Its no secret that Nicklas Backstrom took his offseason training to a different level this summer. Alan May talks about it all the time on Capitals Central. Clearly, the hard work is paying off.
Despite losing an assist when Dennis Widemans 3rd goal was reversed and credited to Brooks Laich, Backstrom still registered his 2nd straight multi-point game last night and 12th this season.
Backstrom is 7th in the league in scoring with 31 points and almost halfway to his point total of 65 from last season. He also scored his 11th goal against Toronto, which is tied for the team lead. It also keeps him on pace to potentially tie his career high of 33, which he set in the 2009-10 season. That was the year he finished with 101 points.
In addition to putting up numbers, hes doing the little things that win games. Backstrom was 12 of 22 in the faceoff circle and is now at 52.2 for the season. That puts him in the top 25 in the league, ahead of guys like Joe Thornton & Vincent Lecavalier. Hes also winning puck battles and becoming a leader on the ice.
It should all lead to his 1st selection to the All Star Game which will be played in Ottawa on Jan. 29.
The only concern is his -6 rating. In the first 4 seasons of Backstroms career, hes finished 13, 16, 37 & 24. The Caps inconsistent play early certainly leads to his - struggles. And it should change as the Caps turn their season around under Dale Hunter.