Quick Links

Backstrom makes Sweden's preliminary roster, Johansson does not


Backstrom makes Sweden's preliminary roster, Johansson does not

Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom has been selected to Team Sweden's preliminary World Cup roster as announced on Wednesday. His Capitals teammate Marcus Johansson was not.

Backstrom earned a gold medal playing for Team Sweden in the World Championship in 2006 and a silver medal in the 2014 Olympics. He has 24 points in 33 international games at the senior level.

Joining Backstrom is former Capitals prospect Filip Forsberg, now with Nashville. Forsberg is enjoying a spectacular season with 26 goals in 64 games, matching the number of goals he had in 82 games last season.

Here is the complete 16-man roster:

Henrik Lundqvist, New York Rangers, G
Jacob Markstrom, Vancouver Canucks, G
Oliver Ekman-Larsson, Arizona Coyotes, D
Victor Hedman, Tampa Bay Lightning, D
Niklas Hjalmarsson, Chicago Blackhawks, D
Erik Karlsson, Ottawa Senators, D
Niklas Kronwall, Detroit Red Wings, D
Anton Stralman, Tampa Bay Lightning, D
Nicklas Backstrom, Washington Capitals, F
Loui Eriksson, Boston Bruins, F
Filip Forsberg, Nashville Predators, F
Gabriel Landeskog, Colorado Avalanche, F
Daniel Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, F
Henrik Sedin, Vancouver Canucks, F
Alexander Steen, St. Louis Blues, F
Henrik Zetterberg, Detroit Red Wings, F

Johansson was not included on the initial 16-man roster, but he could be added on when the 23-man roster is finalized on June 1. Considering there are only eight forwards on this initial list, there's a good chance Johansson can still earn a spot.

The blue line of this team is absolutely stacked. That to go along with Henrik Lundqvist playing in net will make this Swedish team very formidable.

RELATED: Laich learned he was traded from Julianne Hough

Quick Links

Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 projection: Still too close to call in the Metropolitan Division


Stanley Cup Playoffs 2018 projection: Still too close to call in the Metropolitan Division

The Stanley Cup Playoffs are right around the corner and there is still a lot to be decided.

The Metropolitan Division is going to come right down to the wire as each team seemingly continues to win and put the pressure on the first place Capitals.

With just over two weeks remaining in the regular season, the playoff matchups for the first round of the NHL playoffs are still up in the air with only five points separating the top four teams in the Metro. Washington is in good position with a four-point cushion between themselves and the second place Pittsburgh Penguins. With both teams meeting on April 1, however, the Caps are still a long way off from clinching the division and earning home ice in the first round.


Metropolitan Division
1. Washington (93 points, 74 GP, 40 ROW)
W1. Philadelphia (88 points, 75 GP, 36 ROW)

2. Pittsburgh (89 points, 74 GP, 40 ROW)
3. Columbus (89 points, 75 GP, 36 ROW)

Atlantic Division
1. Tampa Bay (106 points, 74 GP, 45 ROW)
W2. New Jersey (82 points, 73 GP, 32 ROW)

2. Boston (100 points, 72 GP, 42 ROW)
3. Toronto (95 points, 74 GP, 37 ROW)

Still in the hunt:
Florida (81points, 72 GP, 34 ROW)


Washington has won only one out of four games against the Philadelphia Flyers this season. That's not an ideal first-round matchup for Washington, but there is still time for the Flyers to climb and overtake Columbus or Pittsburgh in the standings..

What seems unlikely to happen is for New Jersey or Florida to pass Philadelphia. While things remain close near the top of the standings, there seems to be a growing divide between the top-four teams in the Metropolitan Division and the two teams battling for the final remaining spot in the playoffs.

The Flyers may be in fourth place in the division, but they still boast a healthy six-point lead over the Devils who sit in the second wild card.

If we assume New Jersey and Florida will not be able to climb to any postseason position, but the second wild card, that makes the three most likely candidates to face Washington in the first round Pittsburgh, Columbus and Philadelphia.

Quick Links

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

3 reasons the Caps beat the Red Wings

Not much separated the Washington Capitals and the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday. A late 2-on-0 goal for Brett Connolly proved to be the difference.

Here's why the Caps ultimately walked away with the 1-0 win.

A first period goalie interference call

Andreas Athanasiou thought he had given the Red Wings a first period lead, but Barry Trotz challenged the call for goalie interference. The review showed that Tyler Bertuzzi clipped Philipp Grubauer in the head with an elbow right before the shot went in. Given how long it took the Caps to get going in this game, it is fair to say an early deficit would have been hard to overcome.


Killing off a full two-minute 5-on-3

Two man advantages are hard to kill. Killing off a full two-minutes at 5-on-3, that's a tall task. With the game still scoreless in the second period, T.J. Oshie and Lars Eller were both assessed penalties giving Detroit two-full minutes at 5-on-3. The Red Wings managed four shots on goal, but Washington was able to successfully kill off the penalty and keep the game scoreless.

Philipp Grubauer

There were few players who had strong efforts on Tuesday, but Grubauer was phenomenal. Even when the game felt sleepy in the first two periods, Detroit still managed 28 shots on goal, all of which were turned aside by the German netminder. When Washington finally took the lead in the third, the Red Wings woke up and began pushing the offense, but Grubauer was in the zone at that point and could not be beaten. His best save came in the third period when he stared down a breakaway from Athanasiou and extended the pad to deny the shot.