Going into Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final, the big question mark hanging over the series is whether or not Evgeny Kuznetsov is going to play and if he does, how effective he can be.

The Impact

It goes without saying, but paying close attention to injuries is incredibly important when you’re betting, and being on top of things could give you an edge. This is especially true in the playoffs — and in hockey in general — because teams often try to play coy and not reveal anything about injuries.

If Kuznetsov is not able to go in Game 3, Washington loses its first-line center and the NHL points leader in the playoffs. If Kuznetsov is out, Lars Eller will likely play in between Alex Ovechkin and Tom Wilson on the top line. Eller is a solid replacement, but the impact will be felt down the line up as the Caps will need to have someone else fill Eller’s role on a third line that was buzzing in Vegas.

As of Friday, things remain murky over Kuznetsov’s status. The 26-year-old did take part in the team practice and was said to be a full go as practice went on. However it also has been reported that he has yet to be medically cleared to play. For me the biggest piece of news however came from Tarik El-Bashir who indicated that Kuznetsov was practicing in all the drills but was removing his left hand from the stick while receiving passes.

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