Near the right half-wall where he orchestrates the Capitals power play, Backstrom's stick blade danced around the puck before he settled on defenseman John Carlson, who was lurking in the high slot with his stick cocked.
Backstrom slid an effortless pass in Carlson's direction, and the defenseman fired the puck past Edmonton goaltender Ben Scrivens to tie the game 1-1.
The assist, his 500th NHL point, was quintessential Backstrom: understated but effective. The 26-year-old's career has been characterized by such subtlety, an extension of his reserved personality.
"He is sneaky good. I knew he was, but you appreciate it more when you see it every day," said defenseman Matt Niskanen, who signed with Washington on July 1.