Nicklas Backstrom may return this weekend from hip surgery, but Evgeny Kuznetsov is making his case for top-line pivot, as crazy as that sounds. In 20:15 of ice time, Kuznetsov showed poise with the puck and was a forechecking demon. He finished the game a plus-two in on-ice shot attempts (17 for, 15 against) for a 53.12 percent shot-attempt percentage at even strength.
Kuznetsov also tallied the primary assist on TJ Oshie‘s first goal as a Capital, a power-play marker. And this insane highlight-reel goal by Alex Ovechkin.
TJ Oshie rips the puck off the glass right onto Ovechkin’s stick, and then Ovechkin and Kuznetsov streak in on a two-on-one. Ovechkin passes to Kuznetsov. Kuzy doesn’t shoot — which in 99 cases out of 100 is a bad idea. Instead he gives the puck right back to Ovechkin. Ovi, below the goal line, keeps his stick on the ice like a good goal scorer and somehow scores from no angle.
“Kuzy had a lot more push in his game, a lot more battle,” head coach Barry Trotz said to the media during his post-game press conference.
This kid is continuing to mature right in front of our eyes.
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