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Photo: Chris Gordon

We’ve been waiting for this since June of 2010. That’s when the Washington Capitals drafted Evgeny Kuznetsov in the first round of the draft. George McPhee winked and we knew it was all good.

Then almost four years went by. But now we’re here. Kuzya has suited up for this first ever NHL game– a homer against Metro rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thanks to the hard work of Hana Imiolczyk, we’ll have all your GIF-y updates right here.

The Arrival

The Game Night Roster

Kuznetsov Puts On His Pads For The First Time

Warm-Ups

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Photos: Chris Gordon

First Period

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Photo: Melissa A.

Early in the first period, Kuzya was announced to the crowd by Wes Johnson.

Crosby and Kuznetsov converge.

Ovechkin gives Kuznetsov advice on the bench.

Kuznetsov got five shifts in the first period, 4:09 of ice time. He took one shift at the end of the period with the Caps’ first line.

Second Period

While getting power play time on the Caps second unit, Kuznetsov records his first NHL shot.

Al Koken asked about Kuzya when he conducted his second period interview with Dour Blaine.

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What have been your impressions of Evgeny Kuznetsov so far?

Blaine Forsythe: You can tell he’s got some talent. Obviously, he’s feeling it out a little bit, but he’ll get better and better. We’re happy to have him.

Karl Alzner gives Kuznetsov a shove-of-love on the bench after Brooks Laich’s power play goal. Dmitry Orlov laughs.

Kuznetsov records his second shot of the night, after curling towards the middle of the ice while taking a shift with Nicky and Ovi.

In the second period, Kuznetsov had five shifts, and 4:23 of ice time. He had one shift on the team’s second power play unit and skated with the first line once again. He also tallied his second shot on goal and also blocked one shot.

In his 7.4 minutes on the ice total so far, Kuznetsov has driven 71.4% of shot attempts towards the Penguins net (even strength only). Halak has had to make only one save while Kuzya is skating– a stat shared by the fourth line alone.

Third Period

With the Caps down a goal to the Penguins, Kuznetsov only saw two shifts in the third period. He finished the game with two shots and 10:22 of ice time.

Adam Oates’ On Kuznetsov’s Performance

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  • Jake Ettawakapow

    GIFS?

  • http://www.russianmachineneverbreaks.com/ Peter Hassett
  • William

    I’ll be honest, I giggled a bit the first time on the ice.

  • Dawn

    Don’t reach for the puck, Crosby: skate to it. Hockey 101 ;)

  • Chris Cerullo

    To be honest he has rejuvenated what minuscule excitement I had left for this last 19 or so games of the season.

  • RT23

    How about about this for a RMNB t-shirt:

    “Cheer your Kunetsov!”

    Maybe with a squirrel image:

  • Rob W.

    I like that shove by Alzner trying to to get him to relax a little bit, i like his game so far, I think he can handle first line minutes but im still ok with being patient

  • RT23

    Already got a shift with the first line. Maybe Oates has been reading RMNB.

  • bskillet

    Maybe another Semin, except willing to play hard every night!!

  • Mick

    My one critical thing I saw him do multiple times was standing along the wall in the neutral zone. I don’t know if that’s his normal style of play or just he feels so closed in now that he is playing on an NHL sized rink again. I just would really like to see him circling in the zone to open up passing lanes or to give our D space to move. This can be attributed to the rink size so he will soon adjust I’m sure, but with his fluent skating stride if he just circled in the zone he would appear to be much more heads up and in the play.

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    Love the look on Kuznetsov’s face when Alzner shoves him hahaha. looks confused.

  • Owen Johnson

    He looks good in red!