June 2, 2018 / 8:38 PM / in 18 days

Kuznetsov returns for Capitals in Stanley Cup Final Game 3

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov was back in the lineup for Saturday’s Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights.

May 30, 2018; Las Vegas, NV, USA; Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov (92) reacts after being injured in the first period in game two of the 2018 Stanley Cup Final against the Vegas Golden Knights at T-Mobile Arena. Mandatory Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie-USA TODAY Sports

Kuznetsov was a full participant in morning skate prior to Saturday’s game.

Kuznetsov was injured in Game 2 when Golden Knights defenseman Brayden McNabb hit him hard against the boards late in the first period on Wednesday night.

Kuznetsov stayed down for a moment and appeared to be holding his left arm and hand in pain as he left the ice. He did not return, ending an 11-game point streak that began in the second round of the playoffs. The Capitals won the game 3-2 to even the series.

Kuznetsov said Saturday that he isn’t upset about McNabb’s hit.

“Nope,” Kuznetsov told reporters. “Playoff hockey, right? ...

“We hit their guys. They hit our guys. It’s just a hockey play and I’m never going to judge the referees or some players how they play. It’s not on me. But I don’t think that’s dirty, right?”

Kuznetsov leads the NHL in points this postseason with 25, one ahead of linemate Alex Ovechkin. He totaled 27 goals and 83 points during the regular season, both second on the team to Ovechkin, and his 56 assists led the squad.

After averaging 18:49 of ice time in the regular season, Kuznetsov has averaged 20:36 through 21 playoff games despite leaving after 4:26 of ice time in Game 2.

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