Kuznetsov has 3 goals and 2 assists, Capitals top Oilers 7-4
EDMONTON, Alberta — Evgeny Kuznetsov and the Washington Capitals had a lot of fun — at the Edmonton Oilers’ expense.
Kuznetsov had three goals for his first NHL hat trick and added two assists to help the Capitals beat the Oilers 7-4 on Friday night for their fifth straight victory.
Kuznetsov opened the scoring on a backhander at 3:05 of the first period, gave Washington a 4-3 lead with another backhander at 6:17 of the second, and capped the scoring with a snap shot on a power play with 3:01 left in the third period.
"It feels unbelievable," Kuznetsov said. "It’s thanks to my linemates. But the team game is more important to me. I’m just happy with how we are doing right now."
The 23-year-old Russian had no goals and six assists in his first six games of the season.
"It’s awesome. He’s playing with a lot of confidence," Nicklas Backstrom said. "He’s grown so much from last year. Everyone is happy to see that."
Backstrom, Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky and Justin Williams also scored for Washington, and Philipp Grubauer made 19 saves in his first start of the season. Playing their third game in four nights, the Capitals improved to 6-1-0.
"We knew it was a big road trip for us. It was our first road trip," Washington captain Alex Ovechkin said. "We’re obviously happy to take these points."
Rookie star Connor McDavid scored his fifth goal of the season for Edmonton. Benoit Pouliot, Rob Klinkhammer and Ryan Nugent-Hopkins also scored.
The Oilers dropped to 3-5-1 after winning their previous three games.
"They’re a very talented team and they took advantage of a team that was sloppy in a lot of areas," Edmonton coach Todd McLellan said. "Tonight, I’m much more disappointed in individuals. Certain players who didn’t bring it, who were not alert, weren’t sharp, weren’t performing well.
"We can’t afford to have four or five guys just not with us."
NOTES: The Capitals beat Vancouver 3-2 on Thursday night. They also have beaten Chicago, Carolina and Calgary on the winning streak. The Capitals are off until Wednesday night when they face Pittsburgh at home. … The Oilers are home Sunday against the Los Angeles Kings.