We are 18 days away from the Washington Capitals taking the ice for their first preseason game, which means players have started to trickle back into town and gear up for another exciting season. This season will be even more special in the fact that the Caps will be defending the Stanley Cup! One of their key components of that magical championship run was Evgeny Kuznetsov and he was one of the few handfuls already back at MedStar Capitals Iceplex working out with strength and conditioning coach Mark Nemish aka Camp Nemo.
Kuznetsov was second on the team in scoring during the regular season with 83 points (27 goals) and led the team with 56 assists. In the playoffs he was even more of a force centering the top line. He led the Caps with 32 points and 20 assists along with 12 goals.
Kuznetsov wasted no time in the Capitals chase toward the Cup, scoring two power play goals within 29 seconds of each other in the first game of the Stanley Cup playoffs against the Blue Jackets. He also had a goal and three apples in Game 4, a goal in Game 5 and an assist in the series-clinching Game 6 as the Capitals overcame a 2-0 early-series hole.
The Capitals were then pitted against their rival Penguins in the second-round. Like the previous round, Kuzy opened up the scoring. This time 17 seconds into the series.
Kuznetsov also came up big when the Capitals were on the ropes in Game 5. Entering the final period in a 3-2 plight after a second period where they were outshot 18-5, Kuznetsov scored to tie the game and assisted on the game-winning goal by Jakub Vrana.
Finally in Game 6 in overtime, Kuznetsov had franchise history on his stick where it was just him, Matt Murray and the third round. His name will be forever etched in Caps lore for the biggest goal in 20 years. Fly weagles fly.
In the third round, Kuzy added 10 points (four goals, six assists) to help the Capitals to their first Eastern Conference title in 20 years. In the decisive Game 7 he assisted on Alex Ovechkin’s goal 62 seconds into the game.
Kuznetsov ran into some early adveristy in the second period of Game 2 in Vegas as his left arm was hit along the boards by Brayden McNabb. He didn’t return to the game.
Kuzy did, however, came back for Game 3 and scored!
He also added four assists in Game 4 and assisted on Jakub Vrana’s breakaway goal to clinch the Stanley Cup.
It was his effort and more that led the Capitals to their first Stanley Cup title in franchise history.
Kuzy’s day with the Cup came in the middle of August at Chelyabinsk.
Kuznetsov looks to pick up where he left off and have an even better year this upcoming season. Wheter he’s scoring goals or saying a funny quote, we’re lucky to have a guy like Kuzy on our team.