RALEIGH, N.C. | Nicklas Backstrom isn’t much for talking about himself. After his the seventh four-assist game of his NHL career, the Washington Capitals center talked more about the performance of the team.
“We’ve got to come to work every night it’s do or die for us right now,” Backstrom said after a 5-3 victory over the Carolina Hurricanes. “You’ve got to come to work every night it’s going to be important.”
But Backstrom enjoyed his best game of the season Tuesday night, picking up primary assists on each of the Caps’ first four goals. That it was his first four-assist game since Nov. 11, 2010 surprised linemate Marcus Johansson.
“He’s probably one of the best passers in the world and in the league,” Johansson said. “He puts the
puck where you need to have it, and he does it consistently. I’m surprised it doesn’t happen more often, actually. He’s a great passer and it’s fun to see when he has these nights.”
Backstrom brushed off the praise. He praised Alex Ovechkin for making a “terrific shot” on a two-on-one rush and said “I’m just dropping it to him and then he’s doing the rest.”
While Ovechkin has 10 goals and five assists during his nine-game point streak, Backstrom is on his own roll. The 25-year-old center has three goals and 10 assists in the past nine games.
“Obviously we try to do our best every night,” Backstrom said. “Some nights it’s going to work better than others. Tonight was good. Hopefully we can continue playing like this.”
Defenseman Mike Green, who scored twice off Backstrom passes, marveled at what the Swedish playmaker and Ovechkin were able to do.
“He’s back to his game,” Green said of Backstrom. “He slows everything down, he makes great plays and makes the players around him better. He’s come into his own, I think, with the shortened season.”