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Capitals defeat Red Wings on Kuznetsov's OT goal

by Paul Harris /

DETROIT -- Evgeny Kuznetsov's goal 45 seconds into overtime gave the Washington Capitals a 2-1 win against the Detroit Red Wings at Joe Louis Arena on Wednesday.

Kuznetsov cut in off the right wing on a rush and beat Detroit goalie Petr Mrazek with a forehand shot for his sixth goal.

"Just go hard to the net. … That's all I'm trying to do, go to the net," Kuznetsov said.

Justin Williams also scored, Matt Niskanen had two assists, and Braden Holtby made 25 saves for Washington (12-4-1), which hosts the Dallas Stars on Thursday.

Kuznetsov also scored the overtime winner in Washington's 2-1 victory against the Florida Panthers on Oct. 31.

"[Kuznetsov] in overtime has been outstanding. … You give him some time and space and he's pretty good," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said. "He has that deceptive skating style. It doesn't look like he's moving his feet, but he's going faster all the time."

Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt also appreciates Kuznetsov's abilities.

"A little Russian magic," Schmidt said. "He's a special guy. I'm glad he's on our team, especially in 3-on-3 overtime."

Dylan Larkin scored for Detroit (9-8-2), and Mrazek made 25 saves.

"I thought in the second we played well; we had moments we pushed and had some offensive zone play and some chances," Red Wings coach Jeff Blashill said. "In the third, I thought they pushed hard and had us on our heels a bit. We played too much in our zone and didn't get enough time in their zone, for sure."

Mrazek stopped Washington defenseman John Carlson from in front with 3:18 left in regulation, and Capitals defenseman Nate Schmidt hit the goal post with 6:16 remaining.

"In the third, I thought that we were the stronger team," Trotz said. "... We [hit] three crossbars tonight. We had a hard time finding the back of the net."

Mrazek took a shot by Carlson from the left circle off his shoulder with 6:34 left in regulation. He went down and play was stopped, but Mrazek remained in the game.

"I didn't see the shot," Mrazek said. "It just went through off my chest and then hit my shoulder."

Larkin gave the Red Wings a 1-0 lead 2:48 into the game with a wrist shot from the top of the right circle off the rush. It was the 19-year-old rookie's sixth goal.

"He attacks and he shoots the puck a lot," Blashill said. "He's one of those guys that, I don't want to say overshoots it, because it's not that he doesn't make plays, but if he definitely has a chance, he's going to shoot it, and that probably needs to be a little more contagious on our team."

Williams scored a power-play goal with 9:06 left in the first period to tie it 1-1. He tipped defenseman Matt Niskanen's slap pass through Mrazek's pads for his fourth goal.

"I thought [Niskanen] was going to shoot, so I was a little bit aggressive and I went too much out," Mrazek said. "I saw [Williams] at the last second and tried to get there, but I think it went five-hole. It was a nice play by the D. He saw him on the side."

Capitals forward Alex Ovechkin has not scored in four games since tying Sergei Fedorov for most NHL goals by a Russian-born player (483) on Nov. 7 against the Toronto Maple Leafs. He had six shots on goal in 21:59 of ice time Wednesday, when he played with Nicklas Backstrom for the first time this season.

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