Evgeny Kuznetsov worked his playmaking magic and Braden Holtby stopped eight of 10 shots, but it wasn’t enough to get the Metropolitan Division out of the first round of the NHL All-Star Game tournament Sunday at Bridgestone Arena.
Nineteen-year-old Red Wings forward Dylan Larkin assisted on three goals, including P.K. Subban’s game-winner with 4:38 remaining, to lead the Atlantic Division All-Stars to a 4-3 win over the Metro Division, earning them a date with the Pacific Division All-Stars for the right to earn $1 million as NHL All-Star champions. The Pacific All-Stars, led by John Scott’s two goals, topped the Central stars 9-6 in their first-round game.
Playing in his first NHL All-Star Game as a replacement for Alex Ovechkin, Kuznetsov showed incredible patience to give the Metro Division a 2-1 lead 4:16 into the game. Kuznetsov, 23, took a return pass from Justin Faulk and patiently waited out goaltender Roberto Luongo for his first All-Star goal.
MORE CAPITALS: ALL-STAR INCENTIVE
Kuznetsov also had the puck on his stick at the side of the net in the closing seconds of the game, but the Metro stars failed to convert on the 4-on-3 with their goaltender pulled. Kuznetsov finished with two shots in 7:07 of ice time.
Caps center Nicklas Backstrom was not involved in the scoring. He had two shots in 6:17 of ice time.
Holtby, also playing in his first All-Star Game, made big stops on Aaron Ekblad and Steven Stamkos, but surrendered a Kris Letang goal on snap shot and a breakaway goal by Jaromir Jagr in the closing minute of the 10-minute first period.
The Capitals’ four All-Star representatives, including coach Barry Trotz, are expected back in Washington on Monday, with a 2:15 p.m. practice scheduled at Kettler Capitals Iceplex.
Alan May knows a thing or two about the trade deadline.
Over the course of his NHL career, May was traded five total times, four at the trade deadline. He sits down with Rob Carlin on a special edition of the Capitals Extra Podcast to tell stories from his playing days about what it was like getting traded.
This one's a can't miss for hockey fans. You can listen to the episode here on the Capitals Extra page or with the player below.
The Hart Trophy is given to the player judged to be the most valuable to their team. With the Caps currently struggling in almost every aspect of the game, consider this: Just where would they be without Alex Ovechkin?
Washington ranks 10th in the NHL in goals per game with 3.05. Ovechkin leads the NHL in goals with 36. He has scored an incredible 19-percent of his team's goals. No one on the Caps is within 20 goals of the Caps' captain.
That's not a typo. Evgeny Kuznetsov ranks second on the team with 16 goals. No other team in the league has a larger separation between its top two scorers. In fact, only three teams have a difference that's in the double digits: Vancouver (11), San Jose (10) and New Jersey (10).
Ovechkin is almost singlehandedly propping up Washington as a top-ten offense. If you think about just where this offense would be without him, there's a pretty strong case to be made that Ovechkin is as valuable to his team this season as any other player in the league.
SEE THIS WEEK'S 2018 NHL AWARDS TRACKER HERE
Here are the Caps' hopefuls for awards this season:
In contention for: Norris
Carlson is fifth among all defensemen with 45 points, but his case goes beyond the numbers. With a blue line that has featured two rookies the majority of the season, an aging veteran in Brooks Orpik and that had to deal with an injury to Matt Niskanen, the Caps have asked a lot of Carlson this season and he has always been up to the task.
In contention for: Hart
Few players, if any, are as important to their team's offensive production and therefore its success than Ovechkin has been this season.
Check out who the top candidates are for the league's major individual awards in this week's 2018 NHL Awards Tracker!