute boarding major and a game misconduct for shouldering Panthers defenseman Brian Campbell into the boards.

As his father, Keven Wilson sees Tom Wilson differently than most and on many occasions needs to bite his tongue when asked about his son’s rambunctious style on the ice.

“Hockey is a game that’s played faster than real life,” Keven Wilson said before departing on the Caps’ two-game trip to Florida, where they’ll face the Tampa Bay Lightning tonight at Amalie Arena (7 p.m., CSN).

“It requires responses and reflexes that are faster than real life. What we see on the ice is heightened emotions, heightened athleticism, and I don’t think it’s fair to take that parallel down to the level of real life.

“The exuberance and the enthusiasm is there, but it’s dialed up (on the ice). If you saw Tom on an off-day he’d be equally exuberant and enthusiastic, but in a more proletariat way.”

Through 27 games, Tom Wilson, 21, has two goals, five assists and a team-high 58 penalty minutes. But don’t be fooled by all those PIMs. Two months into his third NHL season, Wilson has just one fighting major this season, a tussle with Calgary’s Brandon Bollig on Nov. 13.

That’s a far cry from the 26 fights he got into in his first two seasons with the Capitals. But it’s the reputation Wilson earned from those 26 fights that could be working against him this season.

Of his 58 penalty minutes, Wilson has just two five-minute majors – one for fighting, the other for boarding Campbell – a team-high 18 minors, one 10-minute misconduct and one game misconduct.

Like many Caps fans, Keven Wilson probably wouldn’t agree with every one of the calls against his son this season. But if there is one thing he has learned about Tom it’s been his resiliency and resolve. And he credits Tom’s older brother, Peter, for instilling that.

“He has an older brother, five years older, and Tom was up for the challenge,” Keven Wilson said. “He felt he could compete. Right from the beginning he kept at it and never doubted himself and I think his older brother should get a ton of credit for where he is now.”

Wilson, who lives in Toronto, is making his third dads’ trip with the Capitals and said he wouldn’t miss it for the world.

“It’s awesome,” he said. “It’s so much fun. It reconnects dads who have had to let go of their kids and the great times they’ve had. Everybody talks about the sacrifices, but I think it was fun. Everybody went into this ready, willing and able. It’s a journey and to end up here is something indescribable.”

Wilson said that journey has produced a collection of proud moments for him as a father, but his greatest satisfaction is that his son is getting paid to play a game he’s loved since he was 4 years old.

“Every once in a while I check back in with him and say, ‘Are you having fun?’ And so far the response has always been, ‘I’m having a blast.’ And that’s all I’ve got to hear.”

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5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

5 reasons the Caps beat the Lightning in Game 6

After losing three straight, the Capitals battled back in Game 6 on Monday. With their 3-0 win, Washington forced the Eastern Conference Final into a decisive Game 7 on Wednesday.

Here is how the Caps did it.

1. Braden Holtby matched Andrei Vasilevskiy save for save

Andrei Vasilevskiy was just as great in this game as he was in the three previous, but one of the major differences in this one was that Holtby was just as good. He may not have been tested as much (Vasilevskiy made 32 saves, Holtby 24), but he was big when the team needed.

In the second period with the scored tied at 0, Holtby made one of the most critical saves perhaps of the entire season when he denied Anthony Cirelli with the toe on a 2-on-1. When the Caps took the lead, Holtby really shut the door in the third period with 10 saves to cap off what was his fifth career playoff shutout and first shutout of the entire season.

2. T.J. Oshie’s timely goal

Over halfway into the game, it looked like it was just going to be one of those nights. Caps fans know it well by now. Washington outplays their opponent, they get chance after chance and develop a whopping advantage in shots, but they run into a hot goalie and a random play suddenly turns into a goal for the other team, game and season over.

Vasilevskiy was on his way to having perhaps his best performance of the series. Considering how he played in the three games prior to Game 6, that’s saying something. The Caps were doing everything right, but he continued to make save after save. Then on the power play in the second period, John Carlson struck the inside of the post, the horn went off and the roar of the crowd gave way to dismay as the referee waved his arms to indicate there was no goal and play continued. Just seconds later, T.J. Oshie gave the Caps the 1-0 lead.

