The Washington Capitals have had to wait a long time to get Evgeny Kuznetsov, but they are finally able to announce that they have inked the 21-year-old forward to an entry-level contract.
Kuznetsov was taken with the 26th overall pick in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, but until now he had been playing for the KHL’s Chelyabinsk Traktor. Although he has no experience playing professionally in North America, he’s likely to head straight for Washington rather than the minors.
Since Washington drafted him, Kuznetsov has emerged as one of the KHL’s best players, scoring 46 goals and 105 points in 131 games over the last three seasons. He ranked sixth in the KHL’s scoring race in 2012-13.
He’s also served internationally for Russia, leading the nation to a World Junior’s gold medal in 2011 with 11 points in seven contests and a World Championships’ gold in 2012 with six points in 10 games.
The Capitals are likely going to look to captain Alex Ovechkin to take Kuznetsov under his wing in the hopes that he can make a smooth transition while Washington continues its fight for a playoff spot.
Update: He will make his NHL debut on Monday, per TSN’s Bob McKenzie.
With their mothers traveling on the road trip — Matt Bartkowski‘s mom, Beth, has become a cult hero in Vancouver after another priceless media interview — the Canucks took back-to-back wins, moving them right back into the thick of the playoff fight in the Western Conference.
Up by a goal in the third period, defenseman Alex Biega played the hero, pulling the puck out of the crease after it got by Ryan Miller on a backhand shot from Kyle Chipchura, maintaining Vancouver’s lead.
Phaneuf burned on Zetterberg game-winner in Sens debut
“I put my stick there, he put (the puck) under and he made a good shot. I’ve got to have a better stick in that situation, but you’ve got to give him credit for that play.”
Phaneuf finished the night with a minus-one rating and two hits in almost 22 minutes of ice time, putting him second among Sens defensemen in that category behind Erik Karlsson, who played a whopping 33:30.
Phaneuf drilled Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser with a hard slap shot early in the third period.
DeKeyser played one more shift — all of 10 seconds — before exiting the game.
Blashill says DeKeyser has a bruise, not a break. Will know more tomorrow, but probably day-to-day
The New York Rangers are likely too far behind the Washington Capitals to take any legitimate run at the Atlantic Division down the stretch.
But winners now of four straight, the Rangers have opened up a bit of a gap between them and other Eastern Conference teams in the playoff race. New York scored a 3-0 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins, winners in six of their last seven games, on Wednesday.