After Traktor’s 4-3 victory over Barys Tuesday, Head Coach Valery Belousov revealed to the media that Evgeny Kuznetsov played sick. Belousov didn’t specify what type of bug Kuznetsov came down with, but with regulars Deron Quint and Raymond Giroux sitting out due to food poisoning, it was pretty easy to connect the dots.
Nonetheless, the young Caps prospect gutted it out and actually managed to score his fifth goal of the year, his most electrifying — and lucky — tally of the season. Let’s review. First, Kuzya delivers an open-ice body check forcing a turnover. Next, as another Barys player tries to defend him, Kuznetsov goes forehand, backhand, and then throws the biscuit between his legs. As this unfolds, the defender tries to clear the puck and accidentally knocks it past his helpless net minder. Game over. To celebrate, Evgeny leaps face-first into the boards to the crowd’s delight.
Kuzentsov’s third period tally puts him in the KHL’s top five in goals (5) and also gives him the league lead in game-winners (3). That’s pretty good for a 19-year-old who sat out most of the offseason due to shoulder surgery and had his minutes limited in the beginning of the season.