It’s taken him his entire NHL career and some grandstanding by Capitals coach Barry Trotz, but Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom will finally be playing in an NHL All-Star Game.
Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby, who is having a Vezina Trophy-worthy season, was also rewarded with his first NHL All-Star selection. Backstrom and Holtby will join Alex Ovechkin, who has been selected an All-Star seven times, at the NHL’s All-Star festivities in Nashville the final weekend of January.
By virtue of the Caps having the NHL’s best record (29-7-3, 61 points) Trotz will guide the Metropolitan All-Stars in the 3-on-3 tournament.
Backstrom, 28, has 607 points (156 goals, 451 assists) in 613 career NHL games but has never played in an All-Star game. He is second on the Capitals in scoring with 35 points (11 goals, 24 assists).
Holtby’s selection came as no surprise. He leads the NHL in wins (25) and ranks second in goals-against average (1.93) and third in save percentage (.932). His 25-4-2 record has led the Caps to the top of the NHL’s standings and has also made him a strong candidate to represent Canada in the World Cup of Hockey next September.
While Caps fans will certainly relish the chance to see Backstrom and Holtby play in their first All-Star Game, they undoubtedly will scoff at the fact center Evgeny Kuznetsov and defenseman John Carlson will not.
Kuznetsov, 23, leads the Capitals with 37 points (13 goals, 24 assists) and has emerged as a true star in the NHL.
Carlson has missed the past five games with a lower body injury but leads all Caps defensemen in scoring with 27 points (6 goals, 21 assists) in 34 games.
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