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Sport Washington Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov scores in return from suspension

21:30  09 october  2019
21:30  09 october  2019 Source:   usatoday.com

Evgeny Kuznetsov returns to the lineup; Michal Kempny remains out

  Evgeny Kuznetsov returns to the lineup; Michal Kempny remains out Stephenson will slot in as the team's fourth-line center over Nic Dowd. “Yeah I’m excited for sure," Kuznetsov said. “It’s been quite a hard summer for me, and it is not easy to watch the games from upstairs or on the TV. You know, as a hockey player when you play a lot of games, you probably don’t realize how cool it is to actually go through warm-up, go through all the process, play the hockey game. When you miss a couple games, you start to realize how much easier, cooler to play the hockey than be in the workout area.

Washington Capitals star Evgeny Kuznetsov didn't need long to get on the scoresheet in his return from a drug-related suspension.

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov celebrates after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars© Geoff Burke, USA TODAY Sports Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov celebrates after scoring a goal against the Dallas Stars

The center scored a goal on his first shot and his second shift Tuesday night against the Dallas Stars.

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Kuznetsov received a three-game suspension from the NHL on Sept. 14 for "inappropriate conduct." The International Ice Hockey Federation had suspended him for four years for testing positive for cocaine when he played for Russia at the world championships.

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He entered the NHL/NHLPA Substance Abuse and Behavioral Health Program.

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Kuznetsov, 27, usually on the first line with Alex Ovechkin, opened play Tuesday on the third line. He swooped in on a cross-ice pass and ripped a backhander past Stars goalie Ben Bishop at 4:49 of the first period. He didn't do his usual bird-dance celebration.

"That's probably 75% of luck when you get like that," he told NBC Sports Washington during the first intermission.

Kuznetsov played a major role in the Capitals' first Stanley Cup championship in 2018 by scoring a playoff-high 32 points in 24 games. His regular-season point total dropped last season from 83 to 72.

Kadri, Rantanen help Avs stay perfect, beat Capitals 6-3

  Kadri, Rantanen help Avs stay perfect, beat Capitals 6-3 WASHINGTON (AP) — Even after sweeping a four-game homestand to start the season, the Colorado Avalanche felt they could do a better job of starting games. They proved themselves right Monday night against the Washington Capitals. Nazem Kadri and Mikko Rantanen each had a goal and two assists, and Colorado scored four first-period goals to beat Washington 6-3 and improve to 5-0-0. Erik Johnson, Nikita Zadorov and Matt Nieto also scored for the Avalanche, who scored on their first three shots on goal and four of the first five. Nathan MacKinnon added an empty-net goal and had an assist.

After he was suspended, Kuznetsov apologized to his family, team and fans and said he would "do everything in my power to win you back with my actions both on and off the ice."

He got off to a good start Tuesday.

"When you're playing hockey, you start to understand how important it is," he told the network.

"I promise to do everything in my power to win you back with my actions both on and off the ice. I also understand that I am fortunate to have an opportunity to make things right.

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Washington Capitals' Evgeny Kuznetsov scores in return from suspension

Capitals still undecided on backup for goalie Braden Holtby .
The Washington Capitals may have the ability to keep three goaltenders on their roster with the suspension of forward Evgeny Kuzetsov being off the books for the next few games. However, head coach Todd Reirden said keeping three goaltenders on the roster is not the plan.The team intends to start Braden Holtby in net on Sunday, but the real question is who might be his backup. Last year’s backup, Pheonix Copley remains in the mix and isn’t waiver-exempt, which could be an issue if the team attempts to pass him through waivers. However, the team also has their goaltender-of-the future in Ilya Samsonov close to ready as well and the team may want to see what they have in him sooner than later.

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