On Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, Evgeny Kuznetsov had his first prime scoring chance in the NHL. After Karl Alzner unleashed a rare bomb from the point, Penguins goaltender Marc-André Fleury blocked the shot with his pad and kicked the puck back out to the slot.

There Kuznetsov stood, his eyes growing wide. Like a dude who had already scored 20 goals in the league before, Kuzya patiently gathered the puck in, put it on his forehead, and chipped it hard towards the net.

What happened next was cruel.

The puck hit the post and then got kicked away by Fleury’s skate blade. There would be no milestone moment that night.

While, for Caps fans, the miss was excruciating — even more so because the Caps lost 2-0 — it appears that it was even more painful for the person actually shooting the puck.

In an early morning Instagram post on Wednesday, Kuznetsov posted a photo with the accompanying emoji caption.


That’s the intense, angry, frustrated, kind-of-Dracula, kind-of-foaming-at-the-mouth smiley.

After his first NHL game on Monday, a 3-2 loss to the Penguins, Kuznetsov refused to talk about himself or his moment with our very own Igor Kleyner because he was just so darn mad they lost.

Now this. For those of you wondering if this kid is committed to succeeding the NHL, after one week, I think it seems pretty darn obvious he does.

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  • Chris Cerullo

    Seeing him in a Caps jersey these past few games has made me even more excited for what we potentially have. Obviously still tempering expectations still.

  • Deni


  • AU B

    For what it’s

  • yv

    Last 10 min with Flyers, Ovi missing totally empty net with Bs and now this. That’s Caps season.

  • AU B

    …worth the emoji is blowing smoke out of its nose in frustration.

    Carry on.

  • That is

  • …very helpful thank you.

  • Jayleigh

    If his talent wasn’t already endearing enough, his passion definitely is. I really like this kid!

  • Barrett

    Pretty impressive that he “put it (the puck) on his forehead” and still got the shot on goal.

  • Barrett

    I would say the constant odd man rushes the defense gives away, the uncanny ability to always allow a player making his NHL debut score his first career goal or make a goalie you have never heard of look like Martin Brodeur would be better choices for what sums up this season.

  • dylan wheatley

    imagine if this guy played for a good hockey team

  • Owen Johnson

    Kuzya cares!

  • Still Believe

    I don’t want to imagine him playing for a good team, I can see him playing for a good team with some very inexperienced and lazy D. Imagine how good the Cps would be if they just had one defenseman who really hustled on the back-check and kept the slot clear of opposing players.

  • Bugs Fire

    Second that. The team currently has on its roster (in any order)

    Ovechkin, Backstrom, Grabovski, Kuznetsov, Penner, Carlson, Alzner, Green (yes, Green), Halak, Holtby

    backed up by

    Laich, Brouwer, Johannson, Fehr, Ward, Chimera

    and supplemented by rookies

    Orlov and Wilson.

    That is 18 players ranging from perhaps best sniper ever to solid rookie. This is a good roster. I would even disagree that they absolutely need another solid D to be good. (Notice – not great, but good). Which brings me reluctantly and begrudgingly (since oatmeal is delicious) to admit that the main issue this year for Caps is coaching. Oates needs to either evolve or leave.

  • Bugs Fire

    Last ten minutes with Flyers was totally Caps own doing. In the same game with Pens, Halak stopped Crosby’s layup. Bounces go both ways. Observers like you and me do get focused on those time-space points where an inch (or a whistle) could have tilted the ice in Caps favor. But we have to admit that a team that is good enough to win the Cup will never miss playoffs, because bounces even out. Caps season unraveled (even if they make the playoffs, it still did) not because of occasional empty net miss or crossbar. It unraveled because of systemic problems with management and coaching.

  • Alex

    This kid looked great his first two games. Put him with Ovie and Backy if you really want to see him flourish