Earlier in the week, Toronto coach Mike Babcock was asked how the Leafs would game plan for Tom Wilson during their first round series with the Capitals.
“Nothing against [Tom], because he works hard and all that, but he’s not as big of concern as a lot of people on their team,” Babcock replied.
Babcock might want a mulligan on that quote. Five minutes and fifteen seconds into overtime of Game One, Wilson scored the sudden-victory tally — an unstoppable snipe from the boards, sending Verizon Center into euphoria.
You guys, Tom Wilson’s first NHL postseason goal in 29 playoff games was an overtime game-winner.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) April 14, 2017
Leafs defenseman Martin Marincin tried to clear the puck, but Wilson caught it off the glass with his right glove and flipped it back onto the ice. He put his head down and ripped a shot past Frederik Andersen glove side.
What a shot.
The goal was unassisted.
The celebration was epic.
“In overtime, everyone throws pucks at the net and you see big goals in the past just find their way in,” Wilson said after the game via RMNB’s Chris Gordon “I put my head down, took a quick look, and ripped it. Honestly I haven’t even watched it. I got punched in the head about 30 times after the goal went in.”
Wilson, who grew up in Toronto, was a childhood Leafs fan. That made Thursday’s goal even more special.
“I always like playing the Leafs,” Wilson said. “Hopefully we can play them and get rid of ’em.”
And, now on top of series 1-0, Whip took Babcock’s comments in stride. “He’s gonna coach the same way, I’m gonna play the same way,” Wilson said of the Leafs’ coach. “I’m trying to take the high road here. I see it obviously because my phone’s not off. It comes through. I get people sending me it. I’m not gonna deny I saw it. Honestly it’s a pretty true quote. He’s got a point. Ovi, Nicky, Osh, Kuzy — there are other guys they have to worry about. I’m glad that he said I worked hard. That’s a compliment.”
Chris Gordon contributed to this article.
Headline photo: @MonSportsNet