On a night when the Washington Capitals honored the leading Russian goal-scorer in NHL history (Alex Ovechkin), another ravishing Russian stole the show.
Evgeny Kuznetsov was absolutely brilliant on Thursday, generating three points in Washington’s 4-1 win against the Vancouver Canucks.
Two of those plays were works of art, from the goal you an see above to the nice assist featured below.
Heck, the kid’s even capable of providing amusing interviews about cigars and whiskey.
In a way, Kuznetsov is part of the reason this Capitals team is scarier than ever. It’s not just about Alex Ovechkin, as “The Great Eight” can have the occasional off-night.
Naturally, it doesn’t hurt that Braden Holtby may end up being as obvious a 2016 Vezina winner as Carey Price was last season.
This win widens Washington’s gap between themselves and everyone else; as of this writing, the slightly stumbling Stars are seven standings point behind the Caps for the most in the NHL. (Washington has 69 now.)
Really, it seems like the biggest worries of the moment are the sort of things you drum up when you’re enjoying a sporting surplus.
“Are we peaking at the wrong time?”
Those may be the sort of things especially worrisome Washington fans might be batting around, yet most of the worrying takes place on the other end of the ice each night.
The New York Islanders saw one of their players dodge a scary injury bullet. They found themselves down 1-0 against the New York Rangers, too.
Rather than folding, the Islanders instead rode a three-goal third period to a 3-1 win, with that wounded player (Adam Pelech) grabbing his first career point in the process.
With that, the Islanders took the Metropolitan Division’s second position from the Rangers, who now sit in third.
(Think of that tantalizing situation: if the playoffs began today, the Isles would have home-ice advantage against the Rangers.)
The Islanders have been on-again, off-again this season, yet perhaps this is the sort of spark that may help them gain consistency. It doesn’t hurt that they play four of their next five games in Brooklyn, either.
The gap between the Isles and Rangers is tiny (New York can gain the tiebreaker by winning with its game in hand), but that’s not necessarily the point.
The Islanders need to start generating momentum to prove that they’re more than just a team with potential, so gutting out wins like these can really start to build up that necessary confidence.
For those (*cough* grumpy people *cough cough*) who roll their eyes as the rest of us gape in awe at various feats of hockey toughness, allow this hearty apology.
Feel free to move along.
Others will fatten their file of awe-inspiring moments with this moment.
Adam Pelech of the New York Islanders had the misfortune of taking Derek Stepan‘s skate to his face on Thursday. You can see it in the video above. It’s pretty scary.
You can also see it in GIF form:
Pelech didn’t miss much time, and from at least one observer, seems to be doing just fine too:
Yep, these guys are tough.
Update: To really flesh out the narrative, he grabbed his first NHL point in the same game.
You can’t blame the Washington Capitals – or the hockey world – for ignoring Alex Ovechkin‘s outstanding accomplishment of reaching 500 goals (and counting).
As you can see from the video above, all-time greats tipped their caps to the Caps’ icon for going 500-plus.
Good stuff, right?
Speaking of all-time greats, let’s wonder: can Ovechkin end up passing Wayne Gretzky and setting a new all-time mark for goals? Read all about it on CSNMidAtlantic.com.
Either way, passing 500 goals at age 30 is the sort of thing that leaves the rest of us wondering what we’re doing (or have done) with our lives …
… But at least we’ve been able to watch No. 8.
Want more from the ceremony itself?
NASHVILLE, Tenn. (AP) Nashville and Ottawa have traded defensemen with the Predators acquiring Patrick Mullen in exchange for Conor Allen.
The Predators announced the trade Thursday.
Mullen, 29, has played 36 games this season in the American Hockey League. The 5-foot-11, 186-pound native of Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, has played in 338 career AHL games with Manchester, Chicago, Utica and Binghamton since 2009. He has 34 goals and 114 assists with 178 penalty minutes.
The son of Hockey Hall of Fame member Joe Mullen, he went undrafted after spending four seasons at Denver University where he played 152 games.