Tag: Nicklas Backstrom

Boston Bruins v Washington Capitals

Video: Capitals capitalize on Bruins’ slow start


The Boston Bruins have a ton on the line right now, but you wouldn’t know it from how they started against the Washington Capitals on Wednesday night.

Washington grabbed two goals from defensemen within the first 7:06 of game time before Boston started to show a little more life. As of this writing, it’s still a 2-0 advantage for the Capitals.

John Carlson started things off with his 12th goal of 2014-15, adding to career-highs for goals and points:

A little more than two minutes later, Matt Niskanen took advantage of Nicklas Backstrom’s second assist to get his fourth goal of the season:

While Washington aims for a round of home-ice advantage, they likely have some fans in Detroit and Ottawa tonight. So far, those three groups are happy.

NHL on NBCSN: Fighting for playoffs spot, Bruins hope third time’s the charm vs. Caps

Braden Holtby, Milan Lucic

NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2014-15 campaign tonight with a doubleheader. The first of the two contests will feature the Washington Capitals hosting the Boston Bruins, with the puck scheduled to drop at 8:00 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also watch the game and pre-show online.

Boston has won five straight games to keep itself in the playoff race, but with the Ottawa Senators’ surge continuing, it hasn’t been enough to secure a postseason berth for the Bruins.

A loss against the Washington Capitals tonight won’t push the Bruins out of the playoff picture, but it would make the margin of error for Boston significantly smaller in its final two contests against Florida and Tampa Bay. Maintaining the winning streak will be tough for the Bruins against the similarly hot Capitals, but Boston at least caught a bit of a break during Tuesday’s practice.

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Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was back on the ice after being held off on Monday. He had been labeled as day-to-day, but Bruins coach Claude Julien now seems optimistic about Chara’s chances of being available for tonight’s game.

That would certainly be a boost, although it might not be enough. Capitals goaltender Braden Holtby has already earned two shutouts against Boston this season. Washington forward Nicklas Backstrom has also been a thorn in the Bruins’ side with four points over those two games.

“We’re not here certainly feeling overconfident,” said Julien, per the team’s website. “Because we still haven’t scored on them yet in two games, so we need to be better there tomorrow and find a way to get past their goaltender.”

Perhaps Ryan Spooner will ultimately be the one to solve Washington. Since being called up on Feb. 21, Spooner has been a key forward for Boston with eight goals and 18 points in 21 games. If not for his efforts, Boston might not be in a playoff position going into today’s action.

“We talk about bringing some young legs in, we talk about speed, we talk about skill — (Spooner’s) been able to bring that,” Julien said. “When he was here the first few times, he just brought portions of that. Now, he’s brought it all, and it’s made a big difference in his game. It’s made a big difference in our game.”

Washington has already secured a postseason berth, but the Capitals still need these two points. As things currently stand, it looks like they’ll be in for a tough battle against the New York Islanders in the first round. What remains to be seen is which team will have the home-ice advantage in that series and a win tonight would certainly help Washington as it tries to clinch the second seed in the Metropolitan Division.

Ovechkin becomes Capitals’ all-time franchise goals leader


Alex Ovechkin reached the 50-goal mark and tied Peter Bondra for first place in the Capitals’ all-time goals leaderboard with 472 on Tuesday. He didn’t have to wait much longer to claim sole possession of the top spot.

With the Capitals on the power play, Ovechkin weaved through Canadiens blueliner P.K. Subban before beating goaltender Carey Price with a wrist shot:

Ovechkin is also the Capitals’ all-time leader in points, although he ranks second in assists behind Nicklas Backstrom.

On the NHL’s career leaderboard, Ovechkin’s 473 goals puts him in a three-way tie for 51st place with Denis Savard and Alexander Mogilny. Not bad for a 29-year-old.

The Capitals captain looks like a lock to win his third straight Richard Trophy and fifth overall. The bigger question at this point is if he’ll take the Hart Trophy for the fourth time. Ovechkin would certainly appreciate it if he won, but he emphasized that individual trophies aren’t his goal.

“To be honest with you, I don’t need that kind of stuff [individual awards],” Ovechkin told ESPN prior to tonight’s contest. “If I win, it will be great, but I need, this organization needs, a Cup. I want to be selfish in that kind of category instead.”

Are the Capitals still just a ‘one-line team?’

Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom

The Washington Capitals seem to face an all-too-familiar situation.

The good news is that Alex Ovechkin and Nicklas Backstrom are on a tear with Ovechkin leading the league in scoring (73 points) and Backstrom tied for second with 72. Capitals blog Japers Rink’ trots out some interesting new ways to express thoughts like “Yes, Ovechkin’s by far the best player in the NHL when it comes to scoring goals.”

There are great things to be said about Backstrom, too, but Japers’ Rink also provides a familiar “Yeah, but ..” in the fact that, after all these changes, the Capitals may rely on their dynamic duo too much.

Indeed, looking at the Capitals’ top forward scorers, the picture looks remarkably similar to 2013-14, aside from the fact that Ovechkin and Backstrom are producing at a better clip.

2014-15 scoring leaders:

Ovechkin – 73 points
Backstrom – 72 points
John Carlson, a defenseman – 47 points
Marcus Johansson and Mike Green – tied at 39 points

2013-14 scoring leaders:

Ovechkin and Backstrom – tied at 79 points
Joel Ward – 49 points
Johansson – 44 points

Look, in a salary cap league, it’s tough to put a team together that won’t see a drop-off from players at the level of Ovechkin and Backstrom. And yes, it at least helps that they’re enjoying contributions from an improved defense.

Still, when you look at some of the league’s most successful teams, they often enjoy strong depth and obvious one-two punches. When Jonathan Toews’ line was ailing, the Chicago Blackhawks could count on Patrick Kane to make magic happen (before he got injured, of course). The Los Angeles Kings saw Jeff Carter light up scoreboards alongside Anze Kopitar’s line.

The way Ovechkin and Backstrom’s playing, it seems like their line can create a goal or two per night. That said, if they make it to the playoffs and a team finds a way to slow them down, will Washington get the offense it needs from other forwards?

Video: Things get heated between Ovechkin, Sabres early

Washington Capitals v Buffalo Sabres

On paper, even on a back-to-back, the Buffalo Sabres seem like a cakewalk for the Washington Capitals.

The Sabres don’t look like they’re just going to roll over for the Capitals on Monday night, however. As you can see, things got heated between Nicklas Backstrom, Alex Ovechkin and the Sabres early in the game.

Ovechkin ended up getting four minutes of penalty time versus just two for Mike Weber. Buffalo cashed in on the power play chance that ensued.

As of this writing, Buffalo leads the game 2-1. You can watch on NBCSN or via NBC Sports Live Extra.