Geoff Burke / USA TODAY Sports
On March 26th, 2014, just eight games into his young NHL career, Evgeny Kuznetsov would find himself at the right place and at the right time, allowing the newest Capital to notch his first ever NHL goal. And it was a big one.
With the Capitals trailing by one, with less than a minute to play in regulation, John Carlson was called for hooking the Kings Mike Richards, sending the Capitals to an untimely penalty kill, and many of the Verizon faithful towards the exits.
Facing the likelihood of a zero points day, the Capitals buckled down and got to work. At the start of the penalty kill, Eric Fehr beat Jeff Carter on a defensive zone faceoff, allowing the Capitals to exit their own zone, pull Jaroslav Halak and add an extra attacker.
The Capitals quickly dumped the puck into the Kings zone. Eric Fehr would win the possession battle below the blue line, and feed the puck back up top to Alex Ovechkin, who would blast one from the top of the slot, but to no avail. Lucky for Ovi and the Caps, Kuznetsov made his way to the front of the net, to save the day.
Ovechkin, who was crashing the net following his failed shot attempt, found himself in another ideal position. One that would allow him to quickly retrieve his fellow countryman’s first goal puck.
The Capitals would eventually lose in a shootout. However, Kuznetsov’s goal would secure a point for the Capitals, who were in desperate need of points, in their late season push to make the playoffs.
Puck drop for The Kings and Capitals is 12:00 noon. NoVa Caps full game preview is here.
By Jon Sorensen