Elvis Merzlikins vs Tom Wilson fight
(Screenshot/ Bally Sports)

Tempers flared between Columbus Blue Jackets goaltender Elvis Merzlikins and Washington Capitals forward Tom Wilson during overtime of Thursday’s tightly-contested matchup.

With the game knotted at 2-2 late in the extra period, Wilson barreled towards Merzlikins’ net but lost an edge and slid in, colliding with the netminder.

Merzlikins immediately took exception, shoving Wilson and raining down punches onto the prone forward. “He was trying to hurt me all game,” a fired-up Merzlikins told reporters after the game. “I was just defending myself.”

Check out the video below to see Merzlikins vs Wilson:


The replay is even better:

Wilson defended his actions, saying the contact was incidental. “I was driving hard to the net and my skate slipped out. I would never intentionally try to injure another player,” Wilson stated.

The referees assessed Merzlikins a roughing minor following the altercation while Wilson escaped without a penalty. Blue Jackets head coach Pascal Vincent criticized his goaltender’s emotional outburst. “That incident cost us. We have to control our emotions,” lamented Vincent.

Washington capitalized on the resulting power play, with Alex Ovechkin sniping home the overtime winner to snap a 14-game goal drought. “A tough way to lose,” said Blue Jackets defenseman Zach Werenski. “But we’ll learn from this and move forward.”

The heated incident adds another chapter to the contentious history between the Metropolitan division rivals. Fans can expect more fireworks when these teams clash again on January 8th in Washington.

With only one penalty called, debate raged over whether the officials made the right decision. However, both teams now shift their focus to their next opponents as they jockey for playoff positioning.