Nicklas Backstrom on Capitals’ 2022 First-Round Exit to Panthers: “We Basically Gave The Series To Them”

Photo: Patrick Smith/Getty Images

It was a tough one to swallow Friday night. For the fourth consecutive time, the Washington Capitals suffered a first-round exit—a 4-3 overtime loss to the Florida Panthers, who won the series 4-2, in Game 6 at Capital One Arena. Here is what a few players and head coach Peter Laviolette had to say following a disappointing end to the 2021-22 season.

Alex Ovechkin

“We’ve been there almost in every game, you know. We get the lead and we blow it away,” the 36-year-old Capitals captain said. He knew there were some missed opportunities in Games 4-6.

“I think you see how we played against the best team in the regular season. We have it, but we just blow it away. It is on us. It is on me, on Backy, on Osh, on Carly. It is on everybody. Kinda f—d up situation.”

Ovechkin recorded six points (one power-play goal), a -3 rating, and 19 shots in six games.

Nicklas Backstrom

“Their offense is very good and it doesn’t take a lot to get them going, so when they get a goal they get fired up…just looking at this series, I think we basically gave the series to them.

The Capitals blew leads several times throughout the series, as many of us have seen. Backstrom said, “That’s obviously part of the things that you’ve gotta do to be successful in the playoffs. You have to shut down teams. I don’t know what else to say. It’s obviously on us. It’s disappointing.

The 34-year-old thinks the Capitals could make another playoff run with their veteran core. “Obviously, the margins are very small out there. It doesn’t take a lot to make mistakes out there.”

Backstrom recorded six points (two goals), a +1 rating, and 16 shots in six games.

T.J. Oshie

On the contrary, Oshie didn’t feel there were missed opportunities in the recent games, saying, “The last three games have been in our hands…we weren’t able to capitalize on those opportunities, we weren’t able to shut the door…there’s some reflection to do, but super proud the way guys have battled all year and the series is no different.”

“I don’t think the all-in aspect was quite there in the last couple of years. This year, I think we were extremely close to being 100% everyone on board, and we let three games get away from us,” the 35-year-old said about the Capitals heading into this postseason. “In playoffs, that margin of error is so small…one bad bounce or missed read can change the whole momentum of a game.”

Oshie led the team in postseason points with seven (six goals), a +2 rating, and 22 shots in six games.

John Carlson

“We had a lot of time where the series was in our hands and I think that stings even more, especially right now. Not much more to say than that.”

The 32-year-old noted that the team “fell up short” numerous times.

Carlson recorded five points (one goal), a -5 rating, and 12 shots in six games.

Peter Laviolette

The head coach believed the Capitals “did the right things” throughout Game 6, but “couldn’t get it done.” “We had the lead…had to fight back. It was a huge effort at the end of the third to tie it up…we couldn’t just close it out.”

“You’re playing a pretty good game and you find yourself on the wrong end of the score. I really liked the compete the guys showed right to the end—like I said, it was a huge goal. You get that emotion after the third period…you’re ready to go back to work and it ended too quick.”

On those missed opportunities to go up 3-1 in the series in Game 4, but instead lose three straight, Laviolette said, “You can’t live in that world. You got to close the door.”

“I thought we played hard every game against the team that won the President’s Trophy….you sit here right now and it’s disappointing for everybody, for the entire organization, players, the fan base…the games could’ve [gone] either way—just didn’t go our way and that’s the part you gotta let sit in your stomach for a while.”

The offseason will be an interesting one for Washington after falling in the first round of the playoffs four times now.

By Della Young

About Della Young

Della Young is an aspiring novelist and screenwriter who earned a BFA in Creative Writing from Full Sail University in 2021. She is currently pursuing a Master of Arts in Screenwriting from Regent University. Della comes from a family of big Capitals fans and became inspired to start writing for hockey in 2019. In her spare time, she enjoys traveling, cooking, and working on both sides of the camera. Follow Della on Twitter: @dellayoung
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6 Responses to Nicklas Backstrom on Capitals’ 2022 First-Round Exit to Panthers: “We Basically Gave The Series To Them”

  1. Marky says:

    ‘We gave them the series’ is a bad look for Backstrom. There is a very talented team on the other side and they deserved to move on. Oshie comments of not everyone on board is telling also. I know Ovi is the captain but Oshie explains things in detail and very honestly. I think Ellet is like this to when he talks post game. Excited to see what changes are made this summer.

  2. Franky619 says:

    Saddly, due to emotionnal attachment not enough.

  3. Anonymous says:

    Management gave it away by not getting better defensemen than Schultz and Jensen.

  4. FanG says:

    The team needs a overhaul PERIOD! Look for experience goalies and get stronger players like Tom Wilson. That’s the bottom line!

  5. DC Scappeli says:

    In a sense, Nicky is correct—I don’t think he meant to disrespect the Panthers. But this team for years has had a problem with the killer instinct. They choked leads in the regular season as well, so this was not a surprise to me. Disappointing for sure because it reared its ugly head at the inopportune time.

    They still haven’t learned to close teams down and they had all season long to learn how to do it. Credit to the Panthers who took advantage of the Caps miscues and scored. So yeah, Caps gave them the mistakes and the Panthers took it. Caps gave them what they wanted.

    Can’t turn the puck over in the way they did, can’t let in a soft goal at the worst possible time. And team D was missing when they needed to protect their goalie and their net. Defense wins you the Cup—Caps need to improve their D. Had the D been better, they’d have won this series.

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