By Chris Gordon
Photo credit: Frank Franklin II
Down two goals to the New York Rangers at the tail end of the second period on Saturday, the Capitals were on a desperate search for points on the scoreboard. With 6:01 left in the frame, Evgeny Kuznetsov pulled a goal out of thin air, as he has so many times during these playoffs. Kuznetsov’s surprising and alert goal put the Caps within one, almost leading to a stunning comeback. Despite a late-game flourish, Washington lost. Tied for the Capitals team lead in playoff goals with Alex Ovechkin, Kuznetsov was once again superb. Nevertheless, the result was not good enough for him.
“Today I score, but next game another guy score,” Kuznetsov told me. “Who cares right now who score today? We lose the game.”
With five shot attempts, tied for second-most on the team behind Ovechkin, Kuznetsov continued to be a postseason force on Saturday. He now has four goals and five points in his last five games. Kuznetsov is no longer a secret. During game two, he was credited with the most power play time of anyone in the white sweater.
Ultimately, Kuznetsov’s and later Ovechkin’s tallies couldn’t save Washington from its miserable start, during which they went down by two goals. Kuznetsov, however, took positives out of the second and third periods, especially Washington final onslaught.
“Don’t stop in the zone, just move the puck: shots, rebounds, good screen,” he said of the closing minutes. “We don’t score today, we score tomorrow.”
“We’re feeling like after slow start, we have a good talk in the locker room,” he continued. “It’s a positive talk, stick to each other, always support. Just keep going, playing to our game. Little bit unlucky today, but it’s okay, it’s no problem, it’s playoff.”
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
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