Evgeny Kuznetsov sprints down the wing during Game 1.

In the first two games of the KHL’s Eastern Conference Finals, Traktor managed to split their home games with Avangard. Evgeny Kuznetsov, who just came off a dominant, five-goal performance in the Semifinals, continued his torrid pace, netting two goals and an assist in Games 1 and 2. Let’s review.

Game 1 – Traktor Defeats Avangard, 3-1

Despite the fact that Avangard was able to keep the quick prospect under wraps for most of the game, Kuznetsov recorded a point at the end of regulation. With Avangard’s net empty, Kuznetsov carried the puck into their zone and made an unbelievable pass to his linemate Stanislav Chistov, who was wide open and one-times the puck home. Watch it at 6:10 mark of the video.

Game 2 – Avangard Beats Traktor, 3-2 (2OT)

In Game 2, Kuznetsov had two more highlight-reel goals and skated a team high 33:04 TOI. His first goal, which is shown at 1:05 mark above, is a brilliant individual play. As Kuzya strolls in alone on a semi-breakaway, he tosses the puck backwards at a defender, and has the biscuit deflect in. On his second goal – which begins at the 3:15 mark – Kuznetsov uses his blazing speed and scores on a breakaway. The young winger could not generate any offense in the game’s two overtimes (1 shot) however, and Avangard won with a Nikita Pivtsakin goal.

Personal Rant: Despite the fact that Kuznetsov is a Caps prospect, I’m actually a huge Avangard fan. I started rooting for them when I was 10 back when Jaromir Jagr was on the team. And sorry, but I need to share this personal message with them. Guys, can you start playing some defense? The fact that you defended Kuzya well in the first game doesn’t mean you should give him THREE breakaways in the second. Not to this guy, please. I know we won Game 2, but still, play some D. It wins Cups I’ve heard.

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