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Wilson Picking Up Where He Left Off

by Bryanna McDermott /

Just 25 seconds into the second period of Friday night's preseason matchup against the Chicago Blackhawks at CONSOL Energy Center, Scott Wilson made head coach Mike Sullivan's job a little harder.

Wilson scored the only goal of the game from the crease thanks to a beautiful setup by Conor Sheary, giving the Penguins a 1-0 lead they'd hold until the final whistle. 

The Oakville, Ontario native is leaving quite an impression on Pittsburgh, making it hard for Sullivan and his coaching staff to send him to Wilkes-Barre/Scranton of the American Hockey League.

Last season the left wing had five goals for the Pens, four coming in a span of just five games. His first NHL goal came on Feb. 18 in a matchup with the Detroit Red Wings, that first tally becoming the game-winner. However, his season ended prematurely due to a broken ankle.

Wilson is picking up where he left off.

In the Pens' second exhibition game versus Detroit, Wilson led all Pittsburgh forward with 20:36 minutes and tied a team-leading four hits.

"I'm just trying to get back to where I was before my injury last year," Wilson said. "That's the best hockey I've been playing, so I'm just trying to get back to that spot."

Wilson was playing what he considered the best hockey of his career before a hit by Columbus' Dalton Prout ended his season with a broken ankle on March 11.

It's safe to say that Wilson is looking true to form, remaining on the training camp roster and getting some extra looks in Pittsburgh.

"It's been a good camp, I think it's been good pace," Wilson said. "We're playing the way that our identity showed in the postseason last season. It's nice to get some opportunities for sure."

Wilson is taking advantage of the opportunity, logging 17:27 minutes and recording five hits, while scoring his first goal of the preseason against Chicago.

"Any time you can get one, even if it's in preseason it gives you confidence," Wilson said. "I thought that last year I was gripping my stick pretty tight until I got that first one, so that one felt pretty good."

Getting that first goal is always a relief for Wilson.

"I think once I got that first one I felt a lot more comfortable," Wilson said. "It took a while it felt like, but after getting that one I am definitely more relaxed and even coming into this year a little more relaxed as well."

Sullivan has been impressed with Wilson's play as well through training camp.

"'Willy' has had a strong camp so far," Sullivan said. "I think he's really competing on pucks. I think you can really see his scoring ability. He's really got a nose for the net, he's got a great release, he's got a real good shot." 

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