On Thursday, Washington Capitals top prospect and perpetual flip-flopper Evgeny Kuznetsov played in Russia’s first game of the EuroHockeyTour, a four-stage European tournament held every year between Russia, Sweden, Finland, and the Czech Republic. Team Russia shut out Sweden 2-0 in front of a sold-out crowd at St. Petersburg’s Ice Hall.
While Kuznetsov continues to infuriate Caps fans (and us Russians) over his answers on when and whether he’ll actually leave Russia, his skill is undeniable. Today, he scored the game-winning goal, had five shots, and was probably the best player on the ice for either team.
Despite limited ice time on Russia’s third line with Egor Averin and Sergey Plotnikov, Kuznetsov created chances almost every shift, showing off speed and agility not normally present this early in the season.
His goal, the first of the game, came with just under 13 minutes to go in the third period. After skating around the Swedish defenders, Kuznetsov fired a deceptive wrist shot past former Flames goalie Henrik Karlsson, low and short-side. We’ve got video.
I’ve also compiled video of Kuznetsov’s better chances from the game. Notice his tenacious forechecking during the waning minutes of the third period to kill time. Then, after a Swedish player gets too rough with him along the boards, Alex Burmistrov starts a fight.
Russia’s next game will be Saturday against Finland.