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Nicklas Backstrom is putting up historic numbers

Nicklas Backstrom is putting up historic numbers

Nicklas Backstrom had a big night last night. 

The center recorded his 500th career assist in the Capitals' 1-0 win over Ottowa last night, becoming the first Capitals player to ever do so. 

Not only does his record assist put him in elite company for the organization, but getting to 500 in just under 700 games is historical on a much larger level. 

Peter Forsberg, Sidney Crosby, Jaromir Jagr, and now Nicklas Backstrom. Not bad company to keep. 

RELATED: Backstrom ready to stop talking about 500th assist

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How to watch Capitals vs. Lightning Eastern Conference Final 2018

How to watch Capitals vs. Lightning Eastern Conference Final 2018

After the Capitals finally "exorcised the demons" and advanced past Round 2 of the Stanley Cup Playoffs by beating the Pittsburgh Penguins, they moved on to the Eastern Conference Final for the first time in franchise history since 1998.

Capitals fans waited for 20-years to see their team advance past the second round and the Caps were not going to make the wait for a Cup any longer.

Saturday, April 4, NBC Sports Washington will be airing Games 1, 2, 6 and 7 of the Eastern Conference Final between the Capitals and Lightning. Here's how to tune in.

When: Saturday, April 4, 10:30 a.m.

Where:

  • NBC Sports Washington (channel finder
  • Any of our 24/7 authenticated streaming platforms


Broadcast Schedule:

10:30 a.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 1]

1:30 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 2] 

4:30 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Tampa Bay at Washington [Game 6]

7:00 p.m.: NHL 20: Capitals @ Panthers

8:00 p.m.: NHL Classics: 2018 Playoffs Washington at Tampa Bay [Game 7] 

What happened in the 2018 Eastern Conference Final, Capitals vs. Lightning?

Game 1:

Coming off a high from beating the Penguins to advance to the ECF, the Capitals came out strong, Michal Kempny netting the first goal of the game to put the Caps up 1-0 over the Lightning eight minutes into the first period. With seconds to go, the Lightning took the puck down the ice and scored off of a wild play, but the goal was called back thanks to a too many men on the ice penalty. The Caps took the power play and with only seven seconds left in the first, Alex Ovechkin scored right off the face off to put the Caps up 2-0 heading into the second. Just under three minutes into the second period, Jay Beagle got a lucky bounce putting the Caps up 3 goals over the Lightning. A few minutes later, the Caps got their fourth and final goal of the game, Lars Eller getting the rebound off of an Ovi shot. The Lightning finally got something going in the third period, scoring two goals but it wasn't enough to beat the hot Caps.

Game 2:

The Caps kept their hot streak going into Game 2, this time laying it on with a 6-2 victory. The Caps got on the board first once again, with a shot from Matt Niskanen tipping off the stick of Tom Wilson and past Andrei Vasilevskiy who didn't stand a chance. But minutes later, Brayden Point put the Lightning on the board during a power play, tying the game at 1. The Lightning got on the board again to take the 2-1 lead thanks to another Caps penalty. But little did the Bolts know that would be their final two goals of the game. Early in the second period, a snipe from Devante Smith-Pelly tied the game at 2. With a minute to go in the second, Lars Eller broke the tie to put the Caps up 3-2 and with a mere two seconds left, Evgeny Kuznetsov put the Caps up 4-2 heading into the third. Two more goals followed from Alex Ovechkin and Brett Connolly to beat the Lightning 6-2.

Game 6:

After losing THREE straight games in a row, the Caps headed into a do-or-die Game 6 on the brink of elimination. In the first period, Vasilevskiy stood on his head for the Lightning, denying the Caps on multiple chances with superb goaltending. Finally, T.J. Oshie put the Caps on the board in the second period with a beautiful, one-timer snipe off of a Nicklas Backstrom assist. The Caps got their second goal of the game in the third period thanks to a great hustle by Jay Beagle and Chandler Stephenson to avoid the icing call and a pass to Smith-Pelly in front of the net who made it 2-0 Caps. With just under a minute to play, Nicklas Backstrom got his second assist of the game, passing to Oshie who got his second goal of the game with the empty-netter to secure the 3-0 win and force a decisive Game 7.

Game 7:

It all came down to a decisive Game 7. After losing three straight, the Caps forced Game 7 in Tampa with a 3-0 Game 6 win in Washington. Just 1:02 into the first period, Alex Ovechkin got the Caps on the board. In the second, Andre Burakovsky extended the Caps' lead to 2 and then AGAIN minutes later to make it 3-0. Tampa pulled the goalie with a couple of minutes to go in the third and Nicklas Backstrom capitalized on the opportunity, scoring the fourth and final goal for the Caps to defeat the Lightning 4-0 and advance to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time in 20-years. Braden Holtby secured two shutouts in row for Games 6 and 7, a feat only accomplished by four other goalies in NHL history.

