Nicklas Backstrom was taken aback by the question – so much so that he made the asker repeat it.
It was your first goal in over seven months. How does that feel to get that off your back to get that goal in the first period?
Backstrom responded with a sarcastic tone, “Unbelievable.”
Backstrom’s goal Saturday night was his first of the season, a nice chance in the fourth game to get a feel for the net again. But when the same question was asked of Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau, he was similarly surprised.
“You make that sound really bad,” Boudreau said. “There was four months he didn’t play, or five months, I would think.”
Backstrom hadn’t scored since March 22 – but, of course, many of those months he really didn’t have a chance. So the idea of him being in the midst of a goal drought is misleading.
Still, he was happy that a feed from Alexander Semin on a nice tic-tac-toe play led to him lighting the lamp.
“It was a good play by Semin,” Backstrom said. “I was at the right spot at the right time.”
Boudreau doesn’t expect Backstrom to score upwards of 40 goals this year, though him putting the puck in the net is nice to see.
“His game is setting guys up and moving pucks around and when he can score it’s a definite bonus,” Boudreau said. “But he probably felt good about it because as a competitor he was probably feeling inside pressure. He’s not getting it from me, but he’s feeling it because he’s a great player and he wants to be doing well himself.”
Naturally, the pressure had built up for almost seven whole months – and all that was relieved thanks to a cross-crease pass by Semin that Backstrom had no trouble scoring on.
“I was just hoping, I think, to get [the puck],” he said. “But it was a great play, and obviously it was a goal. I take it.”