Thirty-two games into the Capitals’ season, Evgeny Kuznetsov owns an amazing distinction that few would have predicted before the year started. Kuznetsov is now tied with eight other players for the league lead in shorthanded goals.
You guys, Kuzy is the shorty king.
Screenshot via NHL.com
Kuzy’s second shorthanded tally of the year stood up as the game-winning goal in the Capitals’ 5-3 win against the Nashville Predators.
Kuznetsov broke a 3-3 tie with 5:36 remaining in the third period via a picture-perfect shot. As a four-on-four ended, Kuznetsov skated out from behind the net, and, using a John Carlson screen in front, beat Nashville goaltender Juuse Saros short side to the top corner of the net.
“It was a four-on-four, basically,” Kuznetsov said to NBC Sports Washington’s Al Koken after the game. “I decided to get the position with the puck a little bit. Wanna do something in the defensive zone but then I stepped out and no one was steppin’ to me. I kinda had the same goal against him a few years ago but it was a backhand. I kinda know that if I execute that shot, usually at the end of the game, the goalie is a little more tired. I had the chance and it was a great shot.”
Kuznetsov was referring to an April 5, 2018, game that the Capitals lost to the Predators where the Russian center picked the same corner on Saros while driving hard to the net.
Kuznetsov’s goal on Wednesday came minutes after Saros stopped Kuznetsov on the doorstep via a spectacular sliding stick save.
“I was so excited to see open net and he made great stop,” Kuznetsov said. “Sometimes the empty netter not going in but the hard ones do.”
The shorthanded goal gave Kuznetsov 10 tallies on the season overall — one more than he scored in all of 2020-21 despite playing in 12 fewer games. His previous shorty came in a game against the Calgary Flames in October.
The center’s bounceback year has included much time on the penalty kill. The Chelyabinsk native has already received a career-high of ice time shorthanded, 30:33, with more than a half of the season still to go. And during his time on the ice, the Capitals have finished with five goals and his opponents have tallied four per Natural Stat Trick.
It’s an experiment that Kuzy once again proved is working as the Capitals broke the Predators’ seven-game winning streak.
Screenshot: 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.