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Emotional T.J. Oshie lifts the Washington Capitals past Rangers in fight-filled contest

May 5, 2021; New York, New York, USA;  Brendan Smith #42 of the New York Rangers chats with Zdeno Chara #33 of the Washington Capitals during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit:  Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports
May 5, 2021; New York, New York, USA; Brendan Smith #42 of the New York Rangers chats with Zdeno Chara #33 of the Washington Capitals during the second period at Madison Square Garden. Mandatory Credit: Bruce Bennett/POOL PHOTOS-USA TODAY Sports

T.J. Oshie, playing the day after the death of his father, registered a hat trick Wednesday night as the visiting Washington Capitals beat the New York Rangers 4-2 in a clash that featured 141 penalty minutes and the injury-related exit of Capitals enforcer Tom Wilson.

The Capitals wore “Coach” decals on their helmets — and head coach Peter Laviolette wore one on his lapel — in honor of Tim Oshie, who died Tuesday at the age of 56 following a long battle with Alzheimer’s disease.

T.J. Oshie, who celebrated the Capitals’ Stanley Cup win with his father on the ice in Las Vegas in 2018, traveled home to Seattle to visit with Tim on Monday. The younger Oshie appeared to be crying on the Washington bench after he completed the hat trick by scoring an empty-netter with 1:40 left.

Nic Dowd scored in the second for the Capitals (34-14-5, 73 points) who moved into a tie for first place in the East Division with the idle Pittsburgh Penguins. Goalie Vitek Vanecek made 19 saves.

Alexis Lafreniere and Morgan Barron scored for the Rangers (26-22-6, 58 points), who played hours after the firing of team president John Davidson and general manager Jeff Gorton. Alexandar Georgiev recorded 31 saves.

Oshie’s pair of power-play goals in the second followed one of the feistiest periods in recent memory.

The teams faced off roughly 48 hours after Wilson punched Pavel Buchnevich in the back of the head and twice pulled a helmet-less Artemi Panarin to the ice during a skirmish in front of the Capitals’ net in the second period of Washington’s 6-3 win. The Rangers on Tuesday tweeted their disgust with the NHL after Wilson was fined $5,000 — the maximum amount allowed by the collective bargaining agreement — for punching Buchnevich but was not suspended.

In a Slap Shot-esque scene, six players — Washington’s Dowd, Carl Hagelin and Garnet Hathaway, along with New York’s Kevin Rooney, Colin Blackwell and Phillip Di Giuseppe — fought one second after Wednesday’s faceoff.

Wilson stepped on to the ice for his first shift less than a minute into the game and was almost immediately challenged by Brendan Smith, who was assessed a 10-minute instigator penalty following the fight. Two more brawls broke out before Wilson was slashed by Buchnevich with 4:04 left in the period. Wilson and Rooney were then each assessed 10-minute misconducts after appearing to jaw at one another.

The Capitals announced at the start of the second period Wilson would not return because of an upper-body injury.

–Field Level Media