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Tom Wilson puts his butt on the line for the Caps

Tom Wilson puts his butt on the line for the Caps

It wasn’t ideal shot-blocking form, but Tom Wilson wasn’t worried about aesthetics when threw himself in front of a Michael Del Zotto slap shot in the second period of Saturday’s 2-1 overtime win against the Flyers.

The blast, taken from the top of circle, ended up striking Wilson on his backside—just to the side of the padding that protects the tailbone.

In other words, the location couldn't have been worse.

“It’s sore. It actually hit me right beside my pad, right on the tailbone,” he said before cracking: “I got a pretty funny mark there that the boys are enjoying.”

RELATED: Shattenkirk, Oshie struggle to remember secret handshake

Wilson, though, did not allow the discomfort to prevent him from producing one of his most effective performances of the season.

“Tom had a real terrific game,” Coach Barry Trotz said.

Although Wilson didn’t factor into either goal, he was all over the score sheet. The fourth line winger had two shots on goal, one of which skittered just inches from going into the net. He notched a game-high nine hits. He also drew a penalty and took one, too.

“I thought there was a little bit of sell job on the penalty,” Trotz said of Wilson’s roughing minor on Brandon Manning in the third period. “At the same time, I think the guys on the bench said, ‘Hey, Tom’s killed a lot of penalties [this season]. We didn’t deserve that one. Let’s get this killed.’”

Wilson also played an integral role in shutting down the Flyers’ top line of Jordan Weal-Claude Giroux-Wayne Simmonds.

“Tom did a really good job of keeping that line in tow,” Trotz said. “He sorta set the tone. Simmonds and Giroux are emotional players. They are physical. They are in your face. They play hard. And Tom, [Jay Beagle] and [Daniel Winnik] had a real terrific game shutting that line down.”

But the defining moment of the night for Wilson was the blocked shot. For a couple of reasons: game situation and the price he paid for it.

The block—his only one of the night—came early in the second period of a scoreless game. The contest was chippy and physical and tight-checking and...teetering.

And that’s why Wilson found a way to get in front of the shot.

As he knelt on the ice in discomfort, several teammates came over and tapped him with their sticks as a way of saying, 'Thanks.' Right on the butt, of course.

Wilson did not miss a shift.

“The only happy part is that when it hits you, it’s not getting through you,” Wilson said. “But I think you’ve got to be a bit of psycho if you like taking the rubber and blocking those shots.”

He added: “But you pay the price, get in the way. A lot of this club will do that. That’s what makes us so good. We pay the price for the team and for [Braden Holtby] whenever we can we try to get in the way and turn that shot away.”

MORE CAPITALS: Caps survive slugfest to extend home win streak

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Capitals vs. Penguins: Game 3 time, TV channel, how to watch, live stream

Capitals vs. Penguins: Game 3 time, TV channel, how to watch, live stream

Down 2-0 in the series, the Caps now face the daunting task of trying to battle back against the Pittsburgh Penguins in Pittsburgh. Following their loss in Game 2, the team held a players-only meeting. Will the message resonate and lead to a big performance in Game 3?

After giving up three goals in the second period on Saturday, Braden Holtby was pulled for Philipp Grubauer. On Monday, however, it will be Holtby in net to start again for Washington as he tries to find his Vezina form. Kevin Shattenkirk will also look for a bounce-back game after a tough start to the series. He now sits with a team-low plus/minus rating of minus-7.

Karl Alzner remains day-to-day. If he is ready to play Monday, could Barry Trotz choose to dress seven defensemen?

RELATED: CAPITALS vs. PENGUINS PLAYOFF PREVIEW

CAPITALS VS. PENGUINS GAME 3 HOW TO WATCH

Who: Washington Capitals vs. Pittsburgh Penguins
What: Game 3 2017 NHL Stanley Cup Playoffs, Eastern Conference Second Round
When: 7:30 p.m. ET on Monday, May 1
Where: PPG Paints Arena, Pittsburgh, Pa.
Online Stream: NBCSN's live stream pagee. Watch Caps GameTime at 6:30 p.m. and Caps Extra following the game with CSN's live stream page here.
TV Channel: NBC Sports Network
Radio: 1500 AM (Capitals Radio Network)

RELATED: STANLEY CUP POWER RANKINGS

WHEN IS CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3?

The Capitals and Penguins square off in Game 3 of their 2017 second-round playoff series on Monday, May 1 at 7:30 p.m. ET.

