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Capitals’ Kuznetsov ‘day-to-day’ with upper-body injury

The Capitals were able to win Game 2, but suffered a key injury when Evgeny Kuznetsov left with an upper-body injury. Lars Eller played very well in his absence and Washington hopes for more of the same in Game 3.

The Washington Capitals Game 2 came with a price on Wednesday night when they lost leading scorer Evgeny Kuznetsov on a high hit from Vegas Golden Knights defender Brayden McNabb in the first period.

Kuznetsov exited the game and did not return, setting the stage for Lars Eller to once again rise up and play a critical role in a win.

On Thursday, Capitals coach Barry Trotz revealed during a conference call that Kuznetsov is officially considered day-to-day with an upper-body injury.

When asked if Kuznetsov will be on the ice for practice on Friday, Trotz simply said that he did not know and could not answer that question.
[Related: Kuznetsov leaves Game 2 after McNabb’s hard hit]

Obviously, that leaves his status for Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final on Saturday night in Washington uncertain.

If he can not go it would be a pretty significant loss for the Capitals.

Kuznetsov is currently the NHL’s leading scorer this postseason and before exiting Wednesday’s game was riding an 11-game point streak. So far this postseason he has scored some massive goals for the Capitals, including a game-tying goal early in the third period of a pivotal Game 5 win against the Pittsburgh Penguins, and then scoring the series-clinching goal in overtime of Game 6.

That performance and those moments have made him one of the top contenders for the Conn Smythe Trophy as the playoff MVP.

In his absence Lars Eller stepped in and scored another huge goal for the Capitals, something he has done on more than one occasion this postseason while filling in for one of the team’s injured centers.

NBC’s Stanley Cup Playoff Hub

Adam Gretz is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at or follow him on Twitter @AGretz.