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Photo: Jared Silber

A few years ago, Dan Steinberg asked Joel Ward why his teammates call him The Big Cheese.

“Just the big guy on campus, you know?” Ward explained. “The Big Cheese, it’s like the king on the throne. I mean, the Cheese kind of holds everything together in here, you know?”

On Thursday night, Ward, playing on the first line again with Nicklas Backstrom and Alex Ovechkin, showed why he’s such a big deal. The winger scored with 1.3 seconds remaining in the third period after being marvelously set up by Alex Ovechkin. Ward also scored in game seven on Monday. He famously netted the series-ending goal in deciding game against the Boston Bruins two years ago.

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Nicklas Backstrom’s Game Four OTGWG (GIF)

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Photo: Bruce Bennett

How do you beat Jaroslav Halak? The answer is almost always traffic up front. That’s how Alex Ovechkin got the Caps their first goal, a deflection in the first period. And that’s how, almost 60 minutes of play later, Nicklas Backstrom ended the game– as Joel Ward impersonated a wall in the slot.

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ovech-hop

Photo: Mike Stobe

Nicklas Backstrom just scored another game-tying goal. Today it came as the Caps were six minutes away from losing 1-0 to the Islanders.

Backstrom just shot it through a maze of players. Jaro Halak, screened, was eluded.

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Nicklas Backstrom Ties The Game (GIF)

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Talking about this goal would be vulgar. Just know this: Nick Backstrom has tied the game at three with a power-play goal that will make you cry or high five or cry five, which is what you call it when you cry and high five at the same time.

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ovechkin-manhandling-weber

When the Washington Capitals lost Nicklas Backstrom to injury for most of a season, they were a different team. The elbow to Backstrom’s head from Rene Bourque devastated the team.

So on Monday, when Sabres defenseman Mike Weber went to slam Nicky’s head against the boards (he missed), Caps captain Alex Ovechkin would have none of it.

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Alex Ovechkin Takes Over the League Lead in Points

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Photo: @JeffBessling

A few weeks ago, I wrote about how the Washington Capitals were dominating the NHL leaderboard. Another fun milestone comes tonight. Alex Ovechkin has taken over the league lead in points from… Nicklas Backstrom! Yup, it’s still a great (er, GR8) time to be a Caps fan.

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niscannon

Photoshop via @puckwx

Nicklas Backstrom has been insanely good this year. Today has been no different. For the Caps’ first goal, he took the puck in the Caps defensive zone, skated around four different Islander players in the offensive zone, and put a perfect pass into Matt Niskanen‘s wheel house. Niskanen unleashed the Niscannon, going top shelf.

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The Caps Are Straight Dominating the NHL’s Leaderboard

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Photo: @capsfan74

On February 19th, 2015, let it be remembered that 59 games into the season, the Caps were straight pwning the NHL’s leaderboard. Alex Ovechkin leads the league in goals (38) and Nicklas Backstrom leads the league in both assists (45) and points (63). Ovi is also third in the league in points and trails Backstrom by two.

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backstrom-pass-penguins

Nicklas Backstrom doesn’t go to All-Star Games, receive NHL Awards, or get much attention of any kind. He’s just quietly one of the best players in the league making world-class plays every night.

On Tuesday, the NHL’s leading assist man delivered another juicy apple– this time to Joel Ward during a five-on-three power play. Backstrom, in the corner, fired a perfect cross-ice, cross-crease pass to Ward who one-timed the puck past Marc-Andre Fluery. It would stand as the game-winning goal and Nicky’s 44th assist.

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Nicklas Backstrom’s Tic-Tac-Toe Goal (GIF)

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On Tuesday The Washington Capitals dominated the Los Angeles Kings both physically and on the scoreboard. But Washington’s aggressive play didn’t obscure their finesse, which was on display in the third period when the Kings surrendered the puck behind their net.

On that play, the Capitals looked like the Harlem Globetrotters.

The Kings, for their part, looked more like the 2008 Atlanta Thrashers than the defending Cup champions.

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