The Capitals sort of played a stinker against the Boston Bruins. There was precious little to enjoy about the game: a couple flashy saves by Braden Holtby, Jason Chimera crashing the net, maybe Ian rocking the spandex with the Brouwer Rangers. Thanks to the game’s final minute, we can add one more to that list: Evgeny Kuznetsov‘s stinger of a goal.
Seemingly defeated by Carl Soderberg’s insurance goal with seven minutes left, the Caps struggled to put together any kind of offensive push in the closing minutes of rego. Troy Brouwer made one such push, but the Bruins D tied him up. That play looked like it would fizzle like so many others against Boston.
Enter the New Guy.
Actually, this whole sequence is noteworthy. It started 190 feet away from the Bruins net, as John Carlson began the breakout. He hit up John Erskine, who promptly chucked a stretch pass through neutral to a waiting Troy Brouwer. (That’s illustrative of the team’s attitude towards neutral-zone play under the Oates administration.)
Brouwer made a valiant entry, but was outmanned. Goalie Chad Johnson unwisely abandoned the net to challenge Brouwer and the loose puck. Brouwer one-handed the puck off Johnson’s chest, creating the rebound that found Kuznetsov, the late man, at the lowest point of the faceoff circle.
That’s a low percentage angle, the kind Mario Lemieux built his legacy on, but Kuznetsov nailed it.
And there was much rejoicing:
Okay, there was no rejoicing.
Kuznetsov has two goals and five assists in eight NHL games. Told ya so.