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Trotz: Backstrom should be All-Star, Selke winner


Trotz: Backstrom should be All-Star, Selke winner

If Barry Trotz looked a little taller than normal behind the podium at the Caps’ practice rink on Monday, it’s because he was up on a soap box extolling the virtues of Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom, who on Tuesday night is scheduled to play in his 600th NHL game when the Red Wings visit Verizon Center.


“Because no one talks about him,” Trotz said, acknowledging Backstrom as one of the most underrated players in the NHL. “A point-a-game guy in this league is pretty incredible.”

In 599 NHL games Backstrom has 154 goals and 440 assists for 594 points, including nine goals and 13 assists for 22 points in 22 games this season. And yet he’s never played in an NHL All-Star Game. This year’s midseason showcase will be in Nashville on Jan. 30.

“He should be in one very shortly – like Nashville would be a good place for him to start,” Trotz said. “He doesn’t get enough recognition on how good he is. I knew he was good, I just didn’t realize how good he was until I saw him a daily basis.”

Asked if playing in the shadow of Alex Ovechkin has kept Backstrom out of the public limelight, Trotz said the quiet way Backstrom plays might also play a factor.

“Personality wise, Alex has the gift of catching your eye,” Trotz said. “He’s a loud player. The big shot. Walking through people with some of his moves. The big hits. And there’s this quiet guy that plays with him that gets him the puck. He does all the little cool stuff.

“To me he’s a terrific player that doesn’t get enough recognition. He should be a Selke winner (as the NHL’s top two-way forward) one of these years but no one even mentions him, and he should play in an All-Star Game starting this year.

“I believe that. I know if 29 other coaches were standing where I’m standing they’d be saying the same thing.”

Other milestones: Caps right wing Justin Williams is one point shy of 600 in his NHL career. He has 599 points in 943 games. Braden Holtby is scheduled to play in his 200th NHL games, while defenseman Matt Niskanen is set to play in Game No. 599.  Meanwhile, Trotz is one win away from passing Bryan Murray (620) and moving into 10th place in all-time coaching victories.

MORE: Orpik leaves Caps practice; will be re-evaluated

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues shutout Sharks 5-0 to win Game 5

The St. Louis Blues won a decisive Game 5 against the San Jose Sharks 5-0, pushing the Sharks to the brink of elimination.

The Blues are now one win away from their first Stanley Cup Final since the 1969-70 season, where they lost to the Boston Bruins in a sweep.

St. Louis started the scoring early when Oskar Sundqvist netted his second goal of the series in the first five minutes of the game. 

Jaden Schwartz then tallied his first goal of the game off a juicy rebound in front of Martin Jones to start the scoring in the second period. It was Schwartz's 10th goal of the playoffs, which tied him for third all-time in Blues history for goals in the postseason.

Vladimir Tarasenko added to the Blues lead off a penalty shot. He's the first player in Blues franchise history to score a penalty shot goal in the playoffs.

Schwartz then added two more goals in the third period for a hat-trick. The first came on a 5-on-3 power play advantage off a scramble in front of the net, and the second came from a backdoor one-timer pass from Tarasenko.

Schwartz now has 12 goals these playoffs, and it's his second hat-trick of the playoffs.

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington recorded 21 saves for a shutout, and he's the first rookie goalie to accomplish that feat for the Blues.


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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

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NHL Playoff 2019 Roundup: Blues pull even with Sharks with 2-1 win

The St. Louis Blues' two-goal first period powered them to a win over the San Jose Sharks, and the series is now tied.

The Blues started with a goal 35 seconds into the game. Ivan Barbashev picked off a Brent Burns exit pass and flung it towards the net for the games opening goal. 

Barbashev is the second Blues player to score in the first minute of a game these playoffs. Jaden Schwartz is the other player.

Tyler Bozak scored the game-winning goal for the Blues on a power play off a scramble in front of the net.

The Sharks responded when Thomas Hertl poked the puck past the goal line after Jordan Binnington thought he had the puck covered. Hertl now has 10 goals this postseason for the Sharks, and the team now features 10 or more players to score 10+ goals in the playoffs for the second time in franchise history.

Binnington's 29 save performance gave him his 10th win of the playoffs, the most of any Blues goaltender in franchise history.