Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson is playing for a chance to immortalize himself as one of the few men in history who have managed to win hockey's coveted Stanley Cup Championship and while the situation might get the better of some Wilson is not only rising to the challenge but he is playing like a man possessed in the opening moments of Game 5.
At the time of this writing neither the Capitals nor the Las Vegas Golden Knights have been able to break the ice but nonetheless the Capitals were able to send a message early courtesy of the physical play of Wilson. Wilson delivered not one but two thunderous body checks in the opening minutes of Game 5 and both of them looked like they left the opposing Golden Knights player on the receiving end of them feeling the worse for wear.
The first hit was a bone crunching hit on 28 year old Golden Knights defenseman Luca Sbisa along the boards as Sbisa was attempting to help his team transition out of their own zone and up the ice. Wilson sent Sbisa flying into the boards and knocked him down to his knees in the process, but to his credit Sbisa wasted close to no time in bouncing back up although he would quickly make his way back to the bench.
The second hit was on Golden Knights star forward William Karlsson and this was by far the more punishing of the two blows. Wilson caught Karlsson face to face as he was coming down the ice and absolutely leveled him, sending him crashing to the ice on his back. Initially there was some concern that there had been contact made by Wilson's arm to Karlsson's head to the movement of Karlsson's head on the hit, but it appears that the impact of the hit merely caused the men to bump one another's helmets. Much like Sbisa Karlsson did a good job of shaking it off but he did so considerably more gingerly and that's understandable given the force of the impact on the second hit.
There's a good chance that the Golden Knights are going to be acutely aware of where Wilson is at all times for the remainder of the game.