The Washington Capitals and their fans had a chance to show Nick Backstrom just how proud they are of his accomplishment: 500 career assists in 691 NHL games. He is the first Cap player to record 500 assists, the second fastest Swedish player to record 500 assists, third fastest current player with 500 assists, and seen by his teammates as a team leader – all from the Capitals video which played as we were given a chance to congratulate Nicky.
In a sweet ceremony, Backstrom was joined by fiance Lisa Berg and his two children as the Capitals Owner Ted Leonsis and Team President Dick Patrick.presented him with a ceremonial gold hockey stick. The quiet Swede had that big grin as he held his son Vince while waving at fans.
Nicky has already notched an additional five assists (one on Sunday) since becoming the 139th player to reach this impressive milestone a week ago. No doubt he will continue to lead his team forward and feed players the puck while scoring a few of his own goals too!
On Saturday Nicklas Backstrom reached a milestone of 500 assists. Only around 192 players have done that out of 5,000 NHL players that have ever played. Backstrom has been on the Caps for 9 seasons. He is the most selfless player on the team. He has almost always gotten the most assists per season of our team and most likely one of the smartest passers on the Caps.
Backstrom has gotten many more milestones with that assist He is the first player in the Capitals to get 500 assists. He also is the third fastest active player in the NHL to get 500 assists trailing Sidney Crosby (554 games played), and Jaromir Jagr (642 gp). In addition he is the second fastest Swedish player to get 500 assists only behind Peter Forsberg (551 gp)
Backstrom gets an average of 49.09 assists a year. His career high was 68 in the 2009-2010 season. He has gotten 23 assists in 39 games. Last year he got 50 assists in 75 games. He is on track to get very close to 50 assists if not 50 assists.
Backstrom gets a lot of assists but where is he in terms of goal scoring? He has scored 9 goals this season. He scored 20 goals last year in 75 games. He is on track to get more then 20 goals this year. His career high was 33 in the 2009-2010 season. His scoring average is 17.4 goals per season with 174 career goals.
He is also incredible in terms of the number of points he ears. For instance, in 2019-2010 he got 101 points. This year he already has 32 points, the most on the team currently. His career average is 66.4 points a year. He earned 70 points last year and is on track this year to earn close to that. He has earned 674 points in 691 career games.
Finally, as a fan, I have always found him to be an approachable, nice guy. When I have seen him at Kettler he has made time to sign autographs and take photos. He listens to comments about the way he plays and is one of the kindest people on the team. He always seems so happy. He just always has this glimmer in his eyes. I think it is the glimmer of someone who is ready to get his 501st assist.
The Capitals brought the second round back to DC and extended the series to a sixth game with a great win!
Head coach Barry Trotz shuffled up the forward lines: Evgeny Kuznetsov moved up to the first line with Alex Ovechkin and T.J.Oshie (a.k.a TKO line); Andre Burakovsky, Nicklas Backstrom and Marcus Johansson formed the All-Swede second line; and Justin Williams started on the third line with Jason Chimera and Mike Richards.
And it worked!
The first period was powerful as the Capitals and the Penguins came out flying. Alex Ovechkin and the Capitals had come to show they are not done yet. Ovechkin only needed eight seconds on the Capitals’ first power play and the first shot to score the first goal of the night. When scoring first, the Capitals are 4-1.
Nicklas Backstrom took an interference penalty open in the door for Chris Kunitz to score on the rebound on the following Penguins power play. It was not just Ovechkin who got scoring chances, the rest of the guys in red were peppering Matt Murray with shots. The teams were tied 1-1 after the first period.
The Capitals started the second firing- literally Ovechkin almost had his second of the night in the opening seconds of the period. Ian Cole went to the box and T.J. Oshie hit the crossbar but he collected the rebound of an Ovechkin shot and gave the Capitals a 2-1 lead.
About halfway through the period, Justin Williams took advantage of a Penguins mistake and he put one right in Murray’s five-hole, 3-1 Caps. The“Holtbeast” made some incredible super human saves late in the second to keep the 3-1 lead.
