Washington Capitals rookie forward Tom Wilson will be making his NHL debut in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Quarterfinal against the New York Rangers on Friday night, head coach Adam Oates announced Friday.
Oates is hoping that Wilson can provide the Capitals a spark after dropping consecutive games in New York. The series returns to Washington tied at two games.
Wilson will be replacing injured forward Martin Erat who sustained an upper-body injury while making a defensive play in Game 4. While Washington has specifically identified the issue, it appeared as though Erat injured his wrist.
The Capitals recalled Wilson and forward Joey Crabb from the Hershey Bears of the American Hockey League on Thursday afternoon.
Wilson was selected by Washington with the No. 16 overall selection in the 2012 NHL Draft. In 48 regular-season games with the Plymouth Whalers of the Ontario Hockey League, Wilson compiled 58 points (23 goals, 35 assists). During the team's 12-game playoff run, Wilson added another 17 points (nine goals, eight assists). After the OHL playoffs, Wilson was called up to the Bears for their playoff run.
Due to junior eligibility rules, Wilson can play in five games with the Capitals this postseason before the first year of his entry-level contract begins.
In terms of Erat, Oates stated that the forward felt significantly better. An MRI determined that he didn't sustain any kind of break. However, he will not play on Friday night.