Before raising the Stanley Cup this past July, Lars ‘Nicklas’ Bäckström was considered one of the most underrated players in the league. It’s simple, very few players can outshine Alexander Ovechkin. However, tonight Bäckström out shined Ovechkin and for only the second time in his career, and first since 2014, scored a hat trick.
He drew first blood early in the first at 3:51, Ovechkin drives the puck back into the Devils zone, weaves around the Devils and looks as if he is about to bring it around when he passes to Bäckström, right in front of the net for a goal that went through the legs of number 45 defensemen Sami Vatanen and past Kinkaid. Caps up 1-0.
After a terrible second period where the Capitals were out shot, out skated, and just plain out played, and on top of that missing Tom Wilson off of a bad ref call, Bäckström decided he needed to capitalize (pun very much intended) on the play in case everything went to shit again.
On a five-on-three nearly eleven minutes into the second, Backstrom picks up a redirect and holds, he has all the room and time in the world. The Devils were too busy worrying about Ovechkin, Kuznetsov and Brett Connolly?
Of course he is going to pass to one of them, come on it’s Ovechkin how do you not pass to him, but no. He winds up as Devils’ number 12 defensemen Ben Lovejoy drops to his knees to try and block. Bäckström goes top shelf and Kinkaid doesn’t have a chance in hell and doesn’t even try to stop it. Caps up 4-1.
Late in the third, not even a minute left, and less than a minute after Ovechkin scores an empty netter, Ovi is back with the puck, the net still empty. The great 8 makes his way down into the Devils zone, a three-on-two developing for the Caps, and he is free and clear to shoot.
Yet, on a rare Ovechkin move, he doesn’t. He looks to the side and Bäckström is there as he always is. The roles reversed tonight and Ovechkin – still clear and open – passes. In a truly selfless move, Ovechkin passes to Bäckström and despite Taylor Hall’s (MVP) audition to be the Devils’ new Backup Goalie, he’s no match for Bäckström with a hot stick. Top shelf and the hat rain down. Caps up 6-3. 22.1 seconds left.
Second career hattrick for Nicklas Backstrom.
I think teams need to remember, just because he likes to pass and he’s got Ovechkin on his wing, does not mean Nicklas Backstrom should be forgotten. He had a three point game on Monday against the Islanders and adds to his week, coming out and scoring a hat trick, with 4 total points tonight against the Devils.
Bäckström was awarded the first star of the night and said he didn’t deserve it. He told reporters that Holtby earned those honors for keeping them in it the whole night. Bäckström is a really great player and a really good player too.
also, that’s seven wins in a row.
Other News from the Games
First Hattrick in a year for the Capitals
Bäckström now has 7 points in 2 games
Ovechkin has a 4 game goal streak
Wilson has a 5 game goal streak
Kuznetsov is back from Concussion
Oshie is not.
Wilson was given a five minute major and a match penalty for hit on head to Devils’ Seney, but didn’t touch the guy’s head.
Holtby almost fought the refs after the second shady goal of the night