Nicklas Backstrom’s Four-Assist Game on Saturday Night Highlights His Importance to the Capitals

29405557_10156308898872490_898731963_oPhoto by Francois Lacasse/NHLI via Getty Images

The Capitals’ 6-4 win against the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday may have been vital in the tight race in the Metropolitan Division, but it was also an illustration of star center Nicklas Backstrom’s worth and importance to the team. The longtime Capital recorded four assists (of which three came in the opening period) and was perhaps the team’s best player throughout the night.

The four-assist game was the 11th of Backstrom’s career, which ranks first among active players. The former first-round pick (sixth overall in 2006) leads his draft class in helpers with 582 and is arguably, the most underrated player in the NHL. Backstrom’s four-assist night was also his 20th career game with four points and the second such game of his this season. Backstrom has always made the players around him better, something that was not lost on right wing Tom Wilson, who scored two goals in the win:

Backstrom is one of the best players in the history of the Capitals and his spectacular night in Montreal will no doubt be a highlight this season. Voted by his fellow NHLers as the league’s most underrated player several weeks ago, Backstrom continues to pile up the points without too much fanfare, something that the cerebral pivot doesn’t seem to mind as much as the thousands of fans who see him play on a nightly basis. Backstrom now has 61 points (19 goals, 42 assists) in 74 games played this season and while not exactly as high as the last few seasons, a slow start has played a part in those numbers.

Backstrom’ four assists also put him one point away from sole possession of third-place in franchise history in points (Mike Gartner’s 789), and his 11 career four-assist games are the second-most by any player in the last 25 seasons by any player (behind only Pittsburgh Penguin great and Hockey Hall of Faner Mario Lemieux, who last accomplished the feat in 2003).

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Backstrom’s importance to this team should never be undermined, and fans, coaches, and especially his teammates clearly appreciate what the Super Swede brings to the rink each and every night. Backstrom has been the team’s number one center throughout his career, and that doesn’t appear to be changing anytime soon. His four-point performance says all that needs to be said.

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By Michael Fleetwood

About Michael Fleetwood

Michael Fleetwood was born into a family of diehard Capitals fans and has been watching games as long as he can remember. He was born the year the Capitals went to their first Stanley Cup Final, and is a diehard Caps fan, the owner of the very FIRST Joe Beninati jersey and since then, has met Joe himself. His favorite player became former Capital Nate Schmidt after he met Schmidt in a Hershey hotel while in Hershey PA to see the Bears play, shortly after Schmidt was injured during a conditioning stint. Michael is also a fan of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Baltimore Orioles, and enjoys photography, watching WildEarth TV's SafariLive live safaris, and watching animals in his spare time. (Photo by Adam Vingan in 2014 at the Capitals Development Camp).
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10 Responses to Nicklas Backstrom’s Four-Assist Game on Saturday Night Highlights His Importance to the Capitals

  1. To me it’s worth noting that Backstrom–for all his hype as a passer–led shoot-a-holic Alex Ovechkin by just one assist heading into last night’s contest…and now leads him by a grand total of five in that category after last night’s contest…

    Even though his totals have been decent, this underscores how lackluster Backstrom’s season has been–as well as his importance to the team’s success provided he plays the way he’s capable of…Earlier this season St. NIck went 21 games without scoring a goal, if I recall. But the didn’t compensate for it with a corresponding number of assists the way, say, Sid the Kid often does whenever he happens to be in a goal scoring drought himself…

    All of that will be overlooked, of course, if Backstrom comes up BIG during the playoffs this year…He’ll need to excel to a degree I’ve yet to witness with goals and assists in the Cup run if the Caps are ever going to get beyond the second round…That’s because, for whatever reason, the Caps still aren’t getting nearly enough secondary scoring which they’ll need to advance deep in the playoffs….

    Then again, even if Backstrom’s post season performance falls short of what’s really needed I’ll bet a year’s salary that no one in the local media pool will say anything about it—I mean, they NEVER do when the Teacher’s Pet under-performs or disappears altogether…

    Clifford
    Sta. Monica

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    • Brenna Neal says:

      Why do you hate Backstrom so much? What has he ever done to you? This isn’t the first time you’ve attempted to dump on the guy. I hate to tell you, but when you dump on this guy, it only shows your lack of hockey knowledge. But, I guess you know more than all the actual NHLers. Truly you embarrass yourself and you family.

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      • The mental image I have for Clifford is an old man sitting in a rocking chair, yelling at the clouds about how today’s hockey is nothing like the game used to me, when men were men and and people almost died on the ice.

        Also, 50/50 he’s a Pens fan trolling everyone.

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      • There’s no denying the fact that he’s a good player–and one of the two or three best passers in the NHL. I just don’t share the opinion that he’s great, and certainly resent the fact that when he doesn’t produce he doesn’t get the same negative reviews about falling short that Alex Ovechkin does…

        Valid or not, Brenna, I don’t mind your criticisms–they’re only opinions. But the next time you cast aspersions please confine them to the views I’ve expressed…

        O & O
        Clifford

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