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Ovechkin hits 50, Backstrom gets 100

What a night at Verizon Center.

First, the Caps were presented with the franchise's first Presidents' Trophy. Then he revamped top line of Alex Ovechkin, Nicklas Backstrom and Alexander Semin put on a show not seen at Verizon Center since, well, probably the last time the team's three most skilled players decided to show off.

Ovechkin notched goals 49 and 50 and Backstrom surpassed the 100-point plateau for the first time in his career. Semin, meanwhile, racked up 11 shots on goals, three primary assists and warmed his coach's heart by crediting him for the franchise's upswing.

Check out all of Geno's videos, my gamer here, and when you're done, come on back for some notes and quotes:

*The Caps became only the fourth franchise to post a 120 point season and the first non-Original Six team do it.

*Whether it was Russia's Olympic disappointment or the increased scrutiny after his second suspension of the season, I think it's fair to say that Ovechkin is back.

The two-time MVP is also back in the league lead for goals and points - for now anyway. Sidney Crosby has two games left; Ovechkin and Henrik Sedin have one.

Who said the Caps don't have anything left to play for?

*Ovechkin (50 goals) and Backstrom (100 points) are the first Washington teammates to reach those milestones in the same season.

*Boudreau told Ovechkin not to touch the Presidents' Trophy during the pregame ceremony. As it turns out, Ovechkin didn't even look at it.

"It's not the one we want," Boudreau said. "Not that I'm superstitious or anything. But if you're not supposed to touch it, you're not supposed to touch it."

*Boudreau didn't know how to react when Sport-Express writer Slava Malamud told him that Semin had gone out of his way to praise his coach during a post game interview.

"He's right on, isn't he?" Boudreau joked after shaking his head and laughing. "I don't know [what to say.] That's the first time I've heard a quote from Alex. I'm pretty touched by him saying that."

*The Thrashers were credited with 16 hits. The Caps had nine. I don't know, that sounds kind of high for a game in which, at times, looked like an intramural scrimmage.

*Mike Knuble, Tom Poti, David Steckel, Matt Bradley and John Erskine sat out. I imagine another group of vets will take a season Sunday against the Bruins.

*Jose Theodore was solid again and improved to 20-0-3 in his last 23 decisions. He also picked up win No. 30 The guy has earned the Game 1 start.

*Jeff Schultz was a plus-4 tonight. For the season, the big defenseman is a plus-48. In fact, the top five in the league in plus minus are Caps -- Ovechkin (plus-46), Backstrom (38), Mike Green (37) and Semin (35).

*Quintin Laing got the hard hat.

*More important than any of the individual accomplishments, though, is the fact that that Caps have put together five straight wins and, barring some sort of meltdown Sunday, will enter the postseason on an impressive run that's seen them yield a total of 10 goals.

Still, Boudreau doesn't think his team has peaked.

"I think it's getting there," he said. "But there's another level we can throw it up yet. Because I think in every game we've played, we get 17 players playing at their top, or 16. But we haven't had all 20 going."

Practice tomorrow is at 11.

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By Tarik El-Bashir  |  April 10, 2010; 12:10 AM ET
 | Tags: Henrik Sedin, Jose Theodore, Matt Bradley, Mike Knuble, Presidents' Trophy, Quintin Laing, Sidney Crosby, Washington Capitals  
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Next: Backstrom on 100th point

Comments

Nice game for the guys on the first line -- our three stars, in the order I expected. They accomplished most of their milestones, with Ovi getting goals 49 & 50 and Nicky getting his 100th point. The only thing that would have made it better is Semin scoring #40. Still, it was a good game for Sasha.

Other thoughts: Pavelec was a hot goalie tonight, stopping a ridiculous number of shots. If not for that, the game would have been ridiculous. But the Caps kept battling and kept shooting and some pucks got in the net. The Caps' Power Play today was ugly. No PP goals and one shortie. Shades of what happened in the Caps' first game vs. Atlanta. Both the 2nd and 3rd line had lots of chances and played with lots of energy but couldn't score anything -- until Chimera finally scored.

Posted by: CapsFan75 | April 10, 2010 12:42 AM | Report abuse

sloan the only cap not to put a shot on net! he'll probably get some grief from the guys but that's a good sign going into the playoffs (for the team, that is)

Posted by: mcintire_will | April 10, 2010 12:43 AM | Report abuse

Sloan left the game late in the second, I believe, and he never came back on the ice for the third. Not sure what happened, looked like upper body.

Posted by: BlondeCapsFan | April 10, 2010 1:30 AM | Report abuse

Gotta love this first line combo. For the mostpart I agree it was a wise choice to separate Ovechkin and Semin because we need that secondary scoring, but wow, SOB sure know how to put the pretty in hockey. And aw, Semin... Is there a link to this post game interview?

