Nicklas Backstrom is without a doubt the best passer in franchise history. Yet it seems surprising that the unassuming Caps center is the third fastest active player (Sidney Crosby and Jaromir Jagr) and the second fastest Swede (Peter Forsberg) to 500 assists. With Backstrom reaching the threshold Saturday night, I took a closer look at all of Nicky’s milestone assists.
Let’s begin with his first.
Backstrom’s first assist came on the power play from the half-wall, which is appropriate. It would mark the beginning of dominance for Nicky from the spot. But look at that power play unit, Michael Nylander, a rookie Backstrom, Brian Pothier, Milan Jurcina, and Matt Pettinger.
Backtrom’s 100th assist is subtle. Backstrom tipped a Ryan Malone pass to Alex Semin who found Alex Ovechkin. Ovi screamed down the right wing and ripped a shot into the back of the net.
His 200th assist had a little more pizzazz. Backstrom led the rush using his deft stickhandling to gain separation from half of the Lightning team. After curling up the wall, Backstrom found Semin cutting into the zone. Defenseman Tom Poti was able to pot the rebound.
Backstrom makes a couple nice plays on his 300th assist, though the apple is technically off a pokecheck from a Lightning defender. Defenseman Jack Hillen fired the puck toward the net with a helpful tip from Ovechkin for the goal.
Backy’s 400th assist was a nice one as well. Backstrom passed up chance in a prime shooting position to send the puck back to Matt Niskanen at the point. Niskanen’s shot would click off Andre Burakovsky for the goal.
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 8, 2017
His 500th was another thing of beauty. After receiving a pass from Nate Schmidt in the center of the ice, Nick carried the puck for only a few seconds before laying a nice backhand feed over to TJ Oshie for the one-time goal.
Backstrom’s entire career is full of stunning plays and I would be remiss if I didn’t include this highlight video of the Caps Swede’s top ten assists (it was compiled in 2014). There are some real beauties here.
Russian Machine Never Breaks is not associated with the Washington Capitals; Monumental Sports, the NHL, or its properties. Not even a little bit.
All original content on russianmachineneverbreaks.com is licensed under Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 3.0 Unported (CC BY-NC-SA 3.0)– unless otherwise stated or superseded by another license. You are free to share, copy, and remix this content so long as it is attributed, done for noncommercial purposes, and done so under a license similar to this one.