Nicklas Backstrom doesn't hide from the numbers. The Washington Capitals center called them "reality," and the harsh reality is that he's gone seven consecutive games without a point, which is the longest drought of his 11-season NHL career. It's not something Backstrom or the Capitals are used to, but coach Barry Trotz is keeping things in perspective heading into a Metropolitan Division game against the Pittsburgh Penguins at Capital One Arena on Friday (7 p.m. ET; NHLN, SN, TVA Sports, NBCSWA, ATTSN-PT, NHL.TV). "Trust me, if there's one player I don't have to worry a whole heck of a lot about, it's Nick Backstrom," Trotz said Thursday. "Nick Backstrom brings a pretty good game every night, and I don't judge his game on goals and assists. He's probably the last player I have to worry about." The other side of the reality is that Trotz usually matches Backstrom's line against the opposition's top offensive line. On Friday, that will mean going head-to-head with Penguins captain Sidney Crosby. Against the Edmonton Oilers on Sunday, it will be Connor McDavid. The last time the Capitals faced the Oilers on Oct. 28 in Edmonton, Backstrom helped hold McDavid to a first-period assist in a 5-2 victory. Even though Backstrom had no points in that win, he played a pivotal role. "[Backstrom] has done a really good job," Trotz said. "I know there's a lot been said about not scoring or whatever. To me, it's about winning, and he's had all of the tough matchups. He's still creating good offense, but he hasn't got the numbers. I don't think I have to tell you what I think of Nicklas Backstrom. He's one of the best two-way centermen in the National Hockey League and he should be a Selke [Trophy] candidate every year." Backstrom, 29, also judges by wins. So when the Capitals were on a three-game winning streak, he wasn't worried about the zeros on his score line after each of those games. But being held without a point did bother him after the Capitals' 3-1 loss at the Buffalo Sabres on Tuesday.
Capitals' Backstrom mired in longest scoring drought of career
NHL.com | Nov 10