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Stanley Cup Final

Kuznetsov returns, scores for Capitals in Game 3 of Stanley Cup Final

Center gets second-period goal against Golden Knights after injury in Game 2

NHL.com @NHL

WASHINGTON -- Evgeny Kuznetsov returned from injury and scored for the Washington Capitals in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights, a 3-1 win at Capital One Arena on Saturday.

The center left Game 2 on Wednesday with an upper-body injury he sustained from a hit by Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb with 5:18 remaining in the first period.

"I woke up, felt a little better again," Kuznetsov said. "I felt like I can help the team, and it ended up working pretty well for us."

 

[RELATED: Complete Golden Knights vs. Capitals series coverage]

 

Washington leads the best-of-7 series 2-1 with Game 4 here Monday (8 p.m. ET; NBC, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Kuznetsov was said to be a game-time decision after he participated in the morning skate and took rushes in his regular spot on the top line between Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson.

Kuznetsov scored 12:50 into the second period to give Washington a 2-1 lead.

"I think the shot, it's not my strong side," Kuznetsov said. "But that situation, we have a 2-on-1, I look for [Jay Beagle], and when you have a chance to feed those guys who play on the [penalty kill] a lot, who block a lot of shots, you want to make that pass for him. But he wasn't open that time and I had to shoot."

Video: VGK@WSH, Gm3: Kuznetsov snipes wrister past Fleury

Kuznetsov, who had an assist on the first goal by Ovechkin, leads the Stanley Cup Playoffs with 27 points (12 goals, 15 assists), a Capitals postseason record. He has a point in 12 of the past 13 games; his Capitals record 11-game postseason point streak ended with the injury Wednesday.

"Obviously a huge boost," Beagle said of Kuznetsov returning. "It's big. He's a key part of our team. He's huge for us. When he goes down you obviously don't want that. We know the kind of player he is and what to expect, and tonight he played unreal."

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