Photo credit: Salavat Yulaev

After starting the 2012-13 season on fire with goals in his first four games, Caps top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov cooled off a bit. By that we mean that he had one lonely point in the two games following the streak. On Monday, Kuznetsov had his biggest game yet as Traktor Cheylabinsk took on Salavat Yulaev at Ufa Arena. In 14:59 TOI, Kuznetsov scored a shorthanded goal and collected two assists. It was Kuznetsov’s first three-point game since January 28th of last season.

Highlights of Traktor’s 4-1 drubbing of Salavat, including Kuznetsov’s goal that broke his stunningly-long two-game goalless streak, are under the jump.

Kuznetsov’s goal is at the beginning of the video. His first assist is at the 3:45 mark. The second is at 5:00.

In the middle of the first period, Kuznetsov turned on the jets and skated into Salavat’s offensive zone with two defenders draped around him. With no choice other than to shoot, Kuzya fired what seemed to be an innocent shot from the perimeter. Salavat goaltender Iiro Tarkki could not corral the shot, leaving Kuznetsov a juicy rebound. Kuznetsov buried the sharp-angled rebound home for his team-leading fifth goal of the season.

Traktor’s 1-0 lead would quickly vanish 34 seconds later as Alexander Pankov tied the game.

In the third period, Kuznetsov unleashed the fury with two assists. First, he found former Cap Jan Bulis with a pass in front of the net to make it 2-1. Then, Kuznetsov assisted on a shorthanded goal by Petri Kontiola on a 2-on-1 break to extend the lead to 4-1, also the game’s final score.

Traktor plays Thursday at home against CSKA and their superstars Pavel Datsyuk, Ilya Bryzgalov, and Alex Radulov.

Notes: Three of Traktor’s four goals were scored shorthanded (Kuznetsov, Kontiola, and Konstantin Panov). Kuznetsov had four shots on net and picked up a minor penalty in the third period.

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