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jokergreen May 15
WASHINGTON -- For nearly four years, Washington Capitals fans have watched video clips of Evgeny Kuznetsov playing in Russia and imagined what he could do in the NHL. Breno Giacomini Jersey . On Friday night, Kuznetsov began compiling the North American version of his greatest hits -- posting three assists for his first NHL points in the Capitals 4-3 win over the Vancouver Canucks. Kuznetsov assisted during a power play as countryman Alex Ovechkin finished with a slap shot for his NHL-leading 45th goal. Less than five minutes later, Kuznetsov faked a slap shot from the wing and fed the puck to Tom Wilson for his third goal. In the third period, Kuznetsov started a sequence that led to Mike Green putting the Capitals ahead for good with 9:41 left. Green scored with a slap shot off a feed from Nicklas Backstrom from behind the net. "(Kuznetsov) did a great job battling down the corner and keeping control of the puck," said Green, who scored his ninth goal. "He made a great play to Nicky, and I noticed when Nicky was wheeling the net that he saw me before he even looked up." It was the third NHL game for Kuznetsov, the Capitals first-round pick in the 2010 draft. He signed with Washington last week after five years in Russias Kontinental Hockey League. "You get your first point on the power play, which is kind of an easy point, but it still counts," Washington coach Adam Oates said. "You get your juices going. Great play on the second goal, and then protecting the puck on a cycle (on the third goal), which is kind of something you dont necessarily expect." Kuznetsov played on Washingtons fourth line with fellow rookie Wilson and Jay Beagle, who contributed an assist. "He is such a creative player and a lot of fun to play with," Wilson said. "The first couple of games he wasnt sure, and hes really finding his groove. Hopefully we can have some chemistry for years to come." Kuznetsovs performance helped the Capitals forget the 12th time this season theyve blown a two-goal advantage. Washington led 3-1 early in the third period before Shawn Matthias and Nicklas Jensen scored for Vancouver to tie it. The goal by Jensen, a rookie playing in his sixth game, was the first of his NHL career. "I just felt we were just going to keep on coming," Vancouver coach John Tortorella said. "Theyve given up some leads here. We got that third one, I thought we were just going to take off. We had some chances." Vancouver outshot Washington 41-21, but the Capitals killed all seven Canucks power plays. Jaroslav Halak made 38 saves in his fourth start with the Capitals. "He had a fantastic night," Oates said. "We left him hanging." Jordan Schroeder scored Vancouvers first goal, and Chris Higgins and Christopher Tanev both had two assists. Eddie Lack stopped 17 shots as Vancouver fell to 3-12-1 in its last 16 games. "Its frustrating. I thought we played really well all game," Matthias said. "To tie it up there and let that happen, its upsetting." The night got off to a difficult start for the Canucks, whose bus broke down. Players then took cabs to the arena. Joel Ward opened the scoring for Washington, but the second period belonged to Kuznetsov. "Hes sort of got that young mentality where you know youre not afraid to make a play and do these things that youre capable of," Green said. "Hes going to be a great player." NOTES: The Canucks learned on Friday they will be without C Ryan Kesler for two weeks. Kesler, who leads the team with 22 goals, injured his knee in a 3-2 shootout victory on Wednesday over Winnipeg. ... The International Olympic Committee ruled that Backstrom wasnt at fault for his positive drug test before the gold-medal game at the Olympics, in which he didnt play, and he will receive the silver medal he earned with Sweden. Jon Weeks Jersey . The light-heavyweight champion and number one ranked pound-for-pound fighter in the world is on an 11-fight UFC winning streak, the longest in the history of the weight class. Andre Hal Jersey . Hollis-Jefferson went 5-for-6 from the field and added six rebounds, while Stanley Jefferson contributed 14 points for the Wildcats, who used their trademark tough defense to dominate the games final 24 minutes and advance to Tuesdays winners bracket matchup with Kansas State. MILWAUKEE -- O.J. Mayo and