NASHVILLE, Tenn. | Colin Wilson might be just 22 years old, but he knows his hockey fundamentals, and his history of the game.
With less than a minute to go and the Capitals and Predators tied 1-1, overtime seems likely. But that doesn’t stop Wilson from hustling down the puck in the offensive zone and beating John Erskine to it. Holding Erskine at bay – as the Washington defenseman loses his stick – Wilson patiently dangles and waits for teammates to join him.
Seeing Martin Erat all alone at the crease, Wilson finds him but doesn’t stop there. When goaltender Tomas Vokoun turns to stop him, Erat skates behind the net as Wilson slices toward the net. A perfect pass has no interruption, and Wilson has the game-winning goal with 24.3 seconds left.
With Brooks Laich on his back, Wilson’s shot comes with a diving finale.
“I had two guys on me – well, they were a little bit behind me, but they hooked me up. I just wanted to do a Bobby Orr finish I guess,” Wilson said, referencing the Bruins legend’s iconic Stanley Cup-winning goal from 1970.
Beating the Caps in November doesn’t reach that level of importance, but it shouldn’t take away from Wilson’s smarts and skill on the play. He turned on the jets to beat Erskine, took advantage of holes in the defense and was always on the move. Textbook in just about every way.
“[Wilson] tracks it down and loses coverage, throw it down to Marty who made a great play and pulled [Vokoun] out of the net and threw it behind him,” Predators coach Barry Trotz said. “Wilson’s big body kept coming to the net and stuck it in the net.”