- The Washington Times - Friday, June 1, 2018

Washington Capitals center Evgeny Kuznetsov participated in the team’s optional skate Friday and will likely be a game-time decision for Saturday’s Game 3.

Kuznetsov has not received medical clearance, so he wasn’t made available to reporters. But he handled the puck and skated with his teammates.

The 26-year-old is dealing with an upper-body injury after taking a hard hit from Vegas defenseman Brayden McNabb in Game 2. The hit occurred in the first period and Kuznetsov, who grabbed his left arm after getting slammed into the glass, did not return. 

“Kuzy is one of our most important players,” said center Lars Eller. “He’s an amazing talent and he can make the difference in any game. So we hope to have him back for tomorrow, but we’ll see. If not, we’ve shown that we can overcome those kinds of losses.”

If he can’t play, winger Alex Chiasson will likely be activated with forward Chandler Stephenson moving to center.

Kuznetsov has had an excellent postseason, recording 11 goals and 14 assists. He has missed just five games since the 2014-15 season, proving to be durable.

Coach Barry Trotz said Kuznetsov remains “day to day.”

“It’s always nice to see a guy that was hurt,” said star Alex Ovechkin. “I’m sure he will be fine.”

Corrected from earlier version regarding number of goals and assists Kuznetsov recorded this postseason.

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