The Capitals signed forward Evgeny Kuznetsov to an entry-level deal on Saturday. Kuznetsov, 21, is scheduled to make his NHL/Capitals debut tonight against Pittsburgh. Tonight’s game will mark the fourth straight game that a player will be making his Capitals debut (Dustin Penner, Chris Brown, Jaroslav Halak). Kuznetsov played in 31 games with Chelyabinsk Traktor of the Kontinental Hockey League (KHL) this season, recording 21 points (eight goals, 13 assists) and 12 penalty minutes. Kuznetsov led Chelyabinsk in scoring in each season from 2010-13 and finished tied for sixth in the league in scoring (44 points) last season. The 6’3”, 200-pound forward represented Russia at the World Junior Championships three times (2010, 2011, 2012), earning a gold medal in 2011 and a silver medal in 2012. Kuznetsov was drafted by the Capitals in the first round, 26th overall, in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft.
Must Read/See/Hear Material
Monumental Network: Evgeny Kuznetsov Introductory Press Conference / Snapshots: Evgeny Kuznetsov Skate / Adam Oates Postgame / Karl Alzner Postgame / Brooks Laich Postgame / Troy Brouwer Postgame / Jaroslav Halak Postgame / Evgeny Kuznetsov’s First Interview / George McPhee on Evgeny Kuznetsov / Two-Man Advantage / Chris Brown Pregame / Jack Hillen Pregame / Joel Ward Pregame / Adam Oates Pregame
Washington Post: Capitals vs. Coyotes: Washington scores three goals in third period to rally for win / Capitals Insider: Five thoughts on the Capitals’ 3-2 win over the Coyotes / Capitals Insider: More from Evgeny Kuznetsov, newest Capital / Capitals Insider: Evgeny Kuznetsov ‘ready to play hard hockey’ / Capitals Insider: Evgeny Kuznetsov signs with Capitals / Capitals Insider: Video: Capitals’ three-goal comeback against the Coyotes / Capitals Insider: Jaroslav Halak to make Capitals debut against Phoenix
CSN Washington: Capital Odyssey: The Kuznetsov timeline / Kuznetsov era begins with early morning skate / Caps top 5 plays of the week 3/9 / Kuznetsov: 'I'm ready to play hard hockey' / Capitals pull off incredible comback / Capitals score three in third to nab win over Coyotes / Fans react to Kuznetsov signing: 'It's exciting' / Capitals agree to terms with Evgeny Kuznetsov
NHL.com: Kuznetsov could make Capitals debut vs. Penguins / Daily Primer March 10: Crosby, Ovechkin face off / Capitals rally in third period to beat Coyotes / After four-year wait, Kuznetsov joins Capitals / Capitals sign top prospect Kuznetsov
NBCWashington.com: Capitals Agree To Terms With Evgeny Kuznetsov On Entry-Level Contract
NBC Sports: Kuznetsov joins Capitals for first practice, starts living his ‘dream’ / Caps score three times in under five minutes to avoid four-game skid / Washington finally signs top prospect Kuznetsov / Capitals’ Halak will begin new chapter tonight vs. Coyotes
Washington Post Express: Caps ready for Kuznetsov to make his debut
Ted’s Take: Winning Games We Should / Most Needed Two Points to Stop Skid / Wizards Assist Special Olympics / Great Story on Guile and Love of the Game / Kuznetsov Here and Signed, Ready To Go Next Week
Japers’ Rink: Monday Caps Clips: Penguins at Capitals Game Day / SkyBox: A Google Glass Game Experience / Capitals in Motion: Close Calls and Kuz on Camera / Clyde's Shots: Capitals-Coyotes, March 8, 2014 / Sunday Caps Clips: Capital Comeback; Kuznetsov Signs / Capitals vs. Coyotes Recap: Five Minutes to Victory, Caps Top 'Yotes 3-2 / Rocking the Red Kool-Aid / Capitals Sign Evgeny Kuznetsov... Finally
March 9: Re-assign Chris Brown and Casey Wellman to Hershey (AHL)
March 8: Signed Evgeny Kuznetsov to an entry-level deal; Recalled Casey Wellman from Hershey (AHL)
March 7: Re-assigned Cameron Schilling to Hershey (AHL)March 6: Recalled Chris Brown and Cameron Schilling from Hershey (AHL), re-assigned Philipp Grubauer to Hershey
Comeback Caps – Karl Alzner, Brooks Laich and Troy Brouwer each scored in a span of 5:02 in the third period on Saturday as the Capitals overcame a 2-0 third period deficit to defeat the Coyotes 3-2. According to the Elias Sports Bureau, Saturday marked the second time in the last four seasons that Washington won a game in regulation in which they trailed by two goals in the third period. Washington's only other such victory since the beginning of the 2010-11 season was a 4-2 victory at Columbus on Dec. 31, 2011. This season, the Capitals rank tied for first in the NHL in win when trailing after the second period (7).
Halak Earns Win in Debut – Washington goaltender Jaroslav Halak stopped 31 of 33 shots on Saturday against Phoenix to earn a win in his Capitals debut and record his 25th win of the season, marking the fourth time in the last five seasons he has reached that plateau. Washington acquired Halak and a third-round pick in the 2015 NHL Entry Draft on Wednesday from the Buffalo Sabres in exchange for goaltender Michal Neuvirth and defenseman Rostislav Klesla. Halak has posted a 25-9-4 record this season with a 2.22 goals against average and a .918 save percentage in 41 games with St. Louis and Washington. The Bratislava, Slovakia, native ranks tied for ninth among NHL goaltenders in wins, ninth in goals against average and tied for third in shutouts (4).
Penguin Punishers – Alex Ovechkin has earned 41 points (23g, 18a) in 33 regular-season against the Penguins and Nicklas Backstrom has recorded 25 points (1g, 24a) in 23 regular-season games against Pittsburgh. Jaroslav Halak has posted a 3-1-0 record against the Penguins in his career with one shutout, a 2.17 goals against average and a .916 save percentage.
Finishing Strong – The Capitals scored three goals in the third period on Saturday against Phoenix, marking the fourth time in the last eight games Washington has scored three goals in the third period (2/6-3/8). The Capitals have outscored opponents 14-7 in the third period in the last eight games and since the 2010-11 season, Washington is 15-1-2 when scoring three or more goals in the third period. The Capitals rank tied for 11th in the NHL in third period goals (58) and third in the league in overtime/shootout wins (12) this season.
Here To Assist – Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has registered 12 assists in his last 11 games (1/31-3/8: 1g, 12a) and 38 points in his last 37 games (12/7-3/8: 6g, 32a). The Gavle, Sweden, native ranks first in the NHL in power-play assists (32) and power-play points (35), third in the NHL in assists (51) and 11th in points (63). Backstrom’s 51 assists this season mark his fourth career 50-assist season and the most assists he has earned in a season since he recorded a career-high 68 assists in 2009-10. Since Backstrom entered the NHL in 2007-08, only three players have collected more assists (Henrik Sedin, Joe Thornton, Martin St. Louis).