In his first game against Pittsburgh since throwing Jamie Oleksiak and dropped the gloves for a fight.last postseason, Wilson's presence was felt almost immediately. Shortly after coming off the bench for his first shift in the opening period, Wilson skated right over to Pens' defenseman
Oleksiak is one of the NHL's most towering players at 6-foot-7, 250 lbs. but it was Wilson -- one of the NHL's roughest and most controversial players -- who came away with a quick victory in the first period tilt. It didn't end well for Oleksiak, who was shaken up after being dropped with a strong right hand to the face.
Oleksiak was helped off the ice by Pittsburgh's training staff and he didn't return in the first period.
Wilson hasn't faced the Penguins since Game 3 of last year's second-round series between the Caps and Pens, when he delivered a brutal, high hit on Aston-Reese that broke the young forward's jaw and gave him a concussion. Wilson would end up being suspended three games for the hit, causing him to miss the rest of the series. Wilson was also suspended for the Capitals' first two matchups against the Penguins this season as the result of a different hit.
It was always likely to be Oleksiak -- the Penguins' biggest player -- who challenged Wilson for retribution. In fact, Oleksiak repeatedly challenged Wilson to fight in the direct aftermath of the Game 3 hit last spring, a request that was denied by Wilson. Those rejections led Penguins general manager Jim Rutherford to give some strong postgame quotes.
"When Jamie challenged Wilson, he couldn't run quick enough to get away from him," Rutherford told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette in May. "Until, of course, the referees get in close, then [Wilson] comes back and says something to him."
It appears Wilson was rather eager to correct the record there. The Capitals forward had a quote of his own directed towards the Penguins prior to Wednesday's game in Washington, and it was a rather simple one.
"They don't like us, we don't like them," Wilson said. "There's your quote."
You don't say, huh?