The NHL’s Department of Player Safety suspended Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson for three games on Wednesday evening as a result of his hit on Zach Aston-Reese in Tuesday night’s Game 3 against the Pittsburgh Penguins.
In explaining the decision, DOPS described Wilson’s action as “[elevating] up and into” the hit, causing Aston-Reese’s head to be the main point of contact. Aston-Reese suffered a broken jaw and concussion, and is out for the season. DOPS also explained that the hit was unavoidable on Aston-Reese’s part, adding Wilson’s status as a repeat offender and Aston-Reese’s injury as mitigating factors in the ruling.
The suspension, the third of Wilson’s career after two early in the 2017-18 campaign, could mean that T.J. Oshie will slot up to the first line with Alex Ovechkin and centered by Evgeny Kuznetsov. It may also be an opportunity for speedy winger Shane Gersich to enter the lineup and allow increased minutes for Jakub Vrana.
Game 4 is on Thursday night and Game 5 on Saturday; both start at 7 p.m. Faceoff times for Games 6 and 7, if necessary, are yet to be announced.