With the Caps injury issues creating some movement up and down lineup we’re having another look at “TopLine Willy” joining up with fellow beast Alex Ovechkin with the beauty of all beauts Nicklas Backstrom.
Lately, Wilson has been providing a spark with more then his fists. For the first time, some outside of DC are seeing the player and not the brute physical force that leaves boards and knees wobbling. Wilson is deceptively fast in straight lines and is using his speed to drive the lane and open up ice for Backstrom which is like giving.
The biggest benefactor 43 has, if he can maintain a position on that line, is the rest of the lineup. It provides a level of depth down through the lines. Burakovsky returning to the 3rd with Eller and Connolly has the makings of the best 3rd line in the game. Oshie playing with Kuzy instead of Backstrom spreads the “snipers” out. Not too mention 43 is a force on the forecheck. With Ovi also never afraid to throw the body around, 43 makes it very worrisome for opposing D-men to retrieve pucks dumped into either corner. Backstrom has two of the heaviest checkers in league on his line.
While I don’t expect the lines to stay the same game/shift in and out due to injuries and the Trotz factor, 43 finally taking a step towards that small but noticeable offensive flair, (that assist on Orlov’s goal vs Edmonton makes Backstrom go wow) could be the key to the Caps making another run.
And to top it off, he was excellent in the playoffs last year as well. Especially vs the Leafs with whom he seems to have a personal ” beat you with my hands and head” mentality. If the Caps played the Leafs every night, Wilson may have to wear 88.
So TopLine Tommy is working out. Let’s hope the benefactors are the 3 and 4th line.