WHAT CHANNEL IS CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3 ON?

Game 3 of the Capitals-Penguins series will be broadcast on NBC and CBC in Canada.

WHERE CAN I STREAM CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3?

Capitals-Penguins Game 3 is available to stream live here through NBCSN's live stream page. Caps GameTime and Caps Extra pre and postgame shows are available to stream live here through CSN's live stream page.

WHAT ARE THE LINES FOR CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3?

Here are the projected lines for Capitals-Penguins Game 3:

CAPITALS

Forwards
Alex Ovechkin - Nicklas Backstrom - T.J. Oshie
Marcus Johansson - Evgeny Kuznetsov - Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky - Lars Eller - Tom Wilson
Daniel Winnik - Jay Beagle - Paul Carey

Defense
Nate Schmidt - John Carlson
Dmitry Orlov - Matt Niskanen
Brooks Orpik - Kevin Shattenkirk

Goalies
Braden Holtby starts with Philipp Grubauer as backup

Scratches
Brett Connolly, Karl Alzner, Taylor Chorney

PITTSBURGH PENGUINS GAME 1 LINES

Forwards
Jake Guentzel - Sidney Crosby - Phil Kessel
Bryan Rust - Evgeni Malkin - Conor Sheary
Carl Hagelin - Nick Bonino - Scott Wilson
Chris Kunitz - Matt Cullen - Tom Kuhnhackl

Defense
Ian Cole - Justin Schultz
Brian Dumoulin - Ron Hainsey
Olli Maatta - Trevor Daley

Goalies
Marc-Andre Fleury starts with Tristan Jarry as backup

Scratches
Patric Hornqvist, Carter Rowney, Mark Streit, Chad Ruhwedel, Matt Murray

RELATED: 2017 STANLEY CUP PLAYOFF PREDICTIONS

CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3 BETTING LINES

Stanley Cup Odds: Capitals 7/2 (+350), Penguins 17/4 (+425)
Game 3 Spread: Capitals +1.5
Game 3 Over/Under: 5.5 goals
Game 3 Money Line: Capitals (+105), Penguins (-125)

CAPITALS-PENGUINS GAME 3 OPEN THREAD

Use the comment section below to discuss the game action with other Capitals fans. 

CSN ON TWITTER:
— CSN's official Capitals account CSN Capitals 
— Capitals Insider Tarik El-Bashir
— Capitals Digital Producer JJ Regan
— Capitals Desk Producer Troy Machir

Be sure to check out CSN's Facebook page, and CSN's Instagram account

Keep up with all the action here with Capitals GameZone and join in on the conversation here with Capitals Pulse.

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Barry Trotz puts option of dressing seven defensemen on the table

Barry Trotz puts option of dressing seven defensemen on the table

Karl Alzner has been out of the lineup since Game 2 of the Capitals’ first-round series with the Toronto Maple Leafs. Just who he will replace in the lineup when he is ready to return, however, has become a topic of debate as Nate Schmidt has played well in his place and the Caps need his speed against a quick Pittsburgh Penguins team.

RELATED: Trotz says Shattenkirk's play is 'mooring' Caps' third pair

It has been speculated recently that perhaps head coach Barry Trotz could elect to dress seven defensemen. That sounds like a drastic option, but it is one Trotz has experience with having utilized it at times as head coach of the Nashville Predators.

“I've done it before and done it very successfully,” Trotz said on Friday. “... I found in my previous life that I didn't have as many offensive weapons that gave me an opportunity to put an offensive weapon in there a little bit more often in a regular rotation.”

Dressing seven defensemen would mean only 11 forwards, but Trotz seems to only be utilizing that many anyway. Paul Carey skated only 5:40 in Game 2. He was playing in place of Brett Connolly who played 6:07, 5:34, 6:12 and 4:26 in his last four games.

Alzner is considered day-to-day and there’s no timetable for when he may be able to return. If he were able to play in Game 3 or 4, however, given that the Caps are facing a series deficit and seem to be in need of some sort of spark, perhaps shifting the lineup to seven defensemen could be just what the doctor ordered.

“I'm fine with the seven D,” Trotz said. “If we have to go there, we'll go there. As a coach, you have to mix and match a little bit. I don't have any problem with that.”

MORE CAPITALS: Barry Trotz commits to Braden Holtby for Game 3