Reirden: Tom Wilson's presence makes 'it a lot easier on me'

With his suspension shortened, Tom Wilson provided a much-needed boost to the Capitals Tuesday night in their 5-2 win over the Minnesota Wild, scoring a goal and helping Washington kill off five of six Wild power plays.
Ironically, however, Wilson was assessed a minor penalty for goaltender interference on his goal, something Caps coach Todd Reirden had never seen before.

Tom Wilson scores on this play. Goal counts but he gets called for goalie interference. Really? #WSHvsMIN #NHL

— MassDG (@Mass_Insight) November 14, 2018

"I've been in the game for a while as a player and as a coach now, and I can't say I've seen that before," Reirden told The Junkies Wednesday. "I have not seen that call very often in my time in the National Hockey League, so that was an interesting one."

"That was a difficult one to swallow. When the call is made, I mentioned one thing to (the officials), 'Are you sure? I haven't seen that before.' And they're like, 'Yes, that's what happened.' And I'm like, alright, I'll save my energy for other fights as the game goes on with the referees." 

"It's always something different, but it made for, at the time, a little bit of comic relief on our bench, because we were all surprised by it."

Tom Wilson assessed a goalie interference penalty for leveling the goalie on his 1st goal. He got knocked into the goalie by Ryan Suter of the Wild. But he got sent to the box anyway. #Caps

— Grant Paulsen (@granthpaulsen) November 14, 2018

Reirden went on to explain how valuable Wilson is to the Caps, both on the penalty kill and offense. 

"He's willing to block shots, his skating's so good, he's got a good stick," said Reirden. "He's rangy, and I think he's able to disrupt a lot of plays that way. And he's so strong on his clears. There's a number of things that make him a great killer, and it's an area he's grown his game in the last couple years."

"It made it a lot easier on me last night having him back in that spot (on the top line along with Alex Ovechkin and Evgeny Kuznetsov), and I think everybody just slots into their roles there, and it makes us such a tougher team to defend against."

"Now we've got four lines of guys that can add offense and can defend as well, and you saw the results last night ... as we got scoring up and down the lineup."

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