It's been exactly two years since Capitals forward Evgeny Kuznetsov "exorcised the demons" against the Pittsburgh Penguins, scoring the series-clinching goal in overtime of Game 6 to advance Washington to the Eastern Conference Finals.
Kuznetsov's goal is considered by many Capitals fans to be the biggest goal in franchise history, as it finally got the team over the second-round hump in the playoffs, a postseason trip that would later result in a Stanley Cup.
However, Kuzy himself doesn't view his series-winner against Pittsburgh as the biggest goal of his career.
"For me, it wasn't the biggest goal of my life," Kuznetsov told Rob Carlin of the most recent episode of the Capitals Talk podcast. "I knew we had more to prove that year."
Kuznetsov was right, as the Capitals had plenty left to play for. They edged out the Tampa Bay Lightning in a hard-fought seven-game series to advance to the Stanley Cup Final, and then defeated the Vegas Golden Knights in five games to claim the franchise's first championship in history.
The Capitals winger explained that, naturally, there was plenty of emotion after scoring that goal to eliminate the rival Penguins.
"It's hard to explain," Kuznetsov said on the immediate emotions he had. "It's a couple of seconds, and then you feel tired because the game is over, [you have] no more energy. But in that moment, I realized we finally got to the next step and we got closer to our goal. That was a big team effort."
But Kuznetsov knew he couldn't get stuck looking back on that goal if the Caps wanted to reach their ultimate goal: winning the Stanley Cup.
"My coaches said before the playoffs, 'We have to control the emotions,'" Kuznetsov said. "I was like, if I'm going to think about that goal, then I'm stuck in that moment. I'm going to think a lot about that goal. So I tried to move forward and think about the future because every time I go back and look at those goals, I get too proud of myself."
So, if that goal against Pittsburgh wasn't the biggest goal of Kuznetsov's life, then which goal does he consider it to be?
"For me, the goal against the Islanders will always be No. 1 in my book," he said.
Kuznetsov was referring to his series-winner in Game 7 against the New York Islanders in 2015, where he dragged the puck from one side of the ice to the other before finding the perfect moment to fire the puck past Jaroslav Halak.
Both were incredible goals. But sorry, Kuzy, most Capitals fans will disagree with you on this one.
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