WASHINGTON – After scoring twice in his return from a shoulder injury, Alex Ovechkin supplied the assist on Tom Wilson’s first NHL goal. After the game, he stunned the 19-year-old rookie mid-interview with a red pillow smothered with blue shaving cream right in the face.
“Ohhh! My eyes!” said Wilson, who doubled over and had to retreat from the locker room to the shower room to get a towel and get the sting out.
Wilson returned moments later to discuss his role in the Capitals’ 6-2 win Tuesday night over the New York Islanders.
It is hard to overshadow Ovechkin, but Wilson gave it his best shot with his first assist, first goal and first wise decision to pass up a fight against Matt Carkner, who was baiting the youngster in the game’s final minutes.
“He kind of joked around that he was trying to get me the Gordie Howe (hat trick), but I don’t think my first Goldie Howe would want to be against him—he’s a pretty tough character,” said Wilson, who kept pausing between answers to put his hand to his burning eyes.
Ovechkin was obviously happy for Wilson, but the three-time NHL MVP was also all smiles about his own performance. After being sidelined for two games, he scored twice on the power play in a five-goal second period for the Capitals, who have won three straight and are above .500 for the first time this season (8-7).
“I felt pretty refreshed out there,” said Ovechkin, who has 12 goals this season. “Of course I had a few days off, had a couple of breaks, but I feel pretty good.”
John Carlson, Marcus Johansson and Alexander Urbom also scored for the Capitals, who went 4 for 6 on the power play. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists, and Braden Holtby made 34 saves.
John Tavares and Kyle Okposo scored for the Islanders, who had won two in a row. Evgeni Nabokov had 33 saves.
“Our special teams weren’t very good. Our PK has to be better,” Tavares said. “If we want to give those guys, 8 (Ovechkin) and 19 (Backstrom), those easy plays in front of the net, it’s going to make a tough night on our goaltender, and we hung him out to dry.”
Ovechkin was hurt last week when he crashed headfirst into the goalie and net in the first period of a loss at Vancouver. The Capitals won twice without him—including a 7-0 rout of the Philadelphia Flyers—and have scored 16 goals in three games.
“That had a little bit of a look like last year to me,” said Washington coach Adam Oates, recalling the team’s late surge that put the Capitals in the playoffs. “A lot of good things.”
The Capitals were in control enough for Oates to give Wilson a rare appearance on the power play in the third period. Ovechkin fed Wilson in the slot with a pass that made it look as if the two had been playing together for longer than just a couple of months.
“Pretty cool to have him pass me that first one,” Wilson said.
Even it meant his eyes would be stinging for a while.
NOTES: Washington has outscored opponents 26-13 in the second period this season. … Wilson got his first NHL point with the primary assist on Urbom’s goal. … The loss opened a four-game road trip for the Islanders. … Thomas Vanek, in his fourth game since being acquired in a trade from Buffalo, led the Islanders with seven shots.
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