Tuesday, April 28

Neil Parker




Evgeny Kuznetsov’s goal, Niklas Kronwall’s hit and a Game 7 in Tampa. 




The Evgeny Kuznetsov goal was special. The patience along the half wall for the split second to stall Frans Nielsen, and then as soon as Nielsen leaned in, Kuznetsov’s quick cut to the net left Nielsen without a chance to catch him, it will be shown for a long time.


I don’t watch enough basketball or know the correct technical terms, but Kuznetsov essentially posted up against Nielsen, and with the Capitals cleared out, it was a quick spin and direct cut to the net. The Islanders were spread to thin and there was a clear lane. It had a set basketball play feel to it.


Brock Nelson‘s head was on a swivel, and it just happened he inched toward the blue line and peeked that way at the exact same time Kuznetsov spun. The margin of error was so small it is difficult to lay too much blame on Nelson, or Nielsen for that matter. It was just an impressive play for Kuznetsov.



Hockey analysis has turned into a blame game, and fingers are too often pointed at players for making mistakes. Appreciate the talent and the play, Nelson wasn’t out of position, his timing was just a half second off, and he did get a stick in there. Albeit, it wasn’t a particularly strong stick check from No. 29 in white.


What is most impressive is 95 percent of the players in the league shoot it around the faceoff dot and 99 percent shoot in the slot. Kuznetsov’s patience and poise began the play on the side wall and finished it off. It was an impressive display of confidence.


Kuznetsov elevated his game significantly down the stretch and finished with 13 points — five goals — over his past 17 games. He scored two goals with a helper in his monster Game 5 showing and now has a series-clinching goal on his resume.


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