The Washington Capitals and Toronto Maple Leafs were deadlocked at 0-0 late in the first period on Sunday. Then the Leafs’ Alex Kerfoot tripped TJ Oshie and gave the Capitals the first power play opportunity of the game.
On the ensuing man advantage, Nicklas Backstrom opened the scoring with a dart to the top corner past former teammate Ilya Samsonov. It was Backstrom’s first tally since returning from major offseason hip surgery.
WELCOME BACK(Y) 🚨
Nicky's first goal of the year puts the good guys in front in Toronto! #CapsLeafs #ALLCAPS pic.twitter.com/JQhcrKwYOp
— NBC Sports Capitals (@NBCSCapitals) January 29, 2023
After a shot from Caps captain Alex Ovechkin was slung wide of the net, the puck eventually found its way to the tape of Marcus Johansson down low in the team’s power play setup. Johansson fed Backstrom and the slick Swede skated to the right faceoff dot and made no mistake with a rocket wrister over the left shoulder of Samsonov.
Backstrom was mobbed in the celebration.
WE ARE ALL THE GR8 RN pic.twitter.com/TzGvuL8AZT
— Washington Capitals (@Capitals) January 29, 2023
The strike was Backstrom’s fifth point (1g, 4a) in nine games since reentering to the Capitals’ lineup. While this strike is his first official goal of the season, Backstrom scored the game-winning tally in the Caps’ shootout victory over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday.
Head coach Peter Laviolette thought that Backstrom’s shootout goal could be a big step for him and his confidence moving forward.
“I think the shootout and getting him going…that was a big thing for our team to have him going in and scoring a goal like that,” Laviolette said. “Maybe that pushes the offense even more for him with regard to scoring goals. I thought it was a really nice play on the goal and obviously, the shootout is big.”
It appears the veteran bench boss was correct.
Screenshot via NBC Sports Washington
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