Washington Capitals bruiser Tom Wilson, after escaping discipline for knocking Pittsburgh’s Brian Dumoulin out of Game 2, made his presence felt again in Game 3 of their series tonight. As Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese tried to take the puck out of his own zone near the benches in the second period, Wilson lined up a crushing check high on his opponent, leaving a little bit of blood on the ice as Aston-Reese went to the locker room.
As in the Game 2 hit, no penalty was called. But after ruling that Wilson wouldn’t be punished because the contact on Dumoulin’s head was “unavoidable,” the NHL is going to have even more Pittsburgh complaints to answer to tomorrow morning.
Frankly, I’m sick of trying to guess what kinds of post-game penalties guys are going to get for these plays, but suffice it to say that the rest of the series will stay nasty, and Wilson will be a major target. Just a few minutes after the hit, the teams got chippy with each other, and Alex Ovechkin picked up a penalty for cross-checking Sidney Crosby, while Wilson actually picked up an “unsportsmanlike conduct” while he was in the middle of the scuffle.
Update (10:44 p.m. ET): Unlike the Dumoulin hit, which saw the defenseman return for Game 3, Wilson’s check on Aston-Reese appears to have done some major damage.