Tom Wilson insists he didn’t do anything wrong. The Golden Knights beg to differ.
A day after Wilson took a run at Jonathan Marchessault and delivered a blind-side hit in the third period that put the Knights forward out of the game temporarily, the NHL opted not to hold a hearing or discipline the Washington Capitals forward.
“Surprised? No,” said Knights defenseman Luca Sbisa of the failure of the department of player safety to act. “The league looked at it, I guess they’re fine with it. Nothing to say, we’ll just move on.”
Forward James Neal said: “It’s tough. We all felt it was a late hit, but it’s the league’s decision. We responded good. We came out and we got the win. We’ll focus on the next game and not worry about that stuff.”
Marchessault was not made available to the media Tuesday following the optional skate at City National Arena. But coach Gerard Gallant said Marchessault is expected to be in the lineup Wednesday for Game 2 at T-Mobile Arena.
“Jonathan is 100 percent,” Gallant said. “There was no issue. Last night he lost his wind in the game and that’s why I was a little upset that he had to go off for 15 minutes, but we understand that.
“You know what? It was a close hit. It was a borderline hit. It was a late hit for me, for sure. I thought it was going to be a five-minute major, to be honest with you. But, anyway, we live with the hit and the good thing about the hit is it really woke our team up. We weren’t playing that great at the time. I think it was a 4-4 hockey game, and for us, it got our guys a little upset and they played hard and they found a way to win the hockey game.”
Wilson, who received a minor penalty for interference on the play, defended himself.
“Obviously, after the game I don’t really have time to look at it,” Wilson said. “My feeling didn’t change after watching it in slow (motion) or whatever. It’s within the rules and it’s a good hit, so, you know, looking forward to playing the next game.”
When he set up Reilly Smith’s second-period goal Monday, Marchessault registered his 19th point of the playoffs and set an NHL record for most points by an individual player in his team’s first postseason appearance.
The previous record of 18 points was shared by Igor Larionov of the 1994 San Jose Sharks and Jude Drouin of the 1975 New York Islanders. Marchessault has eight goals and 11 points in 16 playoff games.
Jonathan Marchessault of the @GoldenKnights collected an assist to boost his totals to 8-11—19 in the 2018 #StanleyCup Playoffs and establish an NHL record for most points by a player with a franchise in its first-ever postseason. #NHLStats pic.twitter.com/yafZuvm90k
— NHL Public Relations (@PR_NHL) May 29, 2018
In addition, Smith has 18 points in the 2018 postseason (three goals, 15 assists).
Marc-Andre Fleury won his 13th playoff game and moved past Chris Osgood into eighth place on the NHL’s career wins list for goaltenders. Fleury has 75 victories.
Evgeny Kuznetsov had an assist in Game 1 and extended his postseason point streak to 11 games (six goals, 10 assists), a Capitals team record. It’s the longest by any player in the Stanley Cup playoffs since 2010 and fifth-longest since 1997 (Eric Staal, 15 games in 2006).
John Carlson’s 17th career playoff goal moved him past Kevin Hatcher (16) for the most by a defenseman in Capitals history. Carlson leads NHL defensemen in postseason scoring with 17 points (four goals, 13 assists) and his totals are franchise records for assists and points by a defenseman in one playoff year.