Vancouver Canucks lose 4-3 at Washington
The Washington Capitals beat the visiting Vancouver Canucks 4-3 despite being outshot 41-21. Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves for the Caps.
The Associated Press
WASHINGTON – For nearly four years, Washington Capitals fans have watched video clips of Evgeny Kuznetsov playing in Russia and imagined what he could do in the NHL.
On Friday night, the 21-year-old Kuznetsov began compiling the North American version of his greatest hits — posting three assists for his first NHL points in the Capitals’ 4-3 victory over the Vancouver Canucks.
The Canucks lost despite outshooting Washington 41-21. In the last two periods, Vancouver had a 28-9 advantage in shots.
Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves, compared with 17 stops for Canucks rookie Eddie Lack.
“He had a fantastic night,” Capitals coach Adam Oates said of Halak. “We left him hanging.”
The Canucks learned they will be without center Ryan Kesler for two weeks. Kesler, who leads the team with 22 goals, injured his knee in a 3-2 shootout victory over Winnipeg on Wednesday.
Kuznetsov assisted during a power play as countryman Alex Ovechkin finished with a slap shot for his league-leading 45th goal.
Less than five minutes later, Kuznetsov faked a slap shot from the wing and fed the puck to Tom Wilson for his third goal.
In the third, Kuznetsov started a sequence that led to defenseman Mike Green putting the Capitals ahead for good with 9:41 left. Green scored with a slap shot off a feed from Nicklas Backstrom from behind the net.
“(Kuznetsov) did a great job battling down the corner and keeping control of the puck,” said Green, who scored his ninth goal.
It was the third NHL game for Kuznetsov, the Capitals’ first-round pick in the 2010 draft. He signed with Washington last week after five years in Russia’s Kontinental Hockey League.
Washington led 3-1 early in the third period before Shawn Matthias and Nicklas Jensen scored for Vancouver to tie. The goal by Jensen, a rookie in his sixth game, was the first of his NHL career.
“I just felt we were just going to keep on coming,” Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. “They’ve given up some leads here. We got that third one, I thought we were just going to take off. We had some chances.”
The Capitals killed all seven Canucks power plays.