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The Wayback Machine: Backstrom's First Goal

by Jeffrey Weinstein / Washington Capitals
Earlier in the week, Mathieu Perreault scored his first NHL goal in just his third game, a game-tying goal in the third period of the Capitals’ 7-4 victory against Florida.

In the locker room after the game the rookie center was the recipient of shaving cream face wash courtesy of Caps defenseman Mike Green.

The scene was familiar to Nicklas Backstrom, who congratulated Perreault after the game.

“I think that’s great,” Backstrom said of Perreault’s goal. “You always feel so lucky when you score it. To get to see him score