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Backstrom to the Future...

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You may have read the story that [url=http://www.csnwashington.com/hockey-washington-capitals/news/Ovechkin-Boudreau-downplay-incident?blockID=587174&feedID=6458]launched[/url] [url=http://www.miamiherald.com/2011/11/03/2485631/boudreau-sends-ovechkin-caps-a.html]a[/url] [url=http://washington.cbslocal.com/2011/11/02/ovechkinboudreau-talk-benching-plus-practice-update/]thousand[/url] [url=http://misterirrelevant.com/index.php/2011/11/02/dmv-caps-win-dramatic-game-with-ovechkin-boudreau-drama/]blogs[/url] last week, or Bruce Boudreau benching Alex Ovechkin in the final minutes of a [url=http://www.nhl.com/ice/recap.htm?id=2011020161]5-4 OT win[/url] against the [url=http://ducks.nhl.com/]Anaheim Ducks.[/url] Is Boudreau benching the face of the franchise, superstar Alex the Great a sign of the apocalypse, or a sign of the [url=https://www.bgobsession.com/blog.php?b=273]new accountability in DC?[/url]

Either way, the story overshadowed something more significant - Nicklas Backstrom continued his stellar play this week, scoring the game-tying goal to send the game to overtime, and then the game-winning goal in the extra frame. Backstrom added a goal and an assist in a [url=http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2011020178]5-1 thumping of the Hurricanes[/url] on Friday, 11/4, and 2 more helpers in a [url=http://www.nhl.com/ice/boxscore.htm?id=2011020187]3-5 loss to the Islanders[/url] Saturday night. His play earned him the NHL's [url=http://www.washingtontimes.com/blog/capitals-watch/2011/nov/7/nicklas-backstrom-named-nhl-third-star-week/]3rd star of the week,[/url] and has the Super-Swede tied for first in the NHL in assists and on a 123-point pace. The Islanders game was Backstrom's 4th multi-point game in a row, in which he [url=http://www.hockey-reference.com/play-index/pgl_finder.cgi?request=1&player=&match=season&year_min=2012&year_max=2012&age_min=0&age_max=99&team_id=&opp_id=&is_playoffs=N&game_location=&game_result=&pos=S&c1stat=points&c1comp=gt&c1val=2&c2stat=&c2comp=gt&c2val=&c3stat=&c3comp=gt&c3val=&c4stat=&c4comp=gt&c4val=&order_by=goals]he leads the NHL[/url] (hat tip to [url=http://www.japersrink.com/]JP[/url]).

Backstrom was [url=http://sports.espn.go.com/nhl/playoffs/2011/columns/story?columnist=burnside_scott&id=6456141]widely-criticized[/url] for his play in the 2010-2011 postseason, and the regular season in general. The Caps could not overcome Backstrom's quiet playoffs in round 2, and were swept by the Lightning. The criticism mostly stemmed from his contract - after a 101-point 2009-2010, Backstrom signed a [url=http://www.usatoday.com/sports/hockey/nhl/capitals/2010-05-17-backstrom-extension_N.htm]10-year, $67M extension[/url] to remain with the Capitals (and Ovi) for the bulk of his career. His 2010-2011 campaign was hampered by a [url=http://voices.washingtonpost.com/capitalsinsider/nicklas-backstrom/nicklas-backstrom-continues-to.html]thumb injury,[/url] but the center is fully healthy this season, and looking to earn his money. If the Swede goes over 100 points for the second time in his career, not only will the extension be earned, but it will be a downright red-light special. Corey Masisak [url=http://www.csnwashington.com/05/17/10/Masisak-Backstrom-Signs-10-year-Extensio/landing_capitals.html?blockID=236189&feedID=2995]compared Backstrom's contract to others at the position,[/url] and it was already looking like a fantastic deal for the Caps.

With the stellar play of [url=http://www.nhl.com/ice/player.htm?id=8475149]Marcus Johansson[/url] thus far, the Caps look to have a pair of dynamic Swedes leading the Stanley Cup charge. Keep your eye on the pair - any deep run through the playoffs will undoubtedly be on their backs.

Lanky's Links:
Super 16: Stars rising, but Caps remain top team: [url]http://www.nhl.com/ice/news.htm?id=599245[/url]

Cody Eakin has been turning heads with his play, after being called up by the big club from Hershey. His first NHL goal came against the Hurricanes on Friday - [url]http://www.washingtontimes.com/news/2011/nov/4/capitals-cody-eakin-scores-first-nhl-goal-second-c/[/url]

Capitals Ups & Downs, Week 5 - [url]http://www.japersrink.com/2011/11/7/2542280/capital-ups-and-downs-week-5[/url]

Upcoming games:
11/8 - vs. Dallas Stars
11/11 - @ New Jersey Devils
11/12 - vs. New Jersey Devils