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Digest: Capitals hope Kuznetsov's big night is sign of a breakout

Digest: Capitals hope Kuznetsov's big night is sign of a breakout
Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov looks on during the first period of a game against the St. Louis Blues, Wednesday, Nov. 23, 2016, in Washington. (Nick Wass / AP)

Evgeny Kuznetsov scored a goal and an assist in the Washington Capitals' 4-3 win over the visiting St. Louis Blues on Wednesday night, the first game in which he's had a goal and an assist since Feb. 22.

But even more encouraging than the long-overdue point production was that Kuznetsov had stopped just playing on the perimeter and was back to generating chances close to the net.

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"That was the Kuzy that I think we all see that he can be," Capitals coach Barry Trotz said.

Trotz said he and Kuznetsov have "had some discussions" about his recent play and that Trotz wanted to see him go to the net more. "But as players, they figure it out," Trotz said.

Entering Wednesday night, Kuznetsov had scored two goals in his previous 38 regular-season games dating to last season. In the playoffs, he scored just one goal. In the previous 12 games, Kuznetsov hadn't scored a goal but had three assists.

Those were concerning statistics for Kuznetsov, as he led the Capitals in scoring last season with 20 goals and 57 assists. He showed flashes of that dominance Wednesday, and the team hopes that the two-point game can be a step toward his regaining his confidence and with it, his old form.

"I hope he's back in his game. When he has confidence, he controls the puck on his stick," Alex Ovechkin said.

Added goaltender Braden Holtby: "It's good he's getting his confidence back a bit. He's obviously a big part of our team and a big part of our offense."

Isabelle Khurshudyan, The Washington Post

Laurel Park: Jockey Feargal Lynch celebrated the Thanksgiving Day program by riding four winners. Lynch won the first race aboard Dark Gemini ($5.60), the fourth aboard Thissongisaboutyou ($12.60), the fifth with Broad Axe Bernie ($19) and aboard Justcallme K L ($11) in the eighth. Lynch is the third-leading rider at the current fall meet with 24 wins.

Lacrosse: John O'Sullivan, founder and CEO of the Changing the Game Project, will be the keynote speaker at the US Lacrosse Convention on Jan. 20 at 7 p.m. at Baltimore Convention Center. O'Sullivan, a former college and pro soccer player and a former coach, established the project in 2012 to help parents, coaches and youth sports organizations put more "play" in playing sports. George Mason women's coach Jessy Morgan (McDonogh) and Brown men's coach Mike Daly will host educational clinics for coaches. LaxCon runs Jan. 20 to Jan. 22. For more information or to register, go to uslacrosse.org/laxcon. … Brown men's coach Mike Daly will host an educational session for coaches at LaxCon.

Baseball: Attorney Jerome Nelson will discuss "Resolving Baseball Disputes: Arbitration of Salaries, Grievances, Drug Problems, and Sexual Assault & Child Abuse" at a meeting of "Talkin' Baseball" on Dec. 3, at 9 a.m. at Brighton Gardens, 7110 Minstrel Way, Columbia. Details: Call 410-992-1186.

Soccer: Louise Waxler of Columbia received the National Soccer Coaches Association of America's Charlotte Moran Youth Long-Term Service Award. The executive director of McLean Youth Soccer in Virginia, Waxler has over 30 years of experience as an administrator in youth and professional soccer. A member of the NSCAA since 1990, she served many years as a youth soccer representative for the organization before being elected an officer in 2002. She began her term as the NSCAA's President in 2006, only the third female to hold the position at the time.

From Sun staff and news services

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