As expected, Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson was a targeted man in St. Louis Thursday. It was the first meeting between the Capitals and the Blues since Wilson leveled forward Oskar Sundqvist in the preseason finale in September.
Wilson was suspended 20 games for an illegal check to the head. The suspension was ultimately reduced to 14 games by an independent arbitrator. Meanwhile, Sundqvist missed nearly a month due to a concussion he suffered from Wilson’s hit.
Throw in the fact that Wilson was suspended twice last season for two separate hits on Blues players, it was expected he would be a marked man.
Tension boiled over in two minutes into the second period as Blues defenseman Robert Bortuzzo challenged Wilson that led to both dropping the gloves and going to blows, as the pro-Blues crowd egged on.
Unfortunately, that was not the end of Wilson’s troubles. Just over a minute after getting out of the box Wilson got tangled with Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo, leading to both exchanging words until each was assessed a two-minute minors for roughing.
The controversial Wilson has become public enemy no. 1 in St. Louis. Knowing the severity, Wilson admitted that he’d rather not make a hit in fear of it being deemed illegal and that would sit out future preseason games against the Blues, per Andy Strickland of Fox Sports Midwest.
In the game, Wilson missed two chances to extract revenge failing to score on a pair of shorthanded breakaways. The Capitals needed them as the woeful Blues shocked the defending Stanley Cup champions 5-2