Tom Wilson late hit part of Stanley Cup Game 1 getting nasty

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Sometimes, officials letting penalties go without a whistle might just mean that creative players face a more uphill battle. Other times, it can make things downright dangerous for just about everyone, as teams might test the limits of what goes unpenalized.

That’s especially true when emotions run high and one team feels slighted.

Game 1 of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final is displaying some of that dynamic during the third period. First, it sure seemed like Ryan Reaves got away with a cross-check before scoring the 4-4 goal, creating an unlikely two-game goal streak for the enforcer. (As you may remember, he scored the clinching goal against Winnipeg in Game 5 of the third round.)

Mike Milbury discussed the goal and on-call after Game 1:

The third period essentially ushered in both the good and bad versions of Tom Wilson.

The good: Wilson echoed Brett Connolly‘s deflection goal to briefly give Washington a 4-3 lead.

The bad: The polarizing winger was guilty of a late hit on Vegas star Jonathan Marchessault, who was forced to go through concussion protocol. Watch video of the hit in the clip among this post’s headline.

The play drew matching minors for both teams, as Wilson was whistled for interference while David Perron received a cross-checking penalty for going after Alex Ovechkin. So, technically, those exchanges did warrant penalties, but no one received a power-play opportunity for their troubles.

Marchessault eventually returned from concussion protocol. Wilson already experienced a three-game suspension during the 2018 Stanley Cup Playoffs, yet fair or not, he remains a lightning rod for controversy.

Vegas ended up beating Washington 6-4 in Game 1 to take a 1-0 series lead. Read more about that here.

MORE:
• NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

James O’Brien is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @cyclelikesedins.