Kuznetsov Scores Twice in Mistake-Filled 4-3 Loss to Islanders

Posted December 31, 2019

Kuzy during pre-game warmups (Caps Outsider)

Through Dec. 27, Evgeny Kuznetsov had only one goal in the month of December, plus five assists in 11 games, which amounts to a lackluster month for the Caps’ center. While he scored against Carolina on Dec. 28, he scored twice more on New Years Eve in a 4-3 loss to the Islanders. These weren’t just run-of-the-mill goals but ones we’ve come to expect from Kuznetsov, who shows off virtual magic-tricks with slight-of-hand puck movements that leave goalies’ heads spinning.

“Pretty good hockey from both teams but some of those mistakes we made, they converted,” Kuznetsov said after the game. “We got the full third period to get the goal back but we didn’t and you know, and it’s tough to lose this type of game, especially in a division opponent, but I guess we have to learn from this game.”

Kuzy didn’t just have two goals but had plenty of more chances. It even appeared, late in the third period, that he was trying to do the lacrosse scoop-shot move from behind the net.

“No, just the puck bounce,” he said, as he was merely settling the puck down instead of trying the ultimate trick of all, the scoop shot, aka The Michigan. He’s tried that move in the past but has yet to convert.

Coach Todd Reirden praised Kuzy’s play as one of the bright spots for the game, not just because he scored two goals but because of other chances he was getting, plus his improved face-offs. Reirden ended up double-shifted him in the third down the stretch.

“I really liked his game,” Reirden said. “Besides the two goals, he had some other chances and set up some other plays. Faceoffs for him were better tonight. He did a lot of good things and expectations for him will be at that high of a level. He did some strong things, and gave us a chance to get back into that one after not being as sharp as we would have liked.”

Kuzy’s first goal came in the first period on a play where he shuffled the puck around Islanders goalie Semyon Varlomov, while is second came off a play where he let his long reach give him the space out front to snap home a shot. While Kuzy typically credits a ‘lucky play’ for goals like this, they’re clearly markers that not just anyone can score, and more often than not wind up either as a save or a turnover.

Kuzy and Varlamov were spotted chatting after the game.