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Tom Wilson gets sore hands, but avoids injury after fight with Nashville's Austin Watson

Tom Wilson gets sore hands, but avoids injury after fight with Nashville's Austin Watson

Thursday’s game didn’t feature much offense, but Tom Wilson gave the home crowd plenty to cheer about in the third period with his fight against Nashville forward Austin Watson.

Watson seemed to take exception to a hit Wilson delivered to Mattias Ekholm. Watson immediately made a beeline for Wilson and both players dropped the gloves.

You can watch the fight in the video above.

As you would expect, Wilson was feeling the effects the next day.

“The right [hand’s] a little sore for sure,” Wilson said. “A little bit achy, but that's the way it goes. I get a day here and hopefully they feel a little better tomorrow morning.”

RELATED: Burky is officially back for the Caps

Wilson’s left thumb was taped for practice, but his right hand, the hand he used to inflict punishment on Watson, was not.

It’s no surprise to hear that his hands were hurting a little bit. You can see from the fight that Wilson landed a few punches square to the helmet of Watson, but it seems Wilson avoided serious injury.

If you’re curious how someone continues throwing haymakers after delivering a shot to the helmet, Wilson explained, “When you're in a fight, helmet, face, it all kind of feels the same when you're hitting it.”

“I hit him a couple right on the chin and then after the fight your hand's sore a little bit,” Wilson added. “You don't think back and think, oh it must have been helmet. In that type of fight, you're just kind of throwing and he's in trouble and you're just kind of throwing everything you've got into it. It's just part of it.”

There’s no doubt that fighting is not nearly as prevalent in today’s NHL than in years past, but there certainly have been more fisticuffs of late. Wilson has been in eight fights this season, three of which have come in the Caps’ last 10 games.

“The west seems to have a few more guys in their lineup that are willing to go,” Wilson said. “The east, in our division you don't see a ton of that. That being said, fighting's definitely kind of declined a little bit this year so when a guy's willing and it's the right moment, you've got to keep some of it around for sure.”

While Wilson is never shy about answewring the bell, he does perhaps need to be careful. With all the hits to the helmet, Wilson could easily have broken a hand Thursday. The last thing the Caps need right now before the playoffs is another injury.

Sure, Wilson’s a fourth-line player, but Andre Burakovsky is a third-line player and his absence has clearly disrupted the team.

Luckily for Wilson and the team, he walked away from Thursday’s game without serious injury. Just some sore hands and clearly, he’s not too worried about sore hands.

Said Wilson, “You don't hear guys complaining about the hands. It's better your hand's sore than your face.”

MORE CAPITALS: Check out the latest edition of the Capitals Faceoff Podcast!

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Brett Connolly

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates.

First, we previewed Tom Wilson.

Today we are looking at Brett Connolly.

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF BRETT CONNOLLY IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

2017-18 CAPITALS BREAKOUT CANDIDATE: Brett Connolly

Position: Right Wing
Age: 25
NHL Seasons: 6 (276 games)
2016-17 Stats: 15 goals, 8 assists, +20 plus/minus

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview: 
After playing the last three seasons on one-year deals, Connolly finally has a little security after inking a two-year, $3 million contract with the Caps earlier this month.

It’s a hefty raise over the $850,000 he earned last season, and it’s emblematic of the higher expectations that he’ll shoulder in 2017-18.

Connolly’s first season in Washington was a strange one. It began with him sitting out as a healthy scratch, and it ended with him sitting out as a healthy scratch. But in between, the former first round pick was remarkably efficient, scoring a career-high 15 goals in 66 games, while skating fewer than 11 minutes per.

Next season, Connolly’s role and playing time are expected to increase … and so, too, are his numbers.

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Maturity: "He's finally settling in and understands what it means to be a pro hockey player. He feels like this is a good fit for him. He's ready to handle the increased pressure and increased responsibillity."

2.  Comfort Level: "He feels like Washington is where he wants to be. He has a nose for the net, and with that comfort level now with this team, that natural scoring abillity I expect will come through."

Prediction: Total Points
Tarik: 21 goal, 16 assists
Jill: 20 goals, 18 assists

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

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Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Capitals 2017-18 Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

As we skate toward the start of the 2017-18 NHL Regular Season, our CSN Capitals team of Jill Sorenson and Tarik El-Bashir detail and analyze the Capitals roster.

They will take a look at breakout candidates, prospects on the rise, players in need of improvement and a look at the rest of the Metropolitan Division, all leading up to the start of the NHL regular season.

Up first are the Capitals breakout candidates. The first of the three selections is Tom Wilson. 

YOU CAN WATCH TARIK AND JILL'S FULL BREAKDOWN OF TOM WILSON IN THE VIDEO PLAYER ABOVE.

RELATED: TEN BEST CAPITALS PLAYERS OF ALL-TIME

2017-18 Capitals Breakout Candidate: Tom Wilson

Position: Right Wing
Age: 23
NHL Seasons: 4 (313 games)
2016-17 Stats: 7 goals, 12 assists, 133 penalty minutes

Tarik El-Bashir's Breakout Preview:
After mustering only seven goals in 82 regular season games, Tom Wilson scored three times against his hometown Maple Leafs in the opening round of the playoffs.

Was the offensive outburst a blip, or the start of a trend? The Caps, obviously, hope it’s the latter—and there’s reason to believe it could happen. The 23-year-old former first rounder is entering a contract year but, more important, he’s expected to play a bigger role in 2017-18. Bigger role + better linemates + more ice time = more goal production.

Makes sense, right?

Jill Sorenson's Keys to Breakout:
1.  Health: "This will be only his third season fully healthy. I look at that, from a chronological standpoint as a reason to up his production."
2.  Responsibility: "He would be a good addition on the power play in front of the net. he has that net-front pressence and they like when he plays on a line with Alex Ovechkin."

Prediction: Over/Under 18 Goals
Tarik: 18. Push.
Jill: 21. Over.