Islanders unable to goad Capitals' Tom Wilson into fight
It wasn't just seeing the Capitals' road whites across the Barclays Center ice, though that certainly got the Islanders' blood flowing.
It was one Capital in particular. Tom Wilson made his presence known during the seven-game series in the first round of the playoffs last spring, especially when he ran over Lubomir Visnovsky in Game 3 and knocked the Islanders defenseman out of the series with a concussion.
He was an enemy then. Judging by the response to Wilson's presence on the ice Monday night for the Isles' final home preseason game, he's still an enemy, even though Wilson declined all invitations to fight from Eric Boulton and Scott Mayfield during the Capitals' 3-1 win.
"He kept turning me down," Boulton said. "He wasn't interested. He was scared to death."
Wilson has been charged by Capitals coach Barry Trotz with trying to stay out of the penalty box this season so the young winger can play a more varied role. The Islanders didn't seem interested in letting Wilson do that, reviving the animosity from five months ago when the Capitals ousted the Isles in seven games. The teams meet again on Sunday in Washington in the final preseason game for both clubs.
"There's a little extra jam when you face the team that knocked you out of the playoffs," Kyle Okposo said. "Sunday will be intense, but I think the first regular-season meeting will be even more intense."
Okposo, who called Wilson "an idiot" after Game 3 in April, didn't want to stir it up quite that much last night. "I don't really have too many thoughts about him," he said.
Kirill Petrov scored the lone Islanders goal and Thomas Greiss made 24 saves. But there was more meaning for the Isles in trying to get Wilson to answer for his hit on Visnovsky than there was in the final result.
"He threw some big hits on us in the playoffs, some cheap shots, and he knocked one of our best defensemen out of that series," Boulton said. "We don't forget that kind of stuff in this room."
Hickey injured. Defenseman Thomas Hickey left the game after the second period with an upper-body injury and did not return. Jack Capuano said Hickey will be evaluated on Tuesday. There is initial concern that Hickey, who has missed only one game the past two seasons, might not be ready for the Oct. 9 season opener.