Like it or not, Tom Wilson has been red-hot since he was finally able to begin playing regular-season games for the Washington Capitals. Barry Trotz’s new team became painfully aware of that on Monday.
Wilson collected two goals as the Capitals beat the New York Islanders 4-1 in their first game against Barry Trotz since Washington’s magical, dragon-slaying run to the franchise’s first-ever Stanley Cup victory.
This marks the Capitals’ sixth win in a row, padding a growing Metropolitan Division lead, as the Caps now have 31 points in 24 games played. The loss keeps the Islanders from gaining ground in that regard, as they’re now stuck with 26 points in 23 games.
After Valtteri Filppula continued his mini-hot streak with a goal just 50 seconds into the game, Wilson extended his goal streak to four games by taking advantage of a nice breakout pass by Nicklas Backstrom, beating Thomas Greiss less than three minutes into the first period:
Later on in the contest, Wilson provided the Capitals with an important insurance goal on the power play:
Those rushing to downplay Wilson’s achievements might try to chalk it all up to playing on a top line with Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom, but it’s getting increasingly difficult to say that it’s just that.
Ovechkin, for one, had a fairly quiet night. Yes, Ovechkin moved into a three-way tie with Joe Sakic and Jarome Iginla for 15th place all-time in goals with his 625th goal, but the actual tally came on a fairly easy empty-netter.
Wilson grabbed an assist on that ENG, and so did Backstrom, so those two ended up generating three points each. Ovechkin wasn’t the only player who made some history, as Backstrom’s second helper pushed him ahead of Capitals icon Peter Bondra for second all-time in franchise scoring with 826 (and then 827) points.
Both Ovechkin and Backstrom are etching out their spots in history already with eye-popping numbers. Considering that Wilson now has 12 points (six goals, six assists) in eight games back, you could probably expect that people are making some comical points in his favor. People are not disappointing in that regard. Wilson won’t be able to play 82 games this season thanks to that lengthy suspension, but he’s inspiring “82-game pace” tweets nonetheless:
Welp, it’s all in good fun, which is probably not how you can describe Trotz’s night against his old team.
Granted, it wasn’t all bad for Trotz and his pals on Monday: