Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov was honored with a bobblehead giveaway Tuesday night against the Carolina Hurricanes. Sporting a full beard and an even bigger smile, the Clay Kuzy waves its ceramic arms and lifts its left knee, mimicking the Russian’s signature bird celly.
“I wish every player have a night like that,” Kuznetsov said. “I feel like bobblehead is special, you know? Of course when your organization do something for you, your fans cheering for you, you want to give them back something.”
Kuzy gave fans a hat trick of assists.
Kuznetsov’s first apple came on a TJ Oshie goal in the first period and started the game’s scoring. Driving down the right wing, Kuznetsov threw a backhand pass through the crease and between Petr Mrazek pads and Justin Faulk’s stick, finding TJ Oshie open for a one timer.
The Osh Babe hit the back of the net easily for his 23rd goal of the season — the second most on the Capitals.
TJ Oshie on Evgeny Kuznetsov's pass that led to his goal: "If you watched the replay, he puts it right through the needle, needle and thread, it was a pretty wide open net. I like getting those empty netters." pic.twitter.com/dE0X9soc5j
— Ian Oland (@ianoland) March 26, 2019
Kuznetsov was asked how he made such an incredible pass.
“I mean he wide open,” Kuznetsov said. “It’s pretty hard to not see him over there.”
Kuznetsov’s second assist was secondary in nature and came on Alex Ovechkin’s 49th goal of the season. Kuzy started the play, skating the puck out of the defensive zone and finding Tom Wilson on the wing. Kuzy drove the net, giving Ovechkin the time and space to one-time a puck past Mrazek short side.
After Dougie Hamilton tied the game in the second period, Ovechkin’s goal gave the Caps back the lead 4:31 into the third.
Kuznetsov’s final assist put the game officially out of reach, making 3-1. Skating around the Canes net, Kuzy caught the attention of three Canes players before finding Dmitry Orlov wide open at the point. Orlov wound up and sent a slap pass to John Carlson streaking towards the net.
“Great to see him flying like that,” Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin said. “Obviously, it’s an important time for us. If he’s going to play like that, it’s really going to help us a lot.”
Ahead of the game, Capitals head coach promoted Carl Hagelin to the second line and dropped Jakub Vrana to the third. The Hagelin-Kuznetsov-Oshie trio was beat up at five-on-five, sporting a team worse 37.5 shot attempt percentage. But it did hold the Nino Niederreiter-Sebastian Aho-Justin Williams line off the scoreboard (64.7 shot attempt percentage). According to the Capitals’ Mike Vogel, Aho had scored in five straight games against Washington.
“I think my both linies – Osh and Hags – pressure pretty good,” Kuznetsov said. “And we killed a lot of their plays in their zone. If you’re a player like Aho, you always want to have the puck, you always want to create something offensive. But it’s pretty hard to create when the other team forces you to defend.”
In the end, Kuznetsov had special motivation.
“Yeah, my mom here, you know,” Kuznetsov said. “She come for first time (this regular season). She was at game today. That’s something special.”
But, according to the Chelyabinsk native, “the best thing we give [fans] back is the win.”
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) March 27, 2019
Headline photo: NBC Sports Washington
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.