Tuesday night, Evgeny Kuznetsov continued his dominance in three-on three overtime, registering his league-leading 38th primary assist of the season on Alex Ovechkin’s game-winning goal. And it happened on Russian Heritage Night at Verizon Center.
Evgeny Kuznetsov continues to do Harry Potter-like things. This time Kuznetsov lobbed a beautiful pass to Justin Williams, where all the veteran forward had to do was just stand there and be pretty.
A few weeks ago, RMNB’s Chris Gordon asked Evgeny Kuznetsov about his finger twirl celebration.
“That’s not for you, you know,” Kuznetsov said to Gordon when asked what the inspiration of the celebration was. “You don’t have to know that.”
Kuznetsov said it was a secret, but recently RMNB reader Chris S. (@theSTOEHR) found something that could give us context.
Ever since he arrived in the NHL, Evgeny Kuznetsov has used a pass Joe Beninati has nicknamed the twister. Kuznetsov will begin skating around the net before turning and tossing the puck back behind his body towards the crease. Almost every time Kuznetsov tries the move, it results in a high-quality scoring chance or goal from a Caps player crashing the net.
Naturally, success (Kuznetsov is fifth in the NHL in scoring) brings attention. And I’m guessing Senators star forward Bobby Ryan has been studying the first-time All Star’s move because Tuesday during Ottawa’s game against the Carolina Hurricanes, Ryan tries the Kuzy Pass From The Kuzy Spot. It had a different wrinkle though. The right-handed Ryan had to put the pass through his own legs to connect with his target, Ryan Dzingel, for the rookie’s third career goal.
For five years, Evgeny Kuznetsov made a name for himself in Russia, dominating the KHL with his hometown team Traktor Chelyabinsk. Three NHL seasons later, Kuznetsov is fifth in scoring (66) and leads the Capitals in points. He even made his first NHL All-Star Game in 2015-16.
To honor Kuznetsov’s success, Bauer Russia painted a mural of Kuzy at their office in Riga Ice Land, an ice skating rink in Moscow. I know this because the hockey equipment manufacturer posted a photo of a tiny mite posing in front of it on Instagram.
Wednesday morning, Team Russia announced the first 16 players on its World Cup of Hockey roster. Among those first 16 were three Capitals players: Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov, and Dmitry Orlov.
This is the first World Cup of Hockey in 12 years. The last WCH was in 2004 and was won by Canada. Unlike the IIHF World Championships, the World Cup of Hockey is organized by the NHL, with NHL rules, and is timed to not overlap with the Stanley Cup Playoffs.
Photo: Geoff Burke/USA TODAY Sports
The Capitals were looking rough against the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night. The Pens held a 2-1 lead and the Caps couldn’t seem to solve green goalie Matt Murray.
But then Evgeny Kuznetsov happened.
We’d call it a miracle, but stuff like this happens like every other game.
Friday night against the Wild, the Capitals gave away Holtbeast figurines to everyone in attendance. The action figure barely resembles Holtby, a point Holtbeast pointed out to the media, but that didn’t stop his teammates from having fun with it.
Photo: Bruce Bennett
Over the last weekend of January, Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov was in whirlwind he will never forget. When teammate Alex Ovechkin dropped out of the All-Star Game due to a lower-body injury, his open spot was given to another Russian-born superstar-in-the-making. Stars were aligned, plane tickets were purchased, and Kuznetsov made his way to Nashville to participate in his first All-Star Game.
It was Kuzy’s first ASG appearance (along with teammates and other first-timers Braden Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom), but it’s unlikely it would be his last. Kuznetsov currently leads the NHL in primary assists (34) and has 58 points in 56 games played. He has shined in his role as a top-six forward, and has recently been promoted to the first line, playing next to Alex Ovechkin.
Earlier this month, Sport-Express’ Natalia Shmeleva spoke with Kuznetsov, touching on Barry Trotz’s contribution in Washington and how it feels to be on a winning team. Most notable, however, is Kuznetsov’s support of ASG underdog John Scott, who won the title of MVP in the game, recording two goals and an assist.
Photo: Rob Carr
During Monday night’s game against the Coyotes, Evgeny Kuznetsov pirouetted across the offensive zone (sound familiar?) and fired a rocket that trickled past Arizona netminder Louis Dominque. It was his 18th goal and 61st point of the year.
Kuznetsov then skated behind the net and twirled in his finger in the air, which has become his trademark celebration during his breakout season. Earlier today I asked him about it.