The Caps maintained their two-goal lead throughout the third period despite the Pens pulling goaltender Matt Murray with over three minutes left in the period. The Caps held the Penguins from even getting a shot on goal and secured the win to force a game 6 back in Pittsburgh.
Game 7, should the Caps have success in Pittsburgh will be in DC on Thursday. Caps should hold practice Monday at Kettler. We’ll keep you posted.
Three Stars of the night: Holtby, Ovi, and Oshie. Go Caps!
The Minnesota Wild had lost six straight games and had not won at home since the turn of the calendar. The Capitals had not won in the last eight games at Xcel Energy Center. Birthday boy Mike Richards was a game decision but he was in the lineup.
First period: Penalties Galore
Braden Holtby continued to be the best goaltender in the league. The Capitals killed off a slashing penalty to Justin Williams early in the first. Alex Ovechkin draws the first Wild penalty and the Capitals went on the power play. The teams had 53 seconds of 4-on-4 hockey after a penalty negated the power play. With 6:02 left, the Wild had 9 seconds for 5-on-3 and another power play. The Capitals penalty kill was perfect during the period. With six seconds left, Wild Folin took a penalty and the Capitals went on the power play.
PENALTIES: Justin Williams (slashing); Nate Prosser (roughing); Oshie (interference); Matt Niskanen (hooking) and Christian Folin (holding).
Second Period: Ovi hat trick!
The Capitals started the second period with 1:52 of power play. Unfortunately, they did not score on that power play but Capitals captain Alex Ovechkin would score his first of the game shortly after. Early in the period, Tom Wilson spent a few seconds in the Wild bench (none of the Wild players helped him out, a linesman did though). The Caps power play is scoring again! Ovechkin scored his second of the night and is now the NHL’s leading scorer (33) passing Chicago’s Patrick Kane. But Ovechkin wasn’t finished, he would score again to complete his 14th career hat trick. The Wild would challenge for offsides but would end up losing not only the challenge but their time out as well.
GOALS: Alex Ovechkin scored his 32nd (Assists: T.J. Oshie & Nicklas Backstrom), his 33rd (Assists: John Carlson & Nicklas Backstrom) and his 34th of the season (Assist: Nicklas Backstrom).
Charlie Coyle scored his 15th of the season, assisted by Miko Koivu and Zach Parise
PENALTIES: Thomas Vanek (slashing); Dmitry Orlov (slashing) and Charlie Coyle (Tripping)
SCORE: Caps lead 3-1
Third Period: Out of Control Wild
Michael Latta and Zach Parise exchanged pleasantries early in the third. The Wild decided to start roughing up the Capitals younger players. Matt Dumba crunched Andre Burakovsky into the boards and a scrum ensued with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Justin Williams. Williams would be the only one in the penalty box. Ryan Suter would score for the Wild on the following power play. Then Mikael Granlund injured Kuznetsov by hitting him in the face/head area with the butt end of his stick. Kuzy would head to the locker room and Capitals PR later announced that he would not return to the game. Jason Chimera, the Ice Cheetah, scored an empty netter in the final minute of regulation. With three seconds left in the game, Granlund scored and Braden Holtby was visibly furious. There was clear goaltender interference as Zach Parise had his glove on Holtby’s pad. But the refs, as they were all night, missed the call and the goal was deemed good. The Caps were victorious, 4-3.
GOALS: Ryan Suter scored his seventh of the season. Assisted by Matt Dumba and Zach Parise. Jason Chimera scored an empty net goal, his 15th of the season. Assisted by Tom Wilson. Mikael Granlund scored his fifth of the season, assisted by Zach Parise and Thomas Vanek.
PENALTIES: Justin Williams (cross checking) and Jarret Stoll (tripping).
SCORE: Caps won 4-3.
The Capitals now have 40 wins and 84 points. Alex Ovechkin got a hat trick and they leave Minnesota with 2 points. Unfortunately, Andre Burakovsky’s point streak ended at eight games. Let’s hope Kuznetsov is healthy and everything is going to be okay.
Practice: The Capitals have Friday, February 12, off.
Game: The Capitals will visit the American Airlines Center to play the Dallas Stars on Saturday, February 13 at 8:00 .