On Monday, Washington Capitals center Nicklas Backstrom and defenseman Dmitry Orlov spoke to the media on a Zoom call from Hotel X in Toronto. The pair discussed what the team needs to do heading into Game 1 of their Round One clash against the New York Islanders in the 2020 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Wednesday.
On being paired with Brenden Dillon, Orlov said they are “trying to communicate and help each other more on the ice”. He is anticipating to keep up the solid chemistry with Dillon.
The Capitals will be clashing with the Islanders in the first round of the playoffs on Wednesday (3 PM ET; NBCSN nationally and NBC Sports Washington locally). Backstrom mentioned it will be a “tough series.” “We all know what kind of team Barry [Trotz] is going to put out there and what team we are right now. It is going to be a battle out there so we will see how it goes.”
“We also need more from us top guys,” Backstrom said about getting back an offensive spark. “We gotta work a little harder.” He added they will need to “use each other” since “this is the time we need to show up.”
Without defenseman John Carlson, who has not played since the July 29 exhibition win over the Carolina Hurricanes, Orlov called the blueline “not perfect”. He knows they will need to create more offensive abilities to get the puck to the forwards.
Backstrom said he is “doing all right” after missing Friday’s practice and being a game-time decision prior to Sunday’s round-robin finale against the Boston Bruins. The 32-year-old Swede did end up playing and said he has “no [health] concerns” heading into Game 1 against the Islanders in two days. “It’s playoff hockey right now.”
As a veteran team, Backstrom knows the Capitals will flip the switch now that the qualifying round and round-robin games are over. “I think the mentality is going to be a little different now.” He said it’s going to be “another level” in the first round. “If we’re not ready, that’s going to be a quick exit… that’s not our plan.”
“What impresses me the most about him is he’s always so calm after,” Backstrom said about goaltender Braden Holtby. He complimented Holtby’s performance throughout the last four games and mentioned you can see “what poise he’s playing with”. Backstrom also added Holtby is a “big key” for the Capitals to be successful.
By Della Young