bobby-ryan-kuzy-pass

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.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-mural

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.

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ovi-world-cup

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.

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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.

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holtby-holtbeast-figurine

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.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-asg

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.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-celebration

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.

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kuznetsov-holtby

Nearly six years ago, a 21-year-old Braden Holtby first met an 18-year-old Evgeny Kuznetsov at Caps development camp. Their relationship began somewhat rocky, as the competitive Holtby once slashed Kuznetsov in the calf after celebrating a scrimmage goal.

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evgeny-kuznetsov-gwg

Photo: Geoff Burke

The Washington Capitals are a very good hockey team. One of the reasons why they’re so dangerous is their secondary scoring, especially lately.

Andre Burakovsky has eight goals in his last ten games; Justin Williams has 18 goals on the season and is the Caps’ fourth leading scorer (39 points); and Evgeny Kuznetsov has been the Caps offensive MVP, leading the team in total points (57) and the entire NHL in primary assists (33). With the game tied 1-1 and 2:30 left in the third period, the trio got their lunch pails out and scored an ugly goal to win the game.

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Photo: Jerome Miron

Earlier Monday, my compatriot Patrick Holden (whom you should follow) pointed out a mind-blowing stat that I want to share with the entire RMNB universe. Evgeny Kuznetsov, who currently leads the NHL in primary assists with 33, is three away from tying for the most in a season since 2012-13.

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