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.
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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