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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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Playoffs Power Rankings: On to Round two

Playoffs Power Rankings: On to Round two

And then there were eight.

The Caps’ Game 6 victory on Sunday brought to a close the first round of the playoffs. Already, the field looks entirely different than many anticipated.

Washington came into the postseason as the team to beat, but the Caps were given all they could handle by the Toronto Maple Leafs. The Pittsburgh Penguins, meanwhile, made short work of the Columbus Blue Jackets in what was expected to be one of the most competitive series of the first round. This begs the question, are the Penguins now the frontrunners in the East despite ceding home-ice advantage to Washington and not having Kris Letang?

SEE THE UPDATED STANLEY CUP PLAYOFFS POWER RANKINGS HERE

The West is now wide open after the Nashville Predators’ stunning sweep of the Chicago Blackhawks. Coming into the playoffs, the St. Louis Blues had the longest odds of any team to win the Cup because their path went through the top two seeds in the West. The Blues dispatched the Minnesota Wild in just five games and Chicago is already out. If you put money on St. Louis, you’re probably feeling pretty good right now.

But did Nashville’s sweep show that they are now the frontrunners in the West?

And let's not forget about the Pacific. The Anaheim Ducks have yet to lose this postseason after a sweep of the Calgary Flames while Connor McDavid and the Edmonton Oilers are out to prove that experience is overrated.

Find out where all eight of the remaining teams stand in this week’s Stanley Cup Playoffs Power Rankings.

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Prediction recap: Washington survives Toronto's best shot

Prediction recap: Washington survives Toronto's best shot

The Maple Leafs made a push for Game 7, but in the end they fell in Game 6 as the Caps took the game and the series on Sunday.

Here's a recap of the three bold predictions.

1. Toronto will score in the third period - Correct

The hockey gods would not allow this prediction to be wrong. Did you see that bounce off the boards? Not only did it bounce right into the danger area right in front of the bench, it went to the Maple Leafs’ leading scorer in Auston Matthews.

RELATED: 3 key observations: Caps save their best for last

2. Someone will take a penalty against Alex Ovechkin - Wrong

Give Mike Babcock all the credit in the world. Every point where you thought lack of experience would hurt Toronto, it didn’t. That speaks to coaching. I thought the Maple Leafs would try to coax a penalty out of Ovechkin, but would get carried away. Yet, despite their inexperience and the pressure of the moment, Toronto remained very disciplined.

3. If Toronto leads after the first period, the series is going 7 games - Push

For the first time all series, the score after the first period was 0-0. Both teams had chances but looked more tentative than they had earlier in the series. They recognized what was at stake on Sunday and affected the play to a degree.

2017 Results: I expected to see Toronto’s best push in Game 6 and I was not sure how the Caps would respond. Washington’s response late in the game was very impressive and a great sign for Caps fans going forward in the postseason.

Correct: 8
Wrong: 9
Push: 1

MORE CAPITALS: Capitals vs. Penguins schedule announced