The Capitals won't have Tom Wilson back until game 7 of this series. Let me repeat that again for clarity...The Capitals. Won't have. Tom Wilson. Back. Until game 7. What I did not say is, "The Capitals won't have Peter Bondra back until game 7."
Wilson is a valuable part of the Capitals lineup. He plays on their top line, is a great penalty killer, and is the most physical player on the team.
After game three T.J. Oshie said, "I think any time 43 (Wilson) is out of the lineup you feel that loss. He's become such a good player for us. It's not an easy thing to have him out of the lineup and be the same team."
That's all true. Wilson wins puck battles, can chip in a bit offensively and has good chemistry with Ovechkin and Kuznetsov. But contrast what Oshie said with what Mike Sullivan said about the Penguins losing Evgeni Malkin, "What I like about our team is no one is looking for excuses. They're looking for answers."
The Penguins won game 1 without Malkin and Carl Hagelin. That's two-thirds of their second line. The Penguins did what they always seem to do under Mike Sullivan, they "just played."
Here are the players on the Capitals who are better than Tom Wilson: Ovechkin, Backstrom, Kuznetsov, Oshie, Carlson, Eller. They're not missing Adam Oates. If the Capitals can't find a way to win without Wilson, then they were never a great team to begin with.
If the Capitals do find a way to win the series then they better hang another banner in Capital One Arena. It would go down as one of the great sports triumphs of all time. Well, at least that's what those in Washington will tell you.