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Nicklas Backstrom becomes first player in Caps franchise history to reach 500 assists

Nicklas Backstrom becomes first player in Caps franchise history to reach 500 assists

Nicklas Backstrom has made a career out of being one of the top setup men in the NHL and he made history on Saturday as he reached assist No. 500 of his career off of a T.J. Oshie goal in the first period. He is the first player in franchise history and just the 10th Swedish-born player in the NHL history to reach that mark.

Less than two minutes into Saturday's game against the Ottawa Senators, Backstrom skate the puck into the offensize zone and backhanded a pass to Oshie. Oshie hit a one-timer to the top corner of the net that beat goalie Mike Condon, giving Backstrom the primary assist.

RELATED: Nicklas Backstrom’s ‘pulse rate is very low’

You can watch the play in the video above.

The Gavle, Sweden native is the first player from the 2006 draft class to reach 500 assists. It took him just 691games to reach 500, making him the second-fastest to do so among all Swedish players behind only Peter Forsberg (551 GP) and the third-fastest to do so among active players behind Sidney Crosby (554 GP) and Jaromir Jagr (642 GP).

Backstrom currently leads the Caps in points in the 2016-17 season with 32 points. Saturday's assist was Backstrom's 23rd of the campaign.

MORE CAPITALS: Q&A: Are the Caps back?

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How to watch Capitals vs. Islanders Game 2

How to watch Capitals vs. Islanders Game 2

After getting out to an early lead in Game 1, a few critical mistakes led to the Capitals falling to the New York Islanders 4-2 to begin their Stanley Cup run.

Now, in Game 2, Washington will look to get back on track and even the series. A physical Game 1 means more fireworks are probably in store for Friday.

You're not going to want to miss this one. Here's how to watch. 

CAPITALS vs. ISLANDERS HOW TO WATCH 

What: No. 3 Washington Capitals vs. No. 6 New York Islanders
Where: Scotiabank Arena in Toronto, Canada 
When: 8:00 PM ET 
TV Channel: Capitals vs. Islanders will be broadcast on NBC Sports Washington.
Live Stream: You can live stream Capitals vs. Islanders on NBC Sports Washington's live stream page and on the MyTeams App.

CAPITALS vs. ISLANDERS TV SCHEDULE

7:00 PM: Caps Pregame Live (LIVE)

8:00 PM: Capitals vs. Islanders (LIVE)

10:30 PM: Caps Postgame Live (LIVE)

RELATED: GAME 2 PREVIEW

CAPITALS VS. ISLANDERS SCHEDULE (ISLANDERS LEAD 1-0)

Game 1: Wednesday, August 12, 4:04 p.m. (Islanders Win 4-2)

Game 2: Thursday, August 14, 8:00 p.m.

Game 3: Sunday, August 16, 12:00 p.m.

Game 4: Tuesday, August 18, 8:00 p.m.

Game 5: (If necessary) Thursday, August 20, TBD

Game 6: (If necessary) Saturday, August 22, TBD

Game 7: (If necessary) Sunday, August 23, TBD

CAPITALS vs. ISLANDERS WHAT TO WATCH 

Braden Holtby took the blame for the Game 1 loss, and Washington will need him to rebound on Friday. Goaltending may be the most crucial aspect of playoff hockey and Washington is hoping they can rely on Holtby for one last deep run.

Anders Lee's hit on Nicklas Backstrom was the talk of Game 1. It was a reason Backstrom had to exit and will not play in Game 2 as he enters the concussion protocol. Both teams were very physical for the rest of the matchup and that should continue on Friday with tensions rising. 

CAPITALS vs. ISLANDERS PLAYERS TO WATCH 

T.J. Oshie (26 goals, 23 assists, 49 points): Oshie was the Capitals' only source of offense on Wednesday. With two goals early on he set the tone and showed that he has a knack for showing up in the big moments. Though the Caps will need others to help, it's always good to have Oshie putting the puck in the net. 

Mathew Barzal (19 goals, 41 assists, 60 points): Barzal didn't net a goal in Game 1, but he didn't need to. His presence was still felt on offense, however, as he recorded two assists on the afternoon. If he can continue to distribute, and score every once in a while, the Capitals could be in trouble.

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Barry Trotz brushes off Todd Reirden's 'predatory' comment on the hit to Nicklas Backstrom

Barry Trotz brushes off Todd Reirden's 'predatory' comment on the hit to Nicklas Backstrom

Nicklas Backstrom was injured on a late hit delivered by New York Islanders captain Anders Lee in Game 1 on Wednesday and the Capitals made it known after the game that they did not like the hit at all.  Head coach Todd Reirden provided some of the strongest comments as he called the hit "predatory."

"It was a late hit on an unexpected player that was in a spot [where] he was extremely vulnerable," Reirden said. "So those are some things we saw there. It’s as simple as that. Like I said, late hit, the player wasn’t expecting it and it’s predatory.”

Given a chance to respond on Friday, however, Islanders head coach Barry Trotz brushed aside Reirden's comments.

"Not really," Trotz said when asked if he had a response. "[The Department of Player Safety] looks at it, they've got good hockey people. Todd was doing what you expect a coach to do, is defend his player. I don't have anything on that reaction at all."

RELATED: LOSING BACKSTROM 'HUGE TROUBLE' FOR CAPS

Backstrom is in the league's concussion protocol as a result of the hit and will not play in Game 2. That is sure to irk the Caps even further after Lee received no supplemental discipline from the league.

"I definitely think it's fuel for the fire in a way," Tom Wilson said. "Obviously we didn't like the hit. Nicky is our star player. He's a leader for us. You never want to see a guy go down, especially a guy like that. We're going to do our best to play for him, and step in."

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