Nicklas Backstrom Misses Practice For “Personal Reasons”; Preparations For The Rangers: News From Capitals’ Tuesday Practice

The Washington Capitals returned to work Tuesday morning for their second of three practices at MedStar Capitals Iceplex this week. The team will practice again on Wednesday before departing for New York City in advance of their tilt with the Rangers on Thursday night.

Nicklas Backstrom did not participate in the team’s practice. The team said it was due to “personal reasons”.

T.J. Oshie took line rushes on the third line with Lars Eller and Connor McMichael. Daniel Sprong took Backstrom’s place. Anthony Mantha (light-blue non-contact jersey) and Brett Leason skated as the extras.

Capitals Coach Peter Laviolette said he expects Nicklas Backstrom (personal) to go on the team’s road trip to New York and Philadelphia this week. He was still unclear if Oshie, Vanecek, Schultz (all upper-body injuries) will travel, but there is a possibility.

Martin Fehervary

Capitals rookie defenseman Martin Fehervary has recorded nine points (3g, 6a) in 49 games and is on track to play in 79 games this season, which would be the most by a rookie defenseman since John Carlson’s 82-game mark during the 2010-11 season. Fehervary would also join Gord Lane (80 games in 1976-77) and Kevin Hatcher (79 games in 1985-86) as the only defensemen in franchise history to reach that mark as a rookie. This season, Fehervary ranks first among rookie defensemen with 139 hits and is on pace to finish the season with 224 hits, which would rank fourth most among rookie defensemen since 2005-06.

In addition, Fehervary ranks third among rookie defensemen this season with 76 blocked shots and currently ranks fifth on the team in average ice time (19:30). At five-on-five, Fehervary’s 57.35 on-ice goals for percentage (39 goals for, 29 against) ranks second among rookie defensemen with at least 30 games played, only behind Nashville’s Alexandre Carrier (32 for, 19 against, 62.75%).

Goaltending Status

With a little more than 63% of the regular season now in the books, and the Capitals enjoying a week-off for the remainder of the previously scheduled Olympic break, it’s a good time to take our fourth in-depth look at the Capitals’ goaltenders and their  performance through the first 52 games. [Click to enlarge]

You can read our complete comprehensive evaluation after 52 games here.

Fourth Line Fury

Since the start of February and in the span of seven games, the line of Garnet Hathaway, Nic Dowd and Carl Hagelin has played together for 73:39 of five-on-five, outscoring opponents 7-2. Hagelin is tied for the team lead with seven points (1g, 6a) in February, while Hathaway and Dowd are each tied for third (Hathaway: 3g, 2a; Dowd: 2g, 3a).

The trio has been on the ice for each of the last three game-winning goals for the Capitals, with Hathaway and Hagelin each recording a deciding goal (Hathaway: Feb. 17; Hagelin: Feb. 10 at Montreal). Despite the line starting 68.3% of their face-offs starts outside of the offensive zone in February, they have outshot opponents 39-35 and have produced 33 scoring chances while allowing 23.

New York Rangers

The Capitals return to action on Thursday when they visit the Rangers in New York. The Rangers are currently four points ahead of the Capitals in third place in the Metropolitan Division.

Happy 25th birthday to Ilya Samsonov.


About Jon Sorensen

Jon has been a Caps fan since day one, attending his first game at the Capital Centre in 1974. His interest in the Caps has grown over the decades and included time as a season ticket holder. He has been a journalist covering the team for 10+ years, primarily focusing on analysis, analytics and prospect development.
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1 Response to Nicklas Backstrom Misses Practice For “Personal Reasons”; Preparations For The Rangers: News From Capitals’ Tuesday Practice

  1. DC Scappeli says:

    Oh man…hope things with Nicky and his family will be okay, whatever it is.

    Fourth Line Fury? Unleash the Fury indeed!

    Let’s go Caps!!!!

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