kuzya-almost-first-goal

On Tuesday night in Pittsburgh, Evgeny Kuznetsov had his first prime scoring chance in the NHL. After Karl Alzner unleashed a rare bomb from the point, Penguins goaltender Marc-André Fleury blocked the shot with his pad and kicked the puck back out to the slot.

There Kuznetsov stood, his eyes growing wide. Like a dude who had already scored 20 goals in the league before, Kuzya patiently gathered the puck in, put it on his forehead, and chipped it hard towards the net.

What happened next was cruel.

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ovechkin-hit-on-sutter

While the Washington Capitals played great against the Pittsburgh Penguins, they fell 3-2, losing another game they really needed to win. But it wasn’t for a lack of effort.

Caps captain Alex Ovechkin attempted 8 shots, 4 of them on goal, and recorded an insane 7 hits, leading all players.

His most impressive collision was his third-period hit on center Brandon Sutter, which sent the center tumbling into the Penguins bench.

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KuznetsovPenguins-3

Photo: Chris Gordon

We’ve been waiting for this since June of 2010. That’s when the Washington Capitals drafted Evgeny Kuznetsov in the first round of the draft. George McPhee winked and we knew it was all good.

Then almost four years went by. But now we’re here. Kuzya has suited up for this first ever NHL game– a homer against Metro rivals the Pittsburgh Penguins. Thanks to the hard work of Hana Imiolczyk, we’ll have all your GIF-y updates right here.

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kuzya-goal

On Sunday, Evgeny Kuznetsov practiced for the first time as a Washington Capital. Since it was a scheduled off-day for the rest of the team, Kuzya was alone on the ice. With only head coach Adam Oates and strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish on the ice, Kuznetsov performed some drills.

Towards the end of his 50-minute practice, Kuznetsov and the coaches had some fun, taking pot shots at an empty net from the opposing goal.

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ovi-pushup

Evgeny Kuznetsov will be living with Washington Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin during his initial stay in America, and while he’s been really appreciative of Ovi’s kindness, he’s seemed lukewarm about being taken care of by his teammate.

Earlier in the week while still in Russia, Kuzya told Sovetsky Sport’s Pavel Lysenkov about his living arrangements, “It’s a bit awkward. Ovechkin is a grown-up, he has a future spouse. Why bother them? But at first I will stay with Sasha. He’ll explain everything, help me out.”

Well, judging by Ovi and Kuzya’s first day together, they are long-lost brothers. Maria Kirilenko now has two children to babysit.

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AlznerGoal

Photo: Rob Carr

If the Caps squeak into the playoffs, you might have to thank Karl Alzner. Not for his defense — something a bit lacking on the Caps lately — but his offense. With 10:15 left in an important game against the Phoenix Coyotes, Karl unleashed a wrist shot from the near point, which went through traffic before beating Mike Smith over his right shoulder. Though Washington looked lifeless for the first 50 minutes, that goal ignited an incredible comeback, featuring two goals in 32 seconds and two points in the standings.

“I was excited,” Alzner told reporters after the game. “Everyone seemed really excited. Maybe it had something to do with the fact that it was me who scored it and not a guy who normally scores, but people seemed really up after that. It was the perfect momentum swing and the perfect line to come out right after that. It was the perfect storm for us.”

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caps-fans-celebrate

After going 115 minutes and 43 seconds without scoring a goal, the Washington Capitals scored twice in 32 seconds. The dam had broken. It was weird.

When Brooks Laich scored to tie the game at two, he unleashed the best celebration on the ice and in the stands that Hogwarts has seen these many years.

It’s like we all forgot how to celebrate, and then they taught us how to smile again.

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backstrom-videobomb

Before the Capitals had another one of those games against the Flyers on Wednesday night, Mike Vogel interviewed Brooks Laich following the morning skate. With the trade deadline fast approaching, things were very tense. Very serious. And then Nicklas Backstrom made a cameo.

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simmonds-holds-erskine

Simmonds holds Erskine as Lecavalier connects with a haymaker. Disgraceful.

Who had “line brawl” on their Flyers-Capitals bingo card? Really? All of you? Okay, cool.

Well… did you “three dudes jump on Erskine?” Exactly!

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orlov-shame

The shame.

Dmitry Orlov was having the game of his life. He scoarlov’d twice against the Philadelphia Flyers. He was playing smart, heads-up hockey.

But in the third period, Dima committed one of the most foolish penalties of his career. After taking a rough but clean hit from Brayden Schenn in the defensive zone, Orlov decided it was time for payback a little bit later.

Orlov lined Schenn up, leaped, and hit Schenn face-first into the boards. Schenn’s head bounced off the glass. Schenn skated gingerly off the ice.

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