Photo: Rob Carr
The Capitals penalty kill was the second-best unit in the league during the regular season, killing 85.2 percent of opponents’ chances. Yet on special teams, it was overshadowed by the power play, which finished fifth. While the PK doesn’t provide between-the-legs passes or booming one-timers, it has kept the Capitals in control of their first-round series against the Philadelphia Flyers.
Washington’s penalty kill is a perfect eight for eight. Going back to the last five games of the regular season, the opponents’ power plays have been stopped 21 times in a row. Despite outshooting the Capitals 61-54 overall in the first two games, the Flyers have scored just one goal. Washington has six, including three power-play goals, good for a 2-0 series lead.
“We got our butts on the line,” Flyers coach Dave Hakstol said after Saturday’s Game Two loss.
Photo: Patrick Smith
Tom Wilson almost made it through a Caps-Flyers game without getting involved in something foolish. But with six minutes and 51 seconds left in a one goal playoff hockey game, Wilson decided to board defenseman Andrew McDonald. It was an obvious penalty.
Thankfully for Wilson, Wayne Simmonds, who led the Flyers in regular season goals (32), decided a late game comeback push was the perfect time to retaliate. Simmonds took a roughing penalty before he and Wilson decided to punch each other in the face, negating any advantage for Philly when they needed it most.
Photo: Rob Carr
First impressions make a difference. In December of his rookie season, Tom Wilson made himself known to fans of the Philadelphia Flyers with a savage charge on forward Brayden Schenn. Since then, Wilson has been a marked man.
“We don’t want to be liked by them,” Wilson said of the Flyers Tuesday, two days before the Capitals face Philadelphia in Game One the opening round of the playoffs. “Hopefully, we can keep it that way, that they hate our guts.” (more…)
Photo: Amanda Bowen
On Monday, we published a smart and layered discussion by Myan Tran about Tom Wilson‘s development. That article comes after months of discussion among the RMNB staff on the same topic. That article and those discussions all seemed to revolve around the idea of a bust, a delightfully subjective and nebulous term that is also a function of expectations that vary based on whom you ask.
In a beautifully complex world of fractal mathematics and ASOIAF conspiracy theories, a yes/no debate about a divisive player is excessively stupid. The conversation quickly wanders off topic and into a battlefield. GIFs are deployed like explosive ordnance. Proxy wars are waged by strawmen.
But I come to you from above the fray to settle, once and for all, the Tom Wilson bust debate.
Photo: Chris Gordon
Myan Tran is a long-time RMNB reader. She writes from Northern Virginia to settle an argument we’ve been waging among ourselves for months.
A lot has been said about whether Tom Wilson has reached or will ever reach the potential expected of a first-round draft pick. When we start talking about whether Tom Wilson is a “bust” in comparison to his peers, the conversation always turns into “well, what is a bust and who are his peers?” We’ll talk about what a “bust” is later.
First, let’s talk about who Tom’s peers are.
With the Colorado Avalanche fighting for the final spot in the West and the Washington Capitals trying to get Braden Holtby his 47th win of the season, Friday’s late season game took on a furious pace, full of end-to-end action. The energetic play took a scary turn about five minutes into the second period when Tom Wilson unleashed an explosive hit on Colorado defenseman Nikita Zadorov.
Noted goon Marcus Johansson is at it again — wait, wrong Swede. What I meant to say was: Andre Burakovsky, the team’s player with the most penalty minutes — no, that’s not right either…
Oh. Tom Wilson and Michael Latta, penalty-box regulars, have been doing some very important work at practice recently: teaching their skill forwards how to fight. Playoff hockey is right around the corner, and even though fighting is discouraged, a player has to be ready for anything.
Unfortunately, it does not appear as if the skill forwards wanted to learn.
Graphic by Amanda Bowen
Tuesday, Tom Wilson turned 22 years old. Willy Baby got a million well wishes online by Caps fans but it was three special wishes I want to point you to. They were from Wilson’s roommate Michael Latta (2) and Andre Burakovsky.
Latta called Wilson a lot of things I’m guessing he’s not and Burakovsky brought out the old #brobeans hashtag.
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