WASHINGTON -- So this is why the Washington Capitals spent so much time eagerly awaiting the arrival of Evgeny Kuznetsov.
The 22-year-old center dazzled Thursday, scoring twice, helping set up another goal and displaying a variety of skills that have made him one of the best players in the world in his age group in a 5-1 victory against the New York Islanders in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference First Round series at Verizon Center.
Washington leads the best-of-7 series 3-2, and New York will need to find some answers after a line of Kuznetsov, Marcus Johansson and Jason Chimera shredded the Islanders for much of the final two periods.
"[Kuznetsov] is growing," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "He's gotten used to the League. The first 40 games, it was a little bit of a mishmash of up, down and not knowing the League quite as well. Maybe not as comfortable in his role. Then you sort of get through there, and there's always a glass ceiling for young players [to break through]. I think he got through that, and you're seeing what he's capable of. He's a terrific player."