Tonight the Penguins will look to even the series at two games a piece against the Tom Wilson-less Washington Capitals with puck drop set for just after 7:00PM from PPG Paints Arena.
Before we elaborate on the Tom Wilson-less part above, let's briefly recap Game Three. The Penguins fell to the Capitals by a score of 4-3 thanks to an Alexander Ovechkin game winning goal with just 1:07 remaining in the third period. Some quick takeaways from this game: Jake Guentzel is good. He now has 8 goals and 11 assists in 9 playoff games this year. Kris Letang is either really good or really bad. This game, he was really bad. Matt Murray had a bad night. He's had many bad nights this postseason. Murray, much like Kris Letang this postseason, has had flashes of brilliance and flashes that make you say, "what the hell was that?" For example, the Capitals third goal that just so happened to tie the game, a shot from Matt Niskanen from about 50 feet out seemed like it was going wide kareemed off of Murray's pad and trickled past him into the net. There was only one word to describe that goal.
Also Phil Kessel has to be hurt right? Really haven't seen him shoot the puck much, let alone have heard his name. No one is 100% this time of year, but it makes you wonder. Now let's get to the interesting part of Game Three.
Tom Wilson, the notorious thug, piss-drinker, ISIS affiliator, and puppy hater was suspended three games for a high hit to the head on Penguins forward Zach Aston-Reese that left him with a broken jaw and a concussion. The sad thing is that Tom Wilson shouldn't have even been allowed to play in Game Three anyway following his actions in Game Two which left Brian Dumoulin pretty much for dead after you guessed it, a high hit to the head.
Photo via Yahoo Sports.
Video - SportsNet.
The worst part about this hit besides the fact that it's predatory in nature and there's pretty much no reason to aim for the head, is that no penalty was assessed on the play. No penalty. Four referees converged following the hit to discuss what they saw, apparently all of them were blind. It's inexcusable that a hit that resulted in a three game suspension didn't even warrant a penalty on the ice. It also doesn't help that the NHL is run by a bunch of dinosaurs who refuse to admit that CTE and head injuries exist because of these high hits that deliberately target the head. I'm actually looking forward to more of these old "this is the way hockey used to played" guys dying off. Much like the Tom Wilson's of the world, the less there are of them, the better.
Early Wednesday we learned that Wilson would have a hearing with the league. I surely thought he'd either receive the max fine of $5,000 or a one game suspension at most. Surprisingly just prior to 8:00 PM on Wednesday night the Department of Player Safety handed down the punishment, a three game suspension. While I think it's 69 games too short and I'd personally love to see Wilson have his ACL torn and then have him shot to the sun, this is a punishment I can live with. Wilson would be available for Game Seven if the series were to go that far.
It'll be interesting to see who becomes the biggest goon on the Capitals now with Wilson's absence. My mind tells me Brooks Orpik, partly because he's so god damn bad at hockey now that it's the only way he can keep up, but my heart tells me TJ Oshie.
Tom Wilson was a regular on the Capitals penalty kill, maybe just maybe, the Penguins can take advantage of that if their power play can actually generate some chances.
In his first two postseasons, Matt Murray was 22-9 with a .928 sv%. This year, he's 5-4 with a .906 sv%.