Capitals

Quick Links

Nicklas Backstrom relieved to get assist No. 500 'so we can stop talking about it'

Nicklas Backstrom relieved to get assist No. 500 'so we can stop talking about it'

In the history of the Washington Capitals, a history that includes five Hall of Fame players, no one had previously been able to reach the 500 assist plateau. Nicklas Backstrom became the first on Saturday night with an assist on a goal by T.J. Oshie that would prove to be the game-winner over Ottawa.

In typical fashion, Backstrom sounded relieved to soon be out of the spotlight.

”I think it’s something that’s been built up for the last couple weeks,” Backstrom said, ”but it feels good that it’s done so we can stop talking about it.”

RELATED: Backstrom's milestone assist proves the difference over Ottawa

Backstrom admitted in an interview with Joe Beninati that he was trying not to think of the milestone because it had been a distraction to him the past few games. It must not have been distracting him too much, however, as the veteran center earned assists No. 499 and 500 in consecutive games and now has 11 points in his last 15.

In the opening minutes of Saturday’s game, defenseman Nate Schmidt passed the puck to Backstrom who took it into the offensive zone, then flicked a no-look backhand pass to T.J. Oshie. Oshie hit the one-timer into the top shelf for what would prove to be the only goal of the game.

Backstrom was quick to give credit to his teammates afterwards.

“It was a hell of a shot there by Osh and a good play by Schmidtty there too in the middle.”

Backstrom is now the 10th Swedish-born player in NHL history to reach 500 assists and the second-fastest among those 10 to do so behind only Peter Forsberg (551 games played vs. 691). He is also the third-fastest player to reach 500 assists among active NHL players behind Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr (642 GP).

The list of accomplishments for the 29-year-old Gavle, Sweden native is already a long one that cements him as one of the top players in the NHL and in Capitals’ franchise history.

Just don’t tell him that.

“Got a big congrats from the guys here so that was nice,” he said. “ It’s nice to get it over with and look ahead here.”

MORE CAPITALS: Backstrom becomes first player in team history to reach 500 assists

Quick Links

Alex Ovechkin challenges Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin to shave while in isolation

Alex Ovechkin challenges Ilya Kovalchuk, Evgeni Malkin to shave while in isolation

While we all focus on social distancing and staying at home to prevent the spread of coronavirus, this difficult time has basically given us a license to take time off from shaving. 

Don't tell that to Capitals superstar Alex Ovechkin, who has seemingly started a new shaving challenge on Instagram with his wife, Nastya (music NSFW). 

As Ovechkin goes for the clean shave with Nastya dancing by his side, the caption translates to him challenging fellow Russian hockey stars Ilya Kovalchuk and Pittsburgh's Evgeni Malkin. 

Neither player has considerable facial hair, but credit to Ovechkin finding another way to keep busy during isolation. Even if he's fraternizing with a Penguin. 

CLICK HERE TO SUBSCRIBE TO THE CAPITALS TALK PODCAST

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

MORE CAPITALS NEWS:

Quick Links

With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 4

With NHL season paused, a ranking of Capitals' best wins of 2019-20: No. 4

While we wait for the NHL to hopefully resume its season, NBC Sports Washington is looking back at the 20 best wins of the Capitals' season so far. Mark Zaner, producer for Caps Faceoff Live and Caps Overtime Live, has watched every game. His rankings continue with No. 4, a 5-2 win over the New Jersey Devils on Jan. 16 that featured a bloodied Alex Ovechkin getting revenge against the Devils and Braden Holtby getting a fancy new hat. 

WHAT HAPPENED 

Ovechkin made his presence felt in the first period. He scored on a blistering one-timer during a 5-on-3 power play to get the Caps on the board first. Then with less than a minute remaining, after Nicklas Backstrom won an offensive zone draw, Ovechkin picked up the loose puck and fired a wrister that Louis Domingue never saw. 

  

Just 16 seconds in the second period, Ovechkin got some help. Lars Eller’s forecheck forced New Jersey into a turnover. Eller and Richard Panik eventually found Carl Hagelin in front of the net for the easy score. Hagelin’s goal came on Cory Schneider, who replaced Domingue at intermission. 

  

Despite being dead last in the Metro Division, the Devils didn’t roll over. Wayne Simmonds scored less than a minute after Hagelin’s goal. Blake Coleman scored shorthanded for his 19th of the season early in the third period to make it 3-2. 

Order was eventually restored. Jakub Vrana took advantage of a bad clearing attempt by Pavel Zacha and snuck one through Schneider. And at the 15:42 mark, the Capitals put the game away for good. Tom Wilson made one of the best passes of the season right to Ovechkin on the doorstep. Washington wins 5-2. 

  

MEMORABLE MOMENTS 

This was Ovechkin’s second hat trick of the season. It looked like it would be a rough night early on for the Captain. On one of his first shifts of the night, Ovechkin took a high stick from Miles Wood that drew blood. Ovi spent most of the period getting stitched up in the dressing room. He returned to the game just in time to score two goals in the final five minutes of the period. Don’t make Ovechkin angry, you won’t like him when he’s angry. 

  

Ilya Samsonov continued a brilliant stretch of games. He made one of the more remarkable saves of his young career. 

  

WHY IT WAS SIGNIFICANT 

Just five days earlier, the Caps hosted New Jersey and lost 5-1. It was arguably their worst game of the season. Washington didn’t take the Devils lightly in this contest and got a much needed two points with the All-Star break looming. 

Ovechkin scored career goals 687, 688 and 689. That put him one behind Mario Lemieux for 10th place on the all-time scoring list. He would jump Super Mario less than 48 hours later. 
 
WHAT WE WERE TALKING ABOUT 

When throwing hats on the ice, fans usually just chuck cheap baseball caps and toques. This is the first time I can remember someone throwing a women’s fedora on the ice. 

  

Braden Holtby pulls off the look well. The whole incident begs the question: who wears a fedora to a hockey game? 

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

MORE CAPITALS NEWS: