6:42: Kuznetsov is on the ice for the Capitals during warmups. Whyno reports that general manager Brian MacLellan said that if he gets through warm-ups, he’ll be in. He’s still a game-time decision.
4:37: It looks like Evgeny Kuznetsov will be considered a game-time decision tonight for Game 3 between the Washington Capitals and the Vegas Golden Knights at Capital One Arena, but speculation of whether the Washington Capitals leading scorer will play continues. With 25 points in this postseason, the star center has more points than any player in this year’s postseason, but after suffering an apparent wrist injury to his left arm that forced him to leave Game 2 early after a hit from defenseman Brayden McNabb, his status has been up in the air.
However, Kuznetsov participated in an optional skate with the team Friday and then again today for the team’s morning skate, which allowed the Associated Press’ Stephen Whyno to speculate that all signs point to a Kuznetsov return tonight, pointing out that the fact that he participated in line rushes alongside Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson and did not have any visible arm brace.
“It feels better every day,” Kuznetsov said. “In these type of games you always want to play, but you have to do better for your team and you have to understand it doesn’t matter who you are, what kind of player, you have to understand can you help the team or no. That’s the biggest part. You have to understand it and you have to communicate with the coaches, doctors and everybody, can you help the team?”
However, Sportsnet’s Chris Johnston adds that while it might look like Kuznetsov is expected to play, don’t assume that. The possibility of subterfuge is a legitimate possibility with the hopes of throwing off the Golden Knights’ game plan for Game 3. Johnston points to Kuznetsov’s offbeat humor when asked if he could help give Washington the advantage for Game 3.
“I don’t know. We’ll see if I’m in,” he said. “I definitely can help in the morning skate, no? More people. Less time you have to go.”
Johnston also points out that while Kuznetsov did participate in all drills, he didn’t look comfortable out there, pointing out that he gritted his teeth when taking shots, which is not standard for the team’s points leader. Unfortunately, we’ll have to wait until right before the start of Game 3 to find out if he’ll be out there.