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Harry Potter helps make Canucks vanish

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Harry Potter helps make Canucks vanish

Put a pair of reading glasses on him and Evgeny Kuznetov’s teammates would agree he’s a dead ringer for Harry Potter.

Put a hockey stick in his hands and that’s when the magic flows from his fingertips.

“I don’t know what kind of stick he uses or what he does with that thing, but it’s like a wand out there,” Capitals right wing T.J. Oshie said after practice on Wednesday. “Some of the things he does is absolutely magic.”

Kuznetsov pulled from his bag of tricks again Thursday night, scoring two goals and assisting on a thirdp-period goal by Tom Wilson as the Capitals rolled over the Vancouver Canucks 4-1 at Verizon Center.

With his three-point night Kuznetsov is tied with Nicklas Backstrom for the team lead in points with 41 and tied with T.J. Oshie for second on the team in goals with 15.

Kuznetsov’s first trick of the night came 6:12 into the second period when he took a nice pass from fellow Russian Dmitry Orlov and beat Canucks goaltender Ryan Miller with a lightning-quick forehand to backhand move.

“I waited for their D to do something and I just made a good  pass to Kuzy and he scores,” Orlov said. “It doesn’t matter who’s in net. He’s a good player with some good skills, especially on the breakaways.”

Early in the third period, after Karl Alzner gave the Caps a 2-0 lead with his third goal of the season, Kuznetsov chased the puck behind the net and, with his back to Tom Wilson, found the big winger with a backhand pass into the slot.

“I see him,” Kuznetsov said. “He talked to me. It was a good play by all five guys.”

 Kuznetsov called it a “lucky” pass.

Wilson wasn’t buying it, and neither was Capitals coach Barry Trotz.

“I think you expect the unexpected with him,” Wilson said. “I was just standing in the slot and that saucer pass kind of went three or four feet in the air and landed right on my tape. You can’t say it’s lucky when he does it all the time. You have to be good to be lucky and that was a great play.”

In just his second full season in the NHL, Kuznetsov is starting to convince players around the NHL that he’s just as difficult to defend as Nicklas Backstrom. In fact, after Thursday night’s loss, Canucks forward Henrik Sedin said that when you play the Capitals you have to defend two top lines.

That’s something Trotz already knows.

“I guarantee you he’s thinking of something else to do next game if he’s in that same spot (behind the net),” Trotz said. “He doesn’t want people to think he’s a one-trick pony and figure him out.

“He’s got a few things up his sleeve all the time. He’s fun to watch and he’s probably a pleasure to play with. I could probably score a goal once in a while playing with him.”    

RELATED: Capitals keep rolling with win over Canucks

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Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Panthers honor Florida shooting victims before game against Capitals

Prior to their matchup against the Capitals, the Panthers honored the victims of the shooting at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Fla.

Thursday night's game was the Panthers' first game on home ice since the shooting last week. BB&T Center, the home of the Panthers, is located about 20 minutes south of Parkland.

Both teams wore the school’s hat during warmups, and the Panthers will wear the school’s logo on their helmets and “MSD” patches on their jerseys for the rest of the season.

There was a was a moment of silence and ceremony prior to the game, during which the video board showed the pictures and names of all 17 victims.

Following the video Panthers goaltender Roberto Luongo, who lives in Parkland, took the ice to give his own moving tribute. 

"It's time for us, as a community, to take action. Enough is enough." Luongo commended the school's teachers and said of the students, "You guys are an inspiration for all of us. You guys are giving us hope for the future." 

"When I'm done playing hockey, I want to spend the rest of my life in Parkland," Luongo said. "I love that city."

In addition to the ceremony and uniform tributes, the Panthers hosted a blood drive beginning at today noon and lasting through the second intermission of the game in an effort to replenish local blood banks.

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

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Being an Olympic hero is not all T.J. Oshie has in common with 2018 U.S. Women's hockey team

Four years ago, Capitals forward T.J. Oshie was the shootout king in the 2014 Sochi Olympics. This time around Gigi Marvin was one of the Americans who provided the extra-time heroics for Team USA at Pyeongchang, carrying the women’s hockey team to the gold medal.

Ironically enough, they both were the King and Queen of their high school’s dance back in 2005.

Marvin and Oshie both went to Warroad High School in Minnesota. They graduated from the same class in 2005. Nearly every high school in the country would wish for just one Olympian, this one got two legends in one class.

Oshie famously took the puck six times for Team USA in a shootout to beat Russia back in 2014. Marvin scored the first tally of the shootout in the gold medal game against Canada. The United States would go on to win the match in seven rounds.

Oshie would go on to congratulate his fellow Warroad alum after the match.

Whoever cast the deciding votes, must have known that these two destined for glory. One could now call them the King and Queen of Olympic shootouts.

RELATED: USA WOMEN WIN GOLD OVER RIVAL CANADA