Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin/HC Traktor
Evgeny Kuznetsov is back for Traktor. After missing almost six weeks with a shoulder injury that required surgery, the Washington Capitals top prospect returned on the ice for a game against league’s top team, SKA St. Petersburg.
Kuznetsov was anything but sheltered in his comeback game, on ice for 22 minutes 17 seconds — more than any other Traktor forward and second among attackers only to Ilya Kovalchuk. During that time, Kuzya put three shots on goal. Traktor coach Valery Belousov double-shifted Kuznetsov for most of the game as one of the team’s young players, Mikhail Mokin, was on ice for only three shifts, of them in the first period.
Kuznetsov’s return (as well as the come back of Lauris Darzins and Andrei Popov who missed time with injuries as well) didn’t help slumping Traktor. They got pummeled 7-0 and fell to 10th place in the East with just 18 points in 15 games and are now the second worst defensive team in the league (51 goals allowed) after being known for stifling defense in recent years. Traktor is still just one point out of 8th place (man, the East is weak this year), but six of their last seven games have been losses.
Check out a great goal by SKA’s Andrey Sigarev at 2:50.