Evgeny Kuznetsov Comes Up Big in 2-goal Third Period that Powers Capitals past Oilers

kuznetsov.jpgCenter Lars Eller may have been a huge standout in the Capitals’ 5-2 victory at Rogers Place against the Edmonton Oilers, but center Evgeny Kuznetsov came up big as well. 

After falling behind 2-0 in the first period, the Capitals got goals from Devante Smith-Pelly and Eller. Kuznetsov scored the game-winning goal just 30 seconds into the third period and struck again with a 4:04 left in the game for his second. Kuznetsov, 25, tied the Capitals lead with five shots on goal with Lars Eller during the game last night. He had two takeaways, a hit, and had a +3 rating in 17:24 worth of ice time. Unlike Eller, Kuznetsov managed to stay out of the penalty box all night.

His second goal, which put the Capitals up 4-2, saw him dangle through three Oilers players and tuck in the puck past goaltender Cam Talbot from behind the goal line. Not only was it a beautiful goal but it was a huge goal for the Capitals, who have lead around four minutes in the previous five games.

Kuznetsov scored his third goal in two games after scoring in the Capitals’ 6-2 loss to the Vancouver Canucks on Thursday night. Through the team’s first 11 games, Kuznetsov ties the Capitals lead in points with winger Alex Ovechkin. The two are tied for fourth place among the NHL leaderboard. The duo of Ovechkin and Kuznetsov have produced 30 points since the start of the season. Only Tampa Bay’s winger Nikita Kucherov and center Steven Stamkos, who are tearing up the league right now, are better with 19 and 21 points (combining for 40 respectively).

Kuznetsov is currently on pace for 22 goals, which would be two higher than his previous career high set in 2015-16, and 112 points, which would be a career high. He has been phenomenal to start the season after signing an 8-year contract worth $62.4 million ($7.8 million AAV), which saw him become the second highest paid player on the team (Alex Ovechkin makes $9.5 million AAV).

Kuznetsov has been one of the Capitals’ best players this season but in the past, he’s struggled to find consistency. After a three-assist performance against the Nashville Predators on March 18, 2016, when he already had 20 goals and 73 points, he was a -4 the next game, a 6-2 loss to the Pittsburgh Penguins. He had four assists and a -6 rating in the final 12 games of the season after his 3 assist performance against the Predators.

Last season, Kuznetsov had three goals and eight points through the team’s first 22 games of the season and hadn’t scored his fourth goal until January 3, a 6-5 overtime win over the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had a four-point night that game and then ended the season strong, finishing with 19 goals and 59 points in 82 games. The strong finish resulted in a 5 goal and 10 point performance in a 13 game playoff outing.

Kuznetsov has to stay consistent this year, as the Capitals are looking up to their young talent to replace the 48 goals lost over the offseason with Justin Williams signing a two-year contract with the Carolina Hurricanes and Marcus Johansson getting dealt to the New Jersey Devils. He is off to a good start but there is still a lot of work left to be done.

He is three points shy of his 200th career NHL point. The Washington Capitals close their third set of back-to-backs at the Calgary Flames at 9 PM tonight at the Scotia Bank Saddledome.

By Harrison Brown

About Harrison Brown

Harrison is a diehard Caps fan and a hockey fanatic with a passion for sports writing. He attended his first game at age 8 and has been a season ticket holder since the 2010-2011 season. His fondest Caps memory was seeing T.J. Oshie's hat-trick​ during Game 1 of the Caps' second round playoff series against Pittsburgh in 2016. In his spare time, he enjoys travel, photography, and hanging out with his two dogs. Follow Harrison on Twitter @HarrisonB927077
This entry was posted in Daily Report, Games, News, Players and tagged , , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to Evgeny Kuznetsov Comes Up Big in 2-goal Third Period that Powers Capitals past Oilers

  1. Big night for the Caps. That was truly a team effort and Ovechkin, Kuznetsov, Carlson, and Eller were just a few who had huge games. The team needed this win.

    Like

  2. Pingback: Capitals Cruise to Calgary to Take On Flames | NoVa Caps

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s