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Barry Trotz calls Nicklas Backstrom 'one of the best passers that have played the game'

Barry Trotz calls Nicklas Backstrom 'one of the best passers that have played the game'

T.J. Oshie opened the scoring in Wednesday's game against the Boston Bruins with a breakaway goal that he neatly sent through the five-hole of goalie Tuukka Rask. He was so wide open, it looked like Oshie was essentially taking a penalty shot, something we all know he excels at.

But as nice as the finish was, the setup by Nicklas Backstrom was even better.

After intercepting a pass by Brad Marchand, Backstrom then sent a perfect saucer pass over the sticks of both Marchand and Colin Miller right to the blade of Oshie who was all alone behind the defense.

"It takes some touch," head coach Barry Trotz said of the pass.

RELATED: Prediction recap: Marchand behaves

Despite the high degree of difficulty, Oshie said he knew immediately that Backstrom would be able to get him the puck which was evident as he immediately took off down the ice as soon as Backstrom stole the pass away.

"I knew Nick was going to be able to get that puck through those two guys to me," Oshie said. How?

"Just cause Nicky's Nicky."

As incredible as the pass was, the Caps have gotten used to those kinds of dazzling plays from the veteran center. But don't make the mistake of thinking those kinds of plays are commonplace.

Trotz added context to Backstrom's phenomenal skill level after the game.

"It looks normal to us, but he's got elite hands. He's one of the best passers that have played the game. You look at how many passes and how he makes it and how he runs the power play and his poise and his patience. He's an outstanding player, playmaker, as good as anybody.

"He's the best I've ever coached, that's for sure, when it comes to playmaking."

MORE CAPITALS: Caps struggle to diagnose the problem with the PK

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

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Caps pull off inexplicable comeback win with five-goal third period

Down 4-1, the Capitals scored five goals in the third period for the incredible 6-4 comeback win over the New York Islanders on Saturday. Alex Ovechkin scored a hat trick pulling him in a tie with Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals.

Here is how the Caps won.


Ovechkin was hot coming in with five goals in his past two games. He scored midway through the first period, getting a great pass in stride from Nicklas Backstrom to launch him behind the defense. Just as the defense closed in he fired a wrister past Semyon Varlamov to make it 1-0.

There is...pretty much nothing positive to say after that until the third period. There was a great 5-on-3 penalty kill, but it was essentially negated as they allowed a goal soon after. The Islanders built a 4-1 lead through 40 minutes and it looked all but over.

But after Carl Hagelin made it 4-2, Ovechkin pulled the Caps to within one, pulling the vintage back-to-front Ovechkin curl-and-drag before passing to the front where the puck deflected off the boot of Ryan Pulock and in.

After Jakub Vrana made it 5-4, Ovechkin added the empty-netter for the knockout punch.

With three goals, Ovechkin now has 34 on the season. He passed Mario Lemieux and tied Steve Yzerman for ninth all-time in goals. Incredibly, this is the first time in his career Ovechkin has three straight multi-goal games.


Just what exactly lit the fire under the Caps butts for that third period will probably be a talking point after the game. Was it Devon Toews doing the bird celebration after he scored to make it 4-1? Was it pulling Braden Holtby and starting Ilya Samsonov in the third period? Was it something Todd Reirden or one of the players said?

Whatever it was, it was a different Caps team that took the ice for the third period.

Hagelin's turnaround

As great as Ovechkin's performance was -- and it was epic -- it might not happen without the Carl Hagelin's early third-period tally.

The comeback was sparked by Hagelin's goal that came less than three minutes into the final frame. A great pass by Richard Panik set Hagelin up on the doorstep and he hit it home.

That goal made it 4-2 and a two-goal deficit seems a lot less daunting than a three-goal one.

Shaky Varlamov

Once Ovechkin made it 4-3, you could smell the blood in the water. Washington had gotten to Varlamov and the flood gates were open.

Dmitry Orlov took the puck up to the top of the faceoff circle and fired a slap shot that Wilson managed to get a stick to and deflected it through Varlamov to tie the game.

About three minutes later, Vrana intercepted a pass and fired a quick shot to beat Varlamov far-side for the 5-4 lead.

Varlamov faced 10 shots in the third period and allowed four goals. The fifth came on an empty net.


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Ovechkin passes Lemieux, ties Yzerman for 9th all-time with hat trick

Ovechkin passes Lemieux, ties Yzerman for 9th all-time with hat trick

Alex Ovechkin continues to climb the ladder of the all-time goal list. With his two goals on Saturday, Ovechkin passed Pittsburgh Penguins great Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time with 691 career goals.

Ovechkin struck early in the first period and fittingly it was Nicklas Backstrom on the assist who hit him in stride behind the defense. Right before Nick Leddy was able to close the gap and get to the puck, Ovechkin fired the wrister to beat Semyon Varlamov blocker side.

That goal tied Ovechkin with Lemieux. He passed him in the third period.

Ovechkin came streaking down the left side then pulled off the vintage curl-and-drag back to front move. Scott Mayfield got his body in front of Ovechkin as he tried to get past him so Ovechkin flicked the puck center. It bounced off the boot of Ryan Pulock and past Varlamov for goal No. 691.

As if entering the top 10 wasn't sweet enough, he also pushed Lemieux out of it, something that Capitals fans will no doubt appreciate.

Granted, Lemieux got to 690 in only 915 games -- which is pretty insane when you think about it -- while Ovechkin is up to 1,133. But part of the greatness of Ovechkin has been his incredible ability to stay healthy. One of the greatest abilities is availability.

The next target on Ovechkin's list is Steve Yzerman who ranks 9th with 692 goals. Ovechkin is also closing the gap on current scoring leader David Pastrnak who has 36 for the season. Saturday's goal was Ovechkin's 34th.

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