For the fourth time in five games, the Capitals will face a backup goalie, as rookie Jacob Markstrom is expected to start in goal for the Florida Panthers on Tuesday night at Verizon Center.
“I text him yesterday, I talk to him yesterday after the game,” said childhood friend Nicklas Backstrom. “I heard he’s going to play. It’s fun for him. It’s going to be tough game.”
Markstrom is considered one of the top goaltending prospects in hockey, but he’ll also be making his first career NHL start. He played 40 minutes in relief last season against the Devils and allowed two goals on 14 shots.
Backstrom and Markstrom, 21, are both from Gavle, Sweden, and go way back.
“We’re from the same town and everything,” Backstrom said. “We hang out during the summers and stuff like that and work out together.”
Markstrom got the backup job with the Panthers when Scott Clemmensen suffered a knee injury and needed surgery. After watching his friend battle injuries, Backstrom is happy that Markstrom is healthy and playing.
But when it comes to a scouting report, Backstrom wasn’t willing to share much about how to beat the 6-foot-6, 196-pound goalie.
“He’s kind of all-around,” Backstrom said. “I think it’s mostly like all the other goalies – traffic. Maybe try to put it high.”