Posted by: letsgocaps3 | April 10, 2010 1:39 AM | Report abuse

ok, that last quote from Boudreau is just scary...

Posted by: Andoy | April 10, 2010 2:05 AM | Report abuse

Last night, when I said Semin had a chance to grab the 5th spot in +/- giving the Caps the top 5, I didn't expect him to do it in one game...

Posted by: Raber | April 10, 2010 4:15 AM | Report abuse

It'll be interesting to see which set of "another group of vets will take a season Sunday against the Bruins.". 100 pts, Backie maybe? Laich, with the injury, Flash, eventhough he got irked when he sat last time? ShaMo?

Posted by: BernieWolfeFan1 | April 10, 2010 4:52 AM | Report abuse

I never imagined such an enjoyable game from the seats at VC as last night, with everything wrapped up and "meaningless" for the opponent. Fantastic night.

I don't know if it's been mentioned, but the top line was working like mad to get Semin a goal and strategizing during breaks with him. Ovi & Backstrom had just 3 and 4 shots respectively. Semin at 11, and another 11 missed shots beyond that. Astonishing figures for Sasha, really.

The crowd was incredible. Lotta love back and forth to and from the team.

Posted by: Justafan | April 10, 2010 6:32 AM | Report abuse

Last night, when I said Semin had a chance to grab the 5th spot in +/- giving the Caps the top 5, I didn't expect him to do it in one game...

Posted by: Raber | April 10, 2010 4:15 AM | Report abuse

NHL +/- LEADERS:

1. Jeff Schultz, WAS 48
2. Alex Ovechkin, WAS 46
3. Nicklas Backstrom, WAS 38
4. Mike Green, WAS 37
5. Alexander Semin, WAS 35

Incredible.

(Justafan, formerly Sonyask)

Posted by: Justafan | April 10, 2010 6:37 AM | Report abuse

The Caps are the first non-Original six team to record 120 points in a regular season, but...

The Edmonton Oilers recorded 119 points twice in 83-83 and and 85-86. They did this back when there was ties, and there were no extra points awarded for shootouts. The Caps have 5 shootout wins, and thus would only have 115 points back then. The Phoenix Coyotes have 14! shootout wins. So rather than the 106 points they have now, they'd only have 92 points back then.

So while it is nice to see all these record breaking point totals, it is a little skewed considering the the Oilers had 57 and 56 wins in those years without the luxury of having the shootout (which with the goalies during those years probably would have lasted about 3 days).

Posted by: chrisclarksucks | April 10, 2010 7:09 AM | Report abuse

Tonight Vancouver plays the Flames... I'm hoping there's a way Sedin only gets one point and that would tie him with Ovie with 109 points.

Posted by: rachel216 | April 10, 2010 7:12 AM | Report abuse

Way to bring down the party, chrisclarksucks.

Posted by: dccitizen1 | April 10, 2010 7:26 AM | Report abuse

Has an NHL team ever finished a season with all 5 of the top players in plus-minus? That is a pretty dominating stat.

Posted by: Kenbeatrizz | April 10, 2010 7:39 AM | Report abuse

And aw, Semin... Is there a link to this post game interview?
-----------------------------------------

It is not even posted on Slava's blog yet.

Posted by: igor_k17 | April 10, 2010 7:53 AM | Report abuse

WOW, I love how BB both applaudes and challenges his players -- that not all 20 have been playing their a-game at once. Brilliant to both elevate and challenge at the same time. You can tell the Caps love playing for Gabby -- high praise from Semin even, the most Gothic (i.e. moody and skeptical) Cap of them all.

Posted by: JIMALLCAPS1 | April 10, 2010 8:37 AM | Report abuse

@chrisclarksucks

You make a good point however your forgetting that the Caps have a salary cap and the Oilers didn't. Try fitting Coffey, Kurri, Messier, Gretzky, Anderson and Fuhr under a salary cap back then. Comparing eras in any sport is never a good idea because there's too many variables to discount one teams achievements.

I'm just proud to say I'm witnessing the greatest season of Caps hockey even.

Posted by: jake81 | April 10, 2010 11:54 AM | Report abuse

I think the scariest aspect of this entire team is their youth- the 5 top players (arguably OV, Semin, Nicky, Green and Schultz) are all around 24-25 years old, the oldest being Semin. That, along with the fact that you have a majority of players who have played with Bruce for a long time, so they know the style of play, style of coaching, and their teammates better than arguably any other team in the league, is why the Caps will be one of the best teams in the NHL for (close to) the next decade.

Posted by: MG52_4Prez | April 10, 2010 1:14 PM | Report abuse

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