Nicklas Backstrom: The True FacilitatorPosted on November 06, 2013 by Bryan Adams
Every hockey fan in the world knows Alex Ovechkin and to Washington Capitals fans, He is a God. Ovi is a 3 time NHL MVP and has countless personal accolades to his resume, is the team captain, the “Great 8”, etc. Ovi is our franchise player and by the time his playing days are numbered he will be one of the all time greatest to ever lace up the skates. What most fans see as a scoring machine, true fans, especially here in “Hockey’s Capital”, take a deeper look into just why Ovi has been so successful. There are many reasons for Ovi’s dominance in the NHL and aside from speed, strength and natural born talent; and one of the main reasons has to be Nicklas Backstrom.
#19 is the ultimate catalyst for your Washington Capitals and although he is constantly looking to feed the puck to the “Great 8”, he is a smart and extremely talented player who will continue to rack up the points because that is all the man knows how to do. Believe it or not, Ovi missing these last two games may come as a blessing in disguise, with none other than Nicklas Backstrom reaping the benefits. Caps fans over the years have been yearning for Ovi’s line-mates to shoot the puck on a more frequent basis. Everyone loves to see Ovi light the lamp, but he can only take this team so far. With Backstrom finding confidence and success in Ovi’s absence, Caps fans should be looking for it to continue tonight in what should be Ovi’s return to the lineup.
Through the first 15 games this season, Backstrom has 19 points, including 5 goals and 14 assists. He’s not leading the league in points, but instead sits in 3rd place in the league and only seems to be heating up. Backstrom is averaging 1.26 points per game and had 3 goals and an assist in the previous two games without Ovechkin. This should come as a positive note for Caps fans for several reasons with the first being that Nicklas can step into the leadership role in the absence of the team captain and secondly, that He is taking more shots on net. Backstrom has always had the ability to light the lamp, but to put it simply, he hasn’t had to. I’m not saying that he will finish the year with a stat line of 33 goals, 68 assists and a whopping 101 points like he did in the 2009-2010 season, but I also wouldn’t be complaining if he ended up with the projected 93-94 points!
The upcoming schedule features some of the league’s best teams, including the Islanders, Wild, Coyotes and Avalanche, all at or near the top of their respected divisions. Now that the Capitals hold 2nd place in the oddly named Metropolitan Division, Nicklas Backstrom needs to take advantage of the opportunities afforded him and be the offensive catalyst that he has been for so many years. Look for Ovi & Backstrom to light the lamp several times each during the next 4 games!