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Penguins’ Garrett Wilson finally nets first NHL goal

Jonathan Bombulie
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Pittsburgh Penguins left wing Garrett Wilson (10) watches his shot get past Tampa Bay Lightning goaltender Andrei Vasilevskiy (88) for a goal during the first period of an NHL hockey game Saturday, Feb. 9, 2019, in Tampa, Fla.

TAMPA, Fla. – Nearly five years after making his NHL debut, Pittsburgh Penguins winger Garrett Wilson has finally scored a goal.

Wilson finished off a two-on-one break with Teddy Blueger in the first period of Saturday night’s 5-4 Penguins loss to the Tampa Bay Lightning.

It was the 60th game of Wilson’s career – 34 with the Florida Panthers from 2014-16 and 26 with the Penguins this season.

“Honestly, it was eating me alive,” said Wilson, who had 23 shots on goal and a number of good scoring chances to his credit this season. “It was nice to get it over with. It felt like it took forever. Hopefully I can start putting some more behind the goalies.”

The play started when Matt Cullen gathered a puck in the defensive zone and passed to Blueger to start the two-on-one. Wilson, who is Wilkes-Barre/Scranton’s captain, said he and Blueger have developed some chemistry over the past two seasons in the AHL.

“Teddy made a great play on that, made a nice saucer pass over,” Wilson said. “I just tried to get it off as quick as I could and up over his glove.”

Wilson has 84 goals in 362 career AHL games, but the 6-foot-2, 199-pound winger is in the NHL more for his physicality than his scoring touch. He was right at home in Saturday night’s game, which turned nasty at times.

“In the second period, we really started to play physical and it was working for us,” Wilson said. “It was a hard-fought game. We have to learn to play like that the rest of the way here. We’ve got to start finding way to get some points and win some hockey games because it’s getting pretty tight there right now.”

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Jonathan Bombulie is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jonathan at [email protected] or via Twitter @BombulieTrib.