When Evgeny Kuznetsov was announced as the first star of the game following Friday night’s 4-3 win over Vancouver Canucks, the 21-year-old Russian emphatically flipped a puck into the stands and applauded the fans at Verizon Center, tapping his stick with his gloved hand.

A few minutes later, Kuznetsov’s cell phone was filled with text messages from more than 5,000 miles away.

“I had a lot of messages,” Kuznetsov said through a smile on Saturday, the morning after recording his first Kuznet-trick, a three-assist night against the Canucks. “All my friends. My momma and poppa, they cry I think. They were all excited.”

There is a 10-hour time difference between Chelyabinsk, Russia and Washington, which means Kuznetsov’s wife, parents and family had to get up at 5 a.m. to see him record his first three NHL points.

“Whoever gets up early accomplishes a lot,” Kuznetsov said. “They have all day to sleep.”

As a reward for his big night Capitals coach Adam Oates promoted Kuznetsov to a second line, where he replaced left wing Dustin Penner on a line with center Casey Wellman and right wing Troy Brouwer.

“He had a great night, a little reward,” Oates said. “I put Dustin back. He didn’t do anything wrong. He had a pretty good night himself. It’s just a feel against Toronto.”

Ironically, Kuznetsov saw less ice time in Friday night’s win over Vancouver [9:58] than he did in his first two NHL games [10:22 and 14:52 against the Penguins].

Oates said he’s a little fearful of giving Kuznetsov too much too soon.

“I really want to caution about getting to far ahead,” Oates said. “He made a couple good plays. Good. He can make a couple boneheads tomorrow. He’s a good hockey player, he’s played pro hockey, even though it’s over there. Do I expect him to make that pass to Willy? It was a great pass. Awesome.

“Is he learning? Yeah, I hope so. But I also want to caution myself on the wow factor.”

To make room for Kuznetsov, Penner [no points on nine shots in six games] was dropped to a fourth line with center Jay Beagle and right wing Tom Wilson.

“I thought he had a couple opportunities that if he was in a little better position he could have gotten 2-on-1s down the ice,” Oates said of Penner. “I think that’s also him learning our system, in terms of how fast you’ve got to get across the ice. I think he wasted some chances because of that. But I also think he did some good things in the game.”