In a rare departure from routine, Capitals enforcer Tom Wilson was on the receiving end of multiple crushing hits from one of the few NHL players who can claim to be as bruising as he is—Golden Knights winger Ryan Reaves. Reaves went after Wilson on multiple occasions in Vegas’s 5-3 victory, eventually getting both players out of the game as a result.
In the first period, Reaves knocked Wilson to the ice twice in the span of eight seconds—once right after Wilson took a shot, then again when the Capital came for revenge—and clearly enjoyed doing so:
But if the opening period featured a fun battle between two of the nastier guys in the NHL, the second was scarier. In that one, Reaves tagged Wilson with a blindside shoulder-to-shoulder hit that sent Wilson down face first. Wilson had to be helped off the ice, and would not return to the game. Reaves would get sent to the locker room with a game misconduct.
“I thought he was just looking at his pass, and ran into a lion in the jungle,” Reaves said after the game. “I thought he actually saw me. It looked like he took a peek, and if he sees me I know he’s going to try to lay me out, and I’m not going to let that happen.”
Wilson missed the first 16 games of this season with a suspension after a brutal and high preseason hit on Oskar Sundqvist, but had been scoring at a blistering pace since returning to the ice. Heading into the Vegas game, Wilson was riding a six-game goal streak, and overall he’s scored eight with six assists in only 11 games. Wilson will continue traveling on the Caps’ road trip, but otherwise there’s been no word yet on how serious his injury is.