Published On: Thu, Dec 7th, 2017

Wilson proving an unlikely complement to Ovechkin, Backstrom

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Washington Capitals head coach Barry Trotz has juggled his lines more this season than perhaps any other bench boss in the NHL, but he may have finally found a trio that could stick: Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom, and … Tom Wilson?

Yes, Wilson, the team’s bodyguard, has gelled with two of the league’s most skilled players. Heading into Wednesday night’s tilt with the Chicago Blackhawks, the line had already proved to be one of the team’s best (only lines with at least 50 five-on-five minutes together were included):

Stat Result Team rank
CF% 55.94 3rd
GF% 75 2nd
xG+/- 0.5 2nd
P+/- +5 1st

CF% = Corsi For percentage
GF% = Goals For percentage
xG+/- = Expected goals plus/minus
P+/- = Penalty differential

These numbers are about to rise, as Ovechkin, Backstrom, and Wilson each notched a goal in the first period of their meeting with the Hawks. In fact, with assists on both Backstrom and Ovechkin’s goals, Wilson tied a career high with the three-point night. His only other three-point game also came against Chicago.

If Wilson can stick on this line, the 23-year-old should easily surpass his career high of 23 points while providing Washington’s top unit with a physical element.

(Stats courtesy: Corsica)

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