Capitals' Wilson not looking for 'physical' opener vs. Rangers

Patrick McDermott / National Hockey League / Getty

Washington Capitals winger Tom Wilson isn't thinking about dropping the gloves against the New York Rangers when their season kicks off on Wednesday night.

In fact, he's looking at the bigger picture.

"Having a big, physical first night with the Rangers isn't where we want to be this year," Wilson said Wednesday, according to The Athletic. "We have a lot of goals. I want to score goals. I want to be a leader. I want to take on more responsibility and get our team to the playoffs and hopefully more."

The last two meetings between the Capitals and Rangers were tense. Wilson punched Pavel Buchnevich while he was down on the ice and rag-dolled a helmetless Artemi Panarin during a testy contest on May 3. When the squads squared off again two days later, then-Rangers defenseman Brendan Smith and Wilson got into a tussle.

The Rangers made some additions this offseason to get tougher up front, mainly Ryan Reaves, who's available for tonight's clash after nursing a lower-body injury, and Barclay Goodrow.

"They got a lot of new faces, new personnel that I'm sure are going to try and make an impact on the game. ... If you ask them, this is a big rivalry now so we will expect that," Wilson added, according to Samantha Pell of The Washington Post.

New Rangers head coach Gerard Gallant said in August that emotions won't "overtake" his team regardless of what Wilson has in store.

NHL commissioner Gary Bettman is scheduled to be in attendance for the potentially heated matchup, according to The Athletic's Tarik El-Bashir.

The game is set to begin at 7:30 p.m. ET in Washington.

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Capitals' Wilson not looking for 'physical' opener vs. Rangers
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