You have to wonder if doubt was starting to creep into the back of the minds of the players when that puck struck the post as they wondered what else they had to do to beat Vasilevskiy. Luckily, that feeling didn’t last long.

3. Special teams

Braydon Coburn’s tripping penalty in the second period gave Washington its only power play of the night and its first since the second period of Game 4. They had to make it count given how well Vasilveskiy was playing and they did.

Washington now has a power play goal in each of their three wins against the Lightning and no power play goals in their three losses. So yeah, it’s significant.

Tampa Bay had two opportunities of their own, but Washington managed to kill off both power plays in the penalty kill’s best performance of the series.

4. Washington’s physical game plan

On paper, the Lightning are better than the Caps in most categories. One area in which Washington has the edge, however, is physical play and it was clear very early that they intended to use that to their advantage in Game 6. Tampa Bay was pushed around and they seemed to struggle to recover.

Ovechkin was a one-man wrecking ball out there hitting everything that moved. The energy he brought with every hit was palpable and both the team and the crowd fed on it.

Washington was credited with 39 hits on the night compared to Tampa Bay’s 19. Ovechkin had four of those as did Nicklas Backstrom while Devante Smith-Pelly contributed five and Tom Wilson and Brooks Orpik each led the team with six.

5. Fourth line dagger

Tampa Bay’s fourth line was the story of Game 5, but Washington’s fourth line sealed the deal on Monday with its third period goal.

Chandler Stephenson beat out an icing call, forcing Braydon Coburn to play the puck along the wall. Jay Beagle picked it up, fed back to Stephenson who backhanded a pass for the perfect setup for Devante Smith-Pelly.

Smith-Pelly scored seven goals in the regular season. He now has four in the playoffs.

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Capitals vs. Lightning Game 7 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, time, TV Channel, live stream

Capitals vs. Lightning Game 7 Eastern Conference Final 2018: Date, time, TV Channel, live stream

Game 7.

It's the best phrase in all of hockey, and on Wednesday, May 23, Game 7 of the 2018 NHL Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Lightning will go down in Tampa, Fla.

The Capitals' path to Game 7 was less than ordinary. After racing to a 2-0 series lead with back-to-back road wins in Tampa, the Lightning responded with three straight wins, forcing the Capitals' to the brink of the 2017-18 season.

But in Game 6 on Tuesday night, the team put on their best performance of the season, blanking the Lightning and forcing Game 7 at Amalie Arena.

The winner of Game 7 advances to the Stanley Cup Final, where the Vegas Golden Nights await, having defeated the Winnipeg Jets to advance to the championship round in the team's inaugural season.

Game 7 Capitals at Lightning
Date: Wednesday, May 23
Time: 8:00 p.m. ET
Location: Amalie Arena. Tampa, Fla.
TV Channel: NBCSN 
How To Watch Live StreamingNBC Sports App Live Stream
Radio: Capitals Radio Network (106.7 FM)

WHEN IS GAME 7 OF THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING SERIES?

Game 7 of the Capitals-Lightning 2018 NHL Eastern Conference Final takes place on Wednesday, May 21 at 8:00 p.m. at Amalie Arena in Tampa, Fla.

WHAT TV CHANNEL IS GAME 7 OF THE CAPITALS-LIGHTNING SERIES ON?

The TV broadcast of Game 7 between the Capitals and Lightning is on NBC. Capitals pre- and postgame coverage takes place on NBC Sports Washington. (NBC Sports Washington channel Finder)

6:00 p.m. — Caps FaceOff
7:00 p.m. — Caps GameTime
8:00 p.m. — Game 7 Capitals vs. Lightning
10:30 p.m. — Caps Extra
11:30 p.m. — Caps Overtime

WHERE CAN I STREAM CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 7?

Game 7 of the 2018 NHL Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Lightning is available for online stream on the NBC Sports App. Click here for the NBC Sports live stream page.

CAPITALS vs. LIGHTNING GAME 7 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

For all the latest Caps coverage, follow Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir, Capitals digital producer JJ Regan and the NBC Sports Capitals account on Twitter. Be sure check out our Capitals page and NBC Sports Washington's Facebook page.