Nicklas Backstrom is a mild-mannered Swede who shuns the spotlight. That’s why I’m here today to shine that light bright on him.
Early in the second period, the NHL’s reigning first star of the week made a fantastic defensive play, knocking a breakout pass by Conor Sheary out of mid-air. At real speed, it’s cool. The play takes about a half a second to happen.
Monday afternoon the NHL announced its three stars of the week for the week ending January 15th. As part of that announcement, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has been selected as the league’s number one star. Boston Bruins forward Brad Marchand and Carolina Hurricanes forward Brock McGinn were stars two and three.
Fresh off his 500th assist, Backstrom led the league in assists and point during the week of January 15th, with 7 assists and 10 points respectively. He is now 10th in scoring league wide, with 42 points in 43 games played.
This follows up Braden Holtby’s third star selection last week.
The Washington Capitals and Philadelphia Flyers played a mostly sleepy game through 40 minutes. Then the third period happened.
Washington exploded for four goals in five minutes. To complete the scoring, Nicklas Backstrom found Justin Williams with a no-look, between-the-legs pass. The tally gave the three-time Stanley Cup champion his 14th goal of the season.
It was Backstrom’s second stunning assist of the period.
The Chicago Blackhawks have won the Stanley Cup twice over the last four seasons (2012-13 and 2014-15). They are always at the top of the league. And they feature three of the best players in the league: Patrick Kane, Jonathan Toews, and Duncan Keith. That’s why when you beat the Hawks, it’s a big deal.
That’s why Friday’s result was such a surprise. The Caps, using their blistering team speed in the neutral zone, put up a touchdown against the Central Division’s best team.
Let’s review all the goals.
On January 7th, Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom recorded his 500th NHL assist vs. the Ottawa Senators. This Sunday, January 15th, prior to the game against the Philadelphia Flyers, Backstrom will be honored by the Caps organization for reaching that milestone. Only 139 players in NHL history have reached the 500-assist mark.
According to the team, he will be receiving a special gift as part of the ceremony. Backstrom is the first Capitals player to ever tally 500 assists. He currently ranks first all-time in the organization in assists, as well as third in the NHL in assists since he entered the league in 2007.
Nicklas Backstrom is without a doubt the best passer in franchise history. Yet it seems surprising that the unassuming Caps center is the third fastest active player (Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr) and the second fastest Swede (Peter Forsberg) to 500 assists. With Backstrom reaching the threshold Saturday night, I took a closer look at all of Nicky’s milestone assists.
Let’s begin with his first.
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