Gary Neal put on a long-range shooting display, but it was Caron Butlers little 2-foot tip-in that made the difference for the Milwaukee Bucks. Butler rebounded a miss by Mayo with 24.8 seconds left for the go-ahead basket that halted a 13-point run by the Cleveland Cavaliers, propelling the short-handed Bucks to a 109-104 victory Wednesday night. "Ive been around long enough," Butler said. "I just know a plays not over at the end of the game, thats when guys kind of put their guard down a little bit. I saw a great opportunity to sneak in there and put my hand on the ball." Mayo scored 28 points, including six 3-pointers, and Neal, who added four 3-pointers, scored 12 of his 23 points in the fourth quarter as the Bucks salvaged a victory after seeing a double-digit lead slip away in the final 3 minutes. Milwaukee, already without its top two point guards -- Brandon Knight and Luke Ridnour -- also played without forward Ersan Ilyasova and centre Larry Sanders. Ilyasova was out with a sore right ankle while Sanders was out with a sprained right thumb, injured in a weekend off-court incident that is being investigated, the Bucks said in a statement. "We were short-handed with no Larry Sanders, no Ersan, Luke Ridnour and Brandon Knight," Bucks coach Larry Drew said. "For those guys to come out and play like they did, I am very proud of them. I am very proud to coach this group. Weve had to overcome a lot of adversity since the beginning of training camp, dealing with injuries and guys being out. We beat a very good basketball team tonight in Cleveland." The Bucks, who used only eight players, opened the fourth quarter with an 11-2 run to take a 94-81 lead, but Kyrie Irving scored 10 consecutive points to fuel a 13-point run that put the Cavaliers up 104-103. After Butlers tip put the Bucks up 105-104, Irving dribbled off his foot and out of bounds. Mayo added four free throws in the closing seconds. "Crucial turnover by me at the end and it kind of stopped that," said Irving, who led Cleveland with 29 points. "A missed shot by me as well. It starts on the defensive end early in the game. Weve just got tto get stops early, so were not in that predicament going into the fourth quarter. J.J. Watt Jersey. " Neither team put on a defensive clinic in the first half that ended with the Bucks leading 55-53. Cleveland, which entered the game shooting 40.2 per cent from the field, shot 56.4 per cent in the first half, making 22 of 39 shots. The Bucks, who entered the game shooting 43.8 per cent, made 20 of 36 (55.6 per cent). "O.J. Mayo and Gary Neal are combined 10 for 12 from the 3-point line and we keep telling our guys to get up in them," Cleveland coach Mike Brown said. "Make them drive, make them drive. No air space, no air space. Make them drive, make them drive. But we continue to close short and allow them to shoot 3s. It is unacceptable." Injuries forced Bucks rookie Nate Wolters, a second-round draft pick out of South Dakota State, to play 33 minutes. Wolters, who has played at least 29 minutes in each game, finished with nine points, eight rebounds and six assists. "Hes very poised," Mayo said. "I think weve all seen that from day one. I dont think we thought he was going to be put in the hot seat that fast, but like I told him, "Welcome to the NBA. If youre ready, you dont have to get ready." NOTES: Former Bucks G Michael Redd officially announced his retirement Wednesday night and addressed the crowd from centre court between the first and second quarters. Redd, the 43rd pick in 2000, plyed 11 seasons with the Bucks before finishing his career with Phoenix in 2011-12. Redd, who holds the Bucks record with 57 points in a game, averaged better than 21 points per game for six consecutive seasons before tearing an ACL and MCL in his left knee in 2009-10 and then again the following season. ... Cavaliers F Anthony Bennett, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2013 draft, connected on a 3-pointer with 9:46 left in the first half for his first NBA basket after starting the season 0 for 15 from the field. . Ilyasova, who missed most of the preseason with a sprained right ankle, was not in uniform due to soreness in the a..nkle. .. Bucks centre Zaza Pachulia was 10 for 10 from the free throw line, making him 21 for 21 on the season. 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