Prior to the Washington Capitals’ home opener against the New York Rangers on Wednesday (7:30 PM ET, TNT), right-wing Tom Wilson said in his morning presser that “They got a lot of new faces that will try to make an impact on the game.”
Tonight’s tilt is the much anticipated rematch after an incident between him and Rangers’ left-wing Artemi Panarin where he took Panarin to the ice and forced him to miss the last three games of last season. The following game, a line brawl broke out on the opening face off and six fights occurred in the first period.
“If you ask them, this is a big rivalry now,” the 27-year-old acknowledged.
“My job is to play the game, my game,” he responded when discussing the Rangers’ offseason additions. He said that the team has got to stay disciplined like any other night.
On captain Alex Ovechkin, who will be a game-time decision after leaving Friday’s preseason finale with an apparent knee injury, Wilson said that he does not know how the 36-year-old feels but “hopefully, he’s ready to go. He’s a special player in many ways… he hates missing games.”
When asked about center Hendrix Lapierre, who is expected to make his NHL debut on Wednesday with Nicklas Backstrom out due to a hip injury, Wilson thinks that “It will be a great opportunity for him to go into a game with a physical feel, a playoff feel. … Tonight, your adrenaline is going to be going.” Wilson knows that tonight will be one to remember for Lapierre.
Instead of giving in to a possibly physical affair against the Rangers, Wilson will focus on the team, the big picture, and being a leader this season.
By Harrison Brown