WASHINGTON, D.C — Washington Capitals winger T.J. Oshie sported a smile and two bloody stitches near the inside corner of his left eye following Wednesday’s 2-1 victory over the Penguins as he tried to put into words what just happened.
“I don’t know if I’ve ever had [a game] like that,” the right winger said.
Oshie’s evening consisted of quite a few trips up and down the dressing room tunnel – including once due to a high stick that gave him the cut and once from an illegal check to the head – and scoring the game-winning goal.
With just 1:14 to go in regulation in a tie game, he settled John Carlson’s pass and fired the puck top shelf past Pens goalie Casey DeSmith to secure the Caps come-from-behind win. It marked his eighth goal, and third game-winner, this season.
“Guys like him, leaders like him, they know when to show up,” noted Washington netminder Braden Holtby. “You can tell once he stepped back on the ice, he had a mission to score and give it to them that way.”
While the high stick Oshie took in the first period saw him leave the ice with his left eye closed and a visible cut, it was what happened in the final 10 minutes of regulation that quieted the arena. With the Penguins on the power play, Evgeni Malkin crossed the blue line as Oshie skated towards him. Seconds after Malkin passed the puck he appeared to throw his shoulder into Oshie’s head, sending the Warroad, MN native flying.
Malkin gets a major for this hit on Oshie, who went to the room pic.twitter.com/vUsRGLBbOL
— CJ Fogler (@cjzero) November 8, 2018
As Oshie went off to go through concussion protocol, Malkin was assessed a five-minute match penalty for an illegal check to the head resulting in a game misconduct. It was pretty apparent that he did not agree with the call as he was visibly angry and kicked things out of his way as he argued his case the entire way to the locker room.
Penguins head coach Mike Sullivan refused to comment on the play but Capitals head coach Todd Reirden believed the hit was an intentional shot to the head that will surely be analyzed again.
“That’s one of those [hits] that the league is definitely going to take a look at,” Reirden said. “That’s definitely a blow to the head…Those are things we’re trying to remove from the game. Of all teams, we know that from dealing with it on the other end.”
Oshie left the game to go through concussion protocol, which included a lot of “looking at the clock,” and taking steps to prove there’s were no signs of head injury in order to return to action as quickly as possible. Although he did admit that it was frustrating not being on the ice, it served as motivation that led to his clutch goal in a Paul Kariya-esque style.
“You get a little fired up when you’re not allowed to be out there and you’ve got to watch your teammates,” Oshie said. “You want to be in there and try to help.”
“Never want to see a teammate in that situation, but the term ‘warrior’ is brought up, and that’s T.J. Oshie to a tee,” Holtby added.
Oshie not eligible to be hit; Malkin makes contact directly to Oshie’s head. Interference. Hit to the head. Take your pick. https://t.co/XfgISqVfYY
— Bob McKenzie (@TSNBobMcKenzie) November 8, 2018
Meanwhile, controversy surrounds whether or not Malkin’s will receive a suspension from the NHL’s Department of Player Safety. However, if the past month has shown us anything, there’s a good chance he will have to sit a game or two.
Regardless, Oshie isn’t concerned with the fallout and is looking to get over all the aspects of the hit as quickly as possible.
“[It’s] not my concern anymore,” Oshie said. “We got the ‘W.’ I don’t care what happens to him.”