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Tom Wilson Earns First Two NHL Points, Flashes Glimpse of Potential

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Caps' Wilson Earns First NHL Points

AP

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Tom Wilson never saw it coming.

As a throng of reporters and television cameras surrounded the Washington Capitals' 19-year-old right wing after he earned the first two points of his NHL career -- a goal and an assist in Washington's 6-2 drubbing of the New York Islanders -- Alex Ovechkin snuck up behind him, shaving cream pie in hand.

Just as an unsuspecting Wilson began to discuss his memorable evening, Ovechkin struck, shoving the foam into Wilson's face before scampering back into the shower room, burning the rookie's eyes.

Then again, Wilson may have never seen the opportunity to score his first-ever goal coming either.

With a three-goal cushion providing leeway, Coach Adam Oates threw Wilson out on the power play, and before he was on the receiving end of a rookie baptism presided over by Ovechkin, he was on the receiving end of an Ovechkin centering pass that he was able to tip past Evgeni Nabokov to reach the milestone.

“I’ll definitely remember that,” Wilson said. “What a player, what a guy. Pretty cool to have him pass it to me for that first one.”

Added Ovechkin: “I hope he continues what he’s doing. He deserves it. He’s a hard-working guy. I’m happy for him.”

Wilson's goal was not the only impressive play he made Tuesday. Perhaps even more impressive was his second-period assist, one in which he had the wherewithal to push a pass towards the point as he slid across the ice in the opposite direction, setting up Alexander Urbom's blast for his first goal of the season and as a Capital.

Islanders tough guy Matt Carkner offered Wilson a chance to earn the Gordie Howe Hat Trick -- a goal, assist and fight -- in the waning moments of regulation, but the teenager, perhaps displaying maturity beyond his 19 years, declined.

"He kind of joked around that he was trying to get me the Gordie Howe, but I don't think my first Gordie Howe would want to be against him," Wilson said of Carkner. "He's a pretty tough character."

The Capitals drafted Wilson with the 16th overall pick in the 2012 NHL Draft with the hope that he can one day develop into a formidable power forward with snarl and skill. Through 14 games entering Tuesday, they had seen plenty of the former as the teenager led Washington with 30 penalty minutes and four fighting majors in limited ice time. Against the Islanders, however, the Capitals finally caught sight of the skill that made Wilson -- who scored 23 goals in 48 games last season for his junior team in Plymouth, Mi. -- so enticing last summer. 

Washington's decision to retain Wilson this season remains one of the more polarizing issues surrounding the team so far, but on Tuesday, he flashed a glimpse of his true potential.

"I didn’t expect it to go that way, but great for him," Oates said. "He made a great play on [Urbom’s] goal. He’s done a lot of good things for us, and I’m obviously very happy for him to get that first one.”


Follow Adam on Twitter @AdamVingan and e-mail your story ideas to adamvingan (at) gmail.com.

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