Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov started the season with an impressive stretch of nine goals and 21 points in his first 19 games. Since then, however, something wasn’t quite working for Kuzya who only added two goals and six points in his next 12 outings.
With that uncharacteristic stat-line (and news about his non-inclusion to the national team for the Moscow stage of EuroHockeyTour), the star right-wing faced adversity for one of the first times in his career. Heading into Traktor’s game against Spartak Moscow (featuring Shaone Morrisonn) Friday, Kuznetsov had something to prove.
And prove something he did. Kuznetsov scored two huge goals, collecting three points and 8 shots on goal in 19:53 of playing time. He also unveiled a new goal celebration.
Caps prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov has been among the KHL’s leading scorers all season, and in Traktor Chelyabinsk’s 4-2 victory over Atlant Moscow on Saturday the 20-year-old scored one of his most beautiful goals yet.
Kuznetsov gains possession of the puck at center ice in the second period, then uses his speed to curl around Atlant players and beat goaltender Nikita Davydov stick-side. To celebrate his sixth goal and 15th point of the year, Kuznetsov puts one finger to his mouth to encourage his hometown crowd to be quiet. [Editor's note: Bring back the push-ups, Kuzya.]
After starting the 2012-13 season on fire with goals in his first four games, Caps top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov cooled off a bit. By that we mean that he had one lonely point in the two games following the streak. On Monday, Kuznetsov had his biggest game yet as Traktor Cheylabinsk took on Salavat Yulaev at Ufa Arena. In 14:59 TOI, Kuznetsov scored a shorthanded goal and collected two assists. It was Kuznetsov’s first three-point game since January 28th of last season.
Highlights of Traktor’s 4-1 drubbing of Salavat, including Kuznetsov’s goal that broke his stunningly-long two-game goalless streak, are under the jump.
In their third game of the 2012-13 KHL season, Traktor met Western Conference powerhouse SKA at home in Chelyabinsk. Evgeny Kuznetsov entered the game with two goals. He left with three.
Kuznetsov also tallied his first two-point performance of the year. His first point came very early in the game, as he got credit for a secondary assist on Jan Bulis‘ goal less than three minutes into the game. That goal tied the game at one. Things quickly unraveled for Traktor however, as SKA scored twice more to take a 3-1 lead into the first intermission.
The score remained unchanged for the next 39 minutes, despite both teams trading chances (one of the biggest opportunities was a Kuznetsov breakaway denied by goaltender Ilya Yezhov). With about a minute to go in the third period, Kuznetsov finally broke through, skating the puck into SKA’s offensive zone guarded by two men. After his initial shot was blocked from the slot, Kuznetsov, out-battled three other defenders and got to the rebound first, snapping a shot past Yezhov. Kuznetsov celebrated by jumping high into the boards near center ice. Despite a late flurry, SKA, led by their netminder, managed to keep their one-goal lead and win 3-2. The game’s highlights can be seen under the jump.
Don’t look now, but wayward Capital Evgeny Kuzetsov has started the 2012-13 KHL season with two goals in two games.
In Traktor Cheylabinsk’s first away game of the year on Monday, the defending Continental Cup champions held a huge shot advantage over Avtomobilist Yekaterinburg (41-24), but were unable to crack Avtomobilist’s all-star goalie Chris Holt through two periods. With less than nine minutes to go in the game however, Traktor finally dented the twine. After a Avtomobilist defender turned the puck over at center ice, Kuzya sprinted the puck into the offensive zone and wristed a shot past Holt glove side. The goal was unassisted.
Washington Capitals top prospect Evgeny Kuznetsov opened the 2012-13 season with style on Thursday, scoring an empty-net goal in Traktor Chelyabinsk’s 2-0 victory over KHL rival Metallurg Magnitogorsk. But that wasn’t all. Since Kuzya can’t do anything without a tinge of controversy, he decided to celebrate his goal by dropping down in Metallurg’s offensive zone and doing push-ups. For a man who has in the past both canoed and swam down the length of the ice after scoring, this seems a bit reserved for him.
Kuznetsov during the game against Kolner Haie. (Photo credit: Vitaly Gubin/HC Traktor)
Washington Capitals top prospect/prodigal son Evgeny Kuznetsov kicked off his season last week at the Chelyabinsk Region Governor’s Cup, a 4-game preseason tournament which featured two local teams (Traktor Chelyabinsk, Metallurg Chelyabinsk), two KHL teams (Avangard Omsk, Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk), and one foreign team – Kolner Haie of the German DEL.
On Saturday, Kuznetsov showed why he’s one of the best players not currently in the NHL, tallying a shorthanded goal and an assist in Traktor’s 5-1 victory over Kolner Haie, a team coached by former Colorado Avalanche defenseman Uwe Krupp.
Video of Kuzya’s highlight-reel plays are below the jump.