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Photo: Maddie Mayer

For most of his career, Caps 2012 first-round pick Tom Wilson has languished on the team’s fourth line, more a sideshow than a contributing player. When former general manager George McPhee drafted Wilson, it was Wilson’s skating ability, skill, and bruising style that garnered attention.

“When we were in the middle of the playoffs I made a note after the games: remember these games when you’re at the draft,” McPhee said after drafting Wilson. “Remember how intense they are, how physical they are, how demanding they are, and make sure you get someone who wants to play in that kind of stuff.”

Wilson certainly loves to play physical. He’s been in the NHL’s top seven in penalty minutes over the last three seasons, including third this year with 96 PIMs. He has delivered crushing hits, including one that injured veteran Lubomir Visnovsky in the playoffs. Wilson has been a league leader in fights, recording around 29 bouts in the last three years.

Wilson has been a punishing fixture in the line-up for years, but we’ve seen few glimmers of Wilson’s offensive talent. Until now.

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Photo: Jamie Sabau

The Capitals made it nearly halfway through the 2015-16 NHL season without suffering back-to-back loses, winning nine straight games in December. But with Brooks Orpik, John Carlson, and Jay Beagle missing from the lineup, the Caps dropped two games in a row against two of the league’s worst teams. The games were close, with Brandon Saad scoring with just over a minute left to send Saturday’s game against Columbus to a shootout after the Capitals almost came back against Carolina on Thursday. Still, the loses are disappointing for a team that desperately wants to raise the Stanley Cup this year.

“It’s going to have to be better, it’s that simple,” goalie Braden Holtby, who took just his sixth loss of the season against Columbus, said.

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Wednesday night, the Capitals extended their latest winning streak to nine games and it appears they gave one tiny Caps fan a thrill of a lifetime in the process. During a first period melee which saw Tom Wilson get a double minor for roughing, the Caps and Sabres mucked it up near the glass.

Check out these fantastic photos by Patrick Smith.

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Midway through the second period, Capitals forward Justin Williams absorbed a dangerous, unpenalized hit from Sabres forward Nicolas Deslauriers along the center-ice dasher boards. Deslauriers checked Williams by putting his hand in Williams’ face. As Williams fell, Deslauriers’ stick struck the Conn Smythe winner’s face accidentally.

Williams missed nine minutes of game time while getting repairs in the Capitals locker room before returning right at the tail end of the period. That did not sit well with Caps roomies’ Tom Wilson and Michael Latta.

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Andre Burakovsky Goes to NWHL Game in Buffalo

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Photo: @andreburakovsky

Caps forward Andre Burakovsky showed some love to the National Women’s Hockey League Sunday night. On his time off, the Burracuda went to HarborCenter to watch the Buffalo Beauts take on the New York Riveters. The Capitals arrived in Buffalo Sunday afternoon, a day early ahead of their game against the Sabres Monday night.

The Riveters won 7-3.

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Our long national nightmare is over. Brooks Laich has finally given Michael Latta and Tom Wilson the Instagram follow-back for which they had been begging for a longlong time.

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Tom Wilson showed how hard his fists could be in the first period. In the second, Willy Baby showed his hands could be soft too.

After racing to a turnover in the Habs offensive zone, Wilson flung a pass behind his body to a trailing Jay Beagle. Beags skated to a better shooting angle before fling a wrist shot past Habs goaltender Mike Condon. Craig Laughlin called the goal, Jay Beagle’s “best shot of his career.”

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In the first period of Caps-Habs, we had a bizarre situation unfurl during a Tom Wilson/Jarred Tinordi fight. It wasn’t so much that Wilson and Tinordi were trying to angrily face punch each other. It was the fact that Jarred’s dad, former Capital Mark Tinordi, was in the stands watching it all with the rest of the Tinordi family.

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Here’s How the Capitals Spent Their Christmas Break

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Photo: @jc7474

The Washington Capitals have been on Christmas Break ever since Monday’s thrilling 2-1 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes.

So what has everyone been up to? I’m glad you asked.

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Those meddling kids are at it again.

After Brooks Laich posted an update on his Instagram Tuesday showing him traveling back to LA for the Holiday Break, Laich’s liney Michael Latta and Laich’s former liney Tom Wilson started begging for a follow back again.

Christmas has come early, you guys.

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