With a beautiful short-side wrist shot, Evgeny Kuznetsov finally got the monkey off the Capitals back.
The Caps’ long losing streak is over and they did it without Alex Ovechkin and Lars Eller.
Kuznetsov’s goal came on the powerplay with 57 seconds left to go in the game.
The Capitals went to the extra man after Nicklas Backstrom, with some hard skating, drew a holding penalty on Mikael Backlund.
The Russian center ended the game after stickhandling past two Calgary Flames penalty killers and ripping a perfect shot over a diving Rasmus Andersson.
Here’s another look.
Kuznetsov went to one knee and pumped his fist to celebrate as the Capital One Arena roared.
Kuzy, who has struggled for most of the year, received 24:36 of ice time, more than any other Capitals forward. He double-shifted most of the second half of the game with Lars Eller out with a lower-body injury. The ice time was a career high.
“He wanted it,” NBC Sports Washington’s Craig Laughlin said after the game. “It looked like he wanted to be a difference maker and maybe with Ovi out of the lineup, that pushed him over the limit. The ice time extra makes a player feel better. He wanted to have this game on his terms and win it for his teammates He was an exceptional player tonight. That’s what now, we’re going to expect out of number 92. That’s what goes with being a superstar: two points, 24 and a half minutes, and six shots on net.”
Evgeny Kuznetsov: "I'm so happy to finally get win. You can finally smile, you know?"
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) February 2, 2019
“I don’t know, probably any other game, I will pass that puck to Osh,” Kuznetsov said. “He got, I think, breakaway over there, but I wasn’t sure about that pass because the puck wasn’t full on my blade. And then I was just like in a bad position to pass the puck. I decided to shot.”
Coming into tonight’s game, the Flames had won nine of 11 games in January and had been the first place team in the Western Conference.
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