ST. PAUL, Minn. — Evgeny Kuznetsov suffered an injury on a faceoff in the third period against the Minnesota Wild, and after going to the locker room, did not return to the game. After the contest, Washington Capitals Coach Barry Trotz said he didn’t have an update on the second-line center’s health.
“We’ll see,” Trotz said. “He was being evaluated. He didn’t come back, but I haven’t talked to the trainers yet, so I have no idea.”
After the Wild scored their second goal of the game, Kuznetsov took a faceoff against Mikael Granlund, and in battling for the puck, Kuznetsov appeared to either be elbowed or hit with the butt end of Granlund’s stick. After being down on the ice for several seconds and being examined by Capitals trainer Greg Smith, he went back to the bench. No penalty was called on the play.
— CAPITALS HILL (@CapitalsHill) February 12, 2016
Kuznetsov is the Capitals’ leading scorer and he ranks fifth in the league in points with 54. His 39 assists are third in the league, and he’s also third in the NHL with a plus-24. Technically a rookie last year, he had 11 goals and 26 assists in 80 games, and he’s well eclipsed both categories already this season. Kuznetsov recently participated in his first All-Star game, and he was named the “first star” of January by the league.
With Kuznetsov out of the game, Mike Richards centered the second line of wingers Justin Williams and Andre Burakovsky. Richards was questionable before the game because of a lower-body injury he suffered at Nashville on Tuesday, but he played 11 minutes and 3 seconds against the Wild.
The Capitals have a day off in Dallas on Friday, so we won’t get another update on Kuznetsov’s status until Saturday, when Washington has a morning skate before its game against the Stars.