Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom had one of the best stretches of his career last week and the NHL has recognized his play.
Monday afternoon, the NHL announced Backstrom was the league’s third star of the week, placing behind first star Jeff Carter (four goals and two assists) and second star Cam Ward (3-0-0 with a 1.01 goals-against average, .964 save percentage). Backstrom led the league last week with eight points. He also scored four goals.
The Columbus Blue Jackets won their fourth straight game Sunday, but not it was not without controversy. Captain Nick Foligno drew a high-sticking penalty from Nicklas Backstrom with 1:34 left in the game. Alexander Wennberg would score the tie-breaking and game-winning goal on the resulting power play with under a minute remaining.
That result would have been easier to stomach for the Capitals if Backstrom’s penalty was a penalty. It wasn’t. Backstrom’s stick never touched Foligno.
Outscored 7-2 in their last two games against bottom-dwelling teams, the Washington Capitals’ play of late was becoming panic inducing. But Wednesday night, the Capitals erased all fears after they exploded for 7 goals against rival Pittsburgh.
Let’s relive them all.
On Saturday, the Washington Capitals hosted Hockey Fights Cancer Night at Verizon Center. There were so many great moments that evening that it’s hard to cover them all. But here’s another one.
Nicklas Backstrom’s Wish Kid for the evening was five-year-old cancer survivor Maeve, who is currently in remission. Before the game, Maeve and her newfound friend Addy, stood by the glass during warmups. It was at that moment Maeve first met hunky forward Tom Wilson.
Her reaction is priceless.
I have some good news to deliver. Caps stars Braden Holtby and Nicklas Backstrom are featured in the latest issue of DC Modern Magazine to promote their new partnerships with So Kids Can. They are wearing very fancy suits.
The two-page spread features both players posing for photos at The Bartlett, a new luxury apartment building in Pentagon City. However, I need to point you to Braden Holtby’s head, where he is sporting an even fancier fedora.
This is tremendous.
For the first three games of the season, Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin have been split up. Though this separation may not last long, and though they have spent some time apart during their years in DC, splitting them up is definitely a deviation from the norm. One impact of this change is forcing opponents to make a tough decision in how to match lines against the Caps.
But another major impact is the way the Caps are matching up against the opposition’s top line. Barry Trotz had generally preferred a power vs power matchup, often pitting the Backstrom-Ovechkin line against the other team’s top offensive line. With the duo broken up, the tough task of playing against the opponent’s top line each night has been assigned to the Caps second line of Marcus Johansson, Andre Burakovsky, and Backstrom.
So far, through an admittedly tiny sample of three games, the results have been outstanding. Not only has the Caps’ second line stifled the offense of the opponent’s top line, but by controlling the puck and going on the attack, they’ve been forcing the top offensive weapons of the Caps’ opponent to spend more time on defense than offense.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.