Tom Wilson could make his NHL debut for the Washington Capitals in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinals Friday, judging from line rushes at Thursday’s practice.
Wilson, the Caps’ No. 2 prospect, was called up from the American Hockey League’s Hershey Bears and skated with Matt Hendricks and Jay Beagle on the fourth line. Fellow Bears call-up Joey Crabb worked with the extra forwards, Wojtek Wolski, Aaron Volpatti and Brooks Laich.
Coach Adam Oates would not confirm that Wilson will play Friday, instead pointing to Crabb, Wojtek Wolski and Aaron Volpatti as other options.
“They all had white jerseys on,” Oates said. “He just went with those two guys. No definitive plan yet.”
Wilson had nine goals and eight assists in 12 Ontario Hockey League playoff games for the Plymouth Whalers. He had a goal in three Calder Cup playoff games for the Bears.
Wilson would replace injured left wing Martin Erat in the lineup against the New York Rangers. Erat suffered an apparent left wrist or forearm injury in the first period of the Caps’ Game 4 loss Wednesday night at Madison Square Garden.
Oates did not have a further update on Erat, saying the team was waiting to get results of an MRI. He will not play in Game 5.
The Hershey Bears were eliminated Wednesday night by the Providence Bruins. Crabb and Wilson found out on the bus that they were heading to Washington and made the drive from Hershey on Thursday morning.
Here’s a look at the lines from Thursday’s practice in Arlington:
Marcus Johansson - Nicklas Backstrom - Alex Ovechkin
Eric Fehr - Mike Ribeiro - Troy Brouwer
Jason Chimera - Mathieu Perreault - Joel Ward
Matt Hendricks - Jay Beagle - Tom Wilson
Aaron Volpatti - Brooks Laich - Wojtek Wolski - Joey Crabb
Karl Alzner - Mike Green
John Erskine - John Carlson
Jack Hillen - Steve Oleksy
Tom Poti - Jeff Schultz