Make sure to tune in Saturday, April 4 to watch the Caps beat the Lightning en route to their first-ever Stanley Cup Championship.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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Washington Capitals top 5 individual performances of the 2019-20 season

Washington Capitals top 5 individual performances of the 2019-20 season

With the NHL hitting pause on the 2019-20 season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the highlights from the first 69 games of the regular season. We’ve been counting down the top 20 games of the season and will recap multiple other categories over the coming weeks. Today we look back on the best individual performances of the season.

#5 – Holtby shuts down Jets comeback in shootout – February 25, 2020

For about 35 minutes, this game was spectacular. Alex Ovechkin scored two minutes in and Jakub Vrana made it 2-0 in the first period. Garnet Hathaway made it 3-0 about midway through the second and it looked like the rout was on. But what looked like it was going to be a cathartic blowout win for a struggling Caps team almost turned into a disaster.

Nikolaj Ehlers scored late in the second and it was all Jets after that. Kyle Connors and Mark Schiefle both scored in the third period to tie the game. Though he may have given up three goals, the Caps could not have won this game without Braden Holtby standing on his head. Winnipeg fired 17 shots on goal in the second period alone and Holtby turned aside 16 of them. He made 30 stops on 33 shots and turned aside an additional three shots in the shootout. When everything else was going wrong for Washington, Holtby kept them in it.

#4 – Samsonov earns first career shutout against Canes – January 13, 2020

This season between the pipes was always going to be an interesting one, with rookie Ilya Samsonov getting his first taste of NHL action. Interesting quickly became intriguing when Samsonov started the season 12-2-1 in his first 16 appearances. Although the rookie netminder showed well early on, he didn’t have a signature performance before earning his first career shutout on January 13th against the Carolina Hurricanes at Capital One Arena.

The Caps were coming off their first back-to-back regulation losses of the season -- with Holtby in net for both -- and Todd Reirden turned to the rookie in a big showdown with the Canes. Carolina was slow out of the gates, taking 4 penalties in the first and registering just 6 shots on goal. Things picked up for the rookie in the second as he made 10 saves and then 7 more in the third for a total of 23 saves. It was a huge win for the confidence of the team and their rookie goalie.

#3 – Ovechkin's Natural Hat Trick vs Kings – February 4, 2020

Alex Ovechkin, like most of the Caps on Feb. 4, was a complete non-factor in this game for 53 minutes. How could this be one of the best performances of the season, then? Because in those final seven minutes, Ovechkin scored a hat trick to save the Caps from a 2-1 defeat at the hands of an awful Los Angeles team and turned it into a 4-2 win for Washington. T.J. Oshie fed Ovechkin with a brilliant pass on the backdoor of goalie Jonathan Quick to get Ovechkin started. Suddenly the game was tied and Ovechkin could smell the blood in the water. Just seventy seconds later, Ovechkin fired a shot on Quick and he lost the rebound allowing Ovechkin to crash the net and slam the puck home. Ovechkin would add the empty netter to complete the miraculous natural hat trick.

#2 – Vrana lights the lamp thrice with WS Champion Nationals in attendance – November 3, 2019

Capitals fans who showed up to Capital One Arena on Nov. 3 thought they were coming to see a hockey game, but what they got was so much more than that. With the World Series champion Washington Nationals in the house and partying nearly as hard as their Capitals brethren after their Stanley Cup victory a summer earlier, Jakub Vrana netted his first-career hat trick as the Caps beat the Flames 5-2.

#1 – Ovechkin nets hat trick in final game before All-Star Break – January 18, 2020

If you turned off the game on Jan. 18 against the New York Islanders after the second period, you’re not alone. The Islanders were up 4-1 and Washington was getting absolutely dominated. Ovechkin’s tally, which tied him with Mario Lemieux for 10th all-time in goals, was the team’s lone goal up to that point. Early in the second, however, Carl Hagelin scored to pull the Caps to within two. Ovechkin cut the lead to one with a goal that was more about will than skill as he pulled off a beautiful curl and drag, then deflected a puck off of defenseman Ryan Pulock and in. Ovechkin pulled off a great neutral zone move in the third period and netted an empty-netter for the hat trick.

Heading into this game, Ovechkin was one goal behind Lemieux for tenth in all-time in goals. By the end of the game, Ovechkin was tied with Steve Yzerman for ninth.

Stay connected to the Capitals and Wizards with the MyTeams app. Click here to download for comprehensive coverage of your teams.

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