On Sunday, Washington Capitals right wing Tom Wilson spoke to the media following the first day of postseason practice. He discussed his excitement for the upcoming 2022 Stanley Cup Playoffs and what the Capitals’ mindset is heading into a first-round series against the Florida Panthers.
“We’re going to want to stay structured, stay focused,” Wilson said as they head into that first-round series against the Panthers, which begins on Tuesday at 7:30 PM from FLA Live Arena. “Playoff hockey is a little different. Usually, it’s tight-knit, work for your offense, play hard defense…we haven’t played [Florida] that much. This is obviously a new Panther team there…they’re the best in the league right now, so we’re excited to get down there and get started and try to make some noise and take Game 1.”
Wilson said this season has had “a ton of ups and downs” from injuries to COVID and non-COVID illnesses and game inconsistencies; however, he is “excited about this group,” having everyone healthy and ready to go. “If you’re hitting your stride and you’re playing well, playing with confidence—it doesn’t really matter where you’re seeded in the playoffs,” Wilson added. He wasn’t too happy with how the last few games went but noted they are not focusing on the past. He said the team had a good practice today and the “excitement level was there.”
“This group is an experienced group and when we’re playing well, we know what it takes, we know what we’re doing right and we’ve got to be focused on that going into Game 1. There’s going to be a respect factor for a really good hockey team that we’re playing, but if we’re focused on our game and we play the way we want to, we’re going to have a really good chance.”
“I think every time you’re in the playoffs is a chance you try to make the most of,” he said. The Capitals have suffered three consecutive first-round exits since winning the Cup in 2018, and Wilson noted that the playoffs only get harder and harder each season.
“We’re there now. That was our first goal of the season…we like the group we have right here…you can’t take it for granted. We’re in the playoffs and we want to win. Every year is different. Each game really matters—little bounces here and there matter. We’ve got to stay even and control the moments we can and just try to take it game-by-game.”
By Della Young