On Wednesday, Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov spoke to the media following morning skate ahead of tonight’s tilt against the San Jose Sharks at Capital One Arena (7 PM ET, NBC Sports Washington). He discussed the team’s inabilities to generate offense in recent games, the struggling power-play and seeing former teammate Braden Holtby on Friday when the Dallas Stars come to town.
“It’s hard,” Kuznetsov said on the team’s inconsistent offensive production in recent games. “[Head coach Peter Laviolette] said one thing that I [liked] yesterday. He said every year that there is always one month that you know you have problems generating offense…For us, it’s just we have to fight through, we have to stick together, and execute the coach’s plan.”
“We gotta score, right? Not just one game consistently,” he said on the Capitals’ crumbling power-play efficiency. “They have a great plan for us and sometimes we just did not execute well, so it’s on us and we’re good players—we have to play better for sure. We do care about [the power-play]. We do worry about that. It’s not just ‘It’s just [a] hockey game, come play, and forget about it.'”
On the man advantage and even strength, Kuznetsov explained his “chances [are] always there,” adding, “I’ll always believe that I’m having two good chances than ten bad shots…I was never [a] numbers guy but they do put those sheets in the locker room and I do read…it’s kind of unbelievable to see we’re not giving up a lot of chances, but we do create a lot of chances.”
On Friday, the Capitals host the Stars for the first time this season. It will also mark a bittersweet moment for the team and for fans as 2018 Stanely Cup Champion goaltender Braden Holtby will return to the Capital One Arena as the opponent.
“He was the main reason why we’ve been successful for a long time…he was unbelievable for us,” Kuznetsov said. “When you say Braden Holtby—that save, it’s like a picture in your eyes…He’ll be in my memory forever for sure. He’s good teammate. I’m happy for him that he’s still playing hockey and I hope he’s enjoyed every day.”
On center Nicklas Backstrom, Kuznetsov said “his presence’s huge” and called him “a great leader for this team.” “He does a lot of good things, so as soon as you see him before the game in the locker room, it’s mental think Backy’s back, you know?”
By Della Young