kuznetsov-goal-islanders

Photo: Kathy Kmonicek

Sometimes Washington Capitals forward Marcus Johansson struggles to finish in front of the net. Example: last night in the third period against the New Jersey Devils where Mojo , wide open in the crease, hit Cory Schneider right in the pads instead of lifting the puck up and over. The Capitals would lose 2-1.

The next day, Mojo flubbed another easy goal, but this time against the New York Islanders. No worries. Evgeny Kuznetsov cleaned up his mess.

As Kuznetsov got a heads-up pass from Troy Brouwer near the left face-off circle, he skated hard to the net. Noticing Johansson wide-open across the crease, Kuznetsov whipped a pass to the Swedish forward. Johansson fired towards the net, but instead found the blade of Kuznetsov’s stick. Kuzya ripped it home for his third goal of the season.

That was totally deliberate. Just how I do it on NHL14 (when I’m not playing against Tom Wilson).

One special thing about this goal, it’s Evgeny Kuznetsov’s first ever while deployed as a center. Kuznetsov has not had much time to adjust to his new league or linemates, be he already has 8 points in 13 games.

It’s almost like he’s living up to expectations. However much this year has sucked, Kuzya has been great to watch.

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  • Lawrence

    Can someone please tell MoJo to sit in front of the net and practice tap in’s this summer? How many goals could this kid have if he didn’t summon barbie-doll-stone-hands in front of the net every time.

  • holtbysaidno

    #mojoalmost

  • Waddup

    This is one of those times in which a player is so bad at a certain moment that he actually does good

  • Jonah

    this is the perfect metaphor for the season. mojo has an easy chance, misses, but someone skilled bails him out.

  • JenniferH

    Thank God for Kuzya!

  • Q

    Jojo is always thinking pass first.

  • James Desautels

    Kuzya is one of few bright spots of this season. Hopefully we keep some of these young guys together-Wilson, Kuzya, Orlov, the gems in the pipeline (Burakovsky, Bowey, etc). We will be contenders in no time….wait sounds familiar

  • Eric Schulz

    So when Backstrom passes up an empty net goal, he’s selfless, when Johansson does it, it’s because he can’t finish? I see. #DoubleStandard.

  • Myan

    “Noticing Johansson wide-open across the crease, Brouwer whipped a pass to the Swedish forward.”

    Shouldn’t this read “Kuznetsov whipped a pass to the Swedish forward”?

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    So good babe, ssooooooo good dude, sorry im drunk man….good win caps222222

  • Jake Ettawakapow

    CAPSSS!!!!

  • Dcsportsfan85

    Dude am I missing the sarcasm because it reads Kuznetsov whipped a pass to the Swedish forward.

  • Dcsportsfan85

    Well if Mojo was actually trying to pass that you might have a point except he was trying to shoot. Fortunately it went right to Kuzya.

    However I do think Mojo gets a bad wrap from too many caps fans. I think ppl forget that he is still so freaking young. He and Orlov were drafted in the same year. I was a little disappointed in his season. I was hoping he’d have produced more given that he was receiving PP1 unit time all season. He’s been a strong even strength producer in his career and that well seemed to dry up. If he produced at his normal even strength rate he’d be having a great year.

  • Myan

    Looks like the guys & gals at RMNB corrected it!

  • frowning

    Look again. The Isles’ defender gets a piece of the puck a split second after Mojo gets a touch on it. I can think of plenty of things that Mojo can be criticized for, but this is not one of them…

  • Eric Schulz

    I was joking, of course
    I agree though, he gets too much shit, and he is still very young; just 23 years old. That’s a big reason I like him as much as I do: 23 years old, he’s flashed some great skill (and was a very solid two-way player his rookie year; he’s regressed, but I still remain optimistic that, in the right situation, he will regain and exceed that form), and is only $2 million. He’s like a very young, relatively cheap Erat (Erat was past his prime and very expensive; he was defended all the time even though he couldn’t score for shit).

  • Guest

    Johansson is weak in puck possession, poor at defending and can’t score a goal to save his life. Not sure what you are seeing.

  • Eric Schulz

    He was a solid two-way forward as a rookie, he has speed and stick skills, he is young and cheap. He has regressed since his rookie year; any time a player regresses, especially this early in his career, it can be reversed. Why does somebody regress? Generally speaking, situation. A) Coaching: well, we’ve had 2 very bad coaches, so that may be it. Also, B) he’s played with Backstrom and Ovechkin. From a point-production standpoint, that’s certainly a nice place to be, but it’d be easy for a young player to defer too much to those two. Also, I think the best way to complement those 2 would be with a guy who is big and can win board battles; that’s not Johansson. He needs to be able to play to his strength; that would help him to stop thinking on the ice, and just play. I would like to see him on the 3rd line with Laich on his left, Fehr on his right, and see how those 3 work together.

  • Capper63

    Your posts are too thoughtful, and actually indicate you have some hockey knowledge. So, they won’t go over well with the “everyone sucks but Ovie!” crowd. (Especially the ones who limit themselves to one or 2 quick, thoughtless sentences. i.e “I decree Mojo is weak sauce and sucks. Thus it is so!” etc)
    I agree with you on Mojo. He is also a playmaker, and not a natural scorer, but as you pointed out he is young and can improve.