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Monday night, Evgeny Kuznetsov continued his recent strong play. The 22-year-old Russian scored his eighth goal of the season in the third period and scored the game-deciding tally in the shootout.

His regulation goal was amazing.

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Photo: @capivan8

During Wednesday’s practice, the Capitals welcomed a fourth Russian onto the ice. Four-year-old Maxim Goloschapov was flown from Moscow to Kettler Capitals Iceplex because he won a promotional campaign held by Bauer Russia.

A few months ago, Bauer asked their followers to “show us your hardest shot by putting it on Instagram with the hashtag #MX3Russia. The winner gets to go to Washington to meet Alex Ovechkin.” Teeny tiny Maxim won with these two videos.

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Evgeny Kuznetsov’s Eventful Game Against Buffalo

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Photo: Elsa

In Saturday’s 6-1 trouncing of the Sabres, Evgeny Kuznetsov caught my eye on a couple of goals. On the lone Sabres tally, Kuzy seemed confused on where he should be. On one Caps goal, Kuzy was instrumental in helping to end Brooks Laich’s long goal-less streak.

Before taking a look at the two plays, I’d caution against reaching grand conclusions on Kuznetsov’s game based off of any two plays, including these. But, Kuznetsov has been criticized for inconsistent play this season, and performances like the one detailed below are an example of what draws that criticism.

Here’s what Barry Trotz had to say about the rookie’s development this morning:

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Jussi Jokinen, Marcus Johansson,Troy Brouwer

Photo: AP

With just a few days left before a trade deadline, managers around the NHL are comparing their teams to the rest of the league and looking for the pieces needed for a playoff run. With the new playoff format, it’s especially important to overmatch the division rivals you are likely to face early in the postseason.

The Caps, despite sitting just fourth in the Metropolitan division, keep up with the teams above them in most statistical categories. But there is one area in which they are struggling: the second line.

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The Washington Capitals arrived in Philadelphia on Saturday ahead of their Sunday matinee with the Flyers. As of 11:30 PM, things in the team’s hotel were going fine.

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Photo: Stephen Dunn

While his overall possession still needs some improving, Evgeny Kuznetsov has been putting up points and delivering juicy apples since the All-Star Break ended. On Saturday Kuznetsov did it again against the defending champion Kings.

With Jake Muzzin playing him perfectly, Kuznetsov tossed the puck over Muzzin’s stick and back to himself. He carved hard to the middle of the ice where he found an Alex Ovechkin open and waiting.

All Ovi needed was a few inches of space to beat Jonathan Quick for his 34th goal of the year and the 456th of his career.

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I want to start by saying I genuinely like Barry Trotz. I think he’s a good man and a good coach. He’s brought with him to Washington some of the brightest minds in hockey, he’s reversed a decline in the organization, and he’s helped Alex Ovechkin become a more complete player. I don’t think Trotz has gotten enough credit for that. He is exactly what fans wanted last summer: an experienced head coach.

But now that we’re more than halfway through the season, I see some worrying trends in this organization that reach all the way down to the AHL level.

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Right on the nose!

Evgeny Kuznetsov got high-sticked by Michael Del Zotto during a power play late in the second period. The impact was so violent that it almost ripped off Kuzy’s helmet.

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Troy Brouwer just used some hustle to create one of the most unlikely goals of the season. After a turnover in the offensive zone, Brouwer dove and reached out with his stick. Brouwer managed to steal the puck from a Ducks player and sweep it back into the zone before it crossed the blue line, which would have put his team offsides.

The puck went right to Evgeny Kuznetsov. Kuzy and Jason Chimera raced against Ilya Bryzgalov on a two-on-none. The Russian winger passed to Ice Cheetah, who buried it in Bryz’s five-hole.

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Twenty-nine-year-old forward Troy Brouwer is celebrating his 500th career game on Tuesday. No better way to commemorate the milestone than scoring a memorable goal against the defending Stanley Cup Champions.

Plus, this is a good excuse to share the ridiculous signs from the Brouwer Rangers.

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