Evgeny Kuznetsov (Jared Silber/NHLI via Getty Images)
The Washington Capitals are looking like a powerhouse in the Eastern Conference and a big part of that is the play of their top line. Alex Ovechkin, T.J. Oshie and Evgeny Kuznetsov have been tremendous, and the trio put on a passing clinic against Edmonton in Friday’s 7-4 victory over the Oilers.
So far this season, it looks like the Washington Capitals have built one of the most lethal lines in all of hockey.
The unit of Alex Ovechkin, Evgeny Kuznetsov and off-season acquisition T.J. Oshie has been outstanding for the Capitals in 2015-16 and Friday night against the Edmonton Oilers the line put together one of the most gorgeous goals of the year.
Ovechkin was coming down the left wing when he cut into the Oilers zone and rifled a pass all the way across the Edmonton zone onto the tape of Oshie. He had the space to shoot, but instead of electing to put the puck on goal, Oshie made a perfect one-touch pass that split two Edmonton defenders and landed right on Kuznetsov’s tape. Kuznetsov received the pass and pulled it across his body and left Oilers goaltender Anders Nilsson looking foolish:
Ovechkin’s not really known for his passing ability, but his feed across the zone was a thing of beauty that made the whole play possible. As soon as Ovechkin makes his pass, Oilers center Ryan Nugent-Hopkins turns to defend the pass instead of sticking with Kuznetsov. If Nugent-Hopkins stays stride-for-stride with Kuznetsov, there’s no passing lane for Oshie. Instead, one opens up and Oshie is able to make a gorgeous pass that leads to the goal.
The Capitals top line managed combined for nine points in Washington’s 7-4 victory, including a hat trick for Kuznetsov, which was capped with a power play goal with three minutes left in the third frame. It’s far from surprising that the line has amassed a total of 27 points this season, with Kuznetsov, not Ovechkin, leading the charge with three goals and 11 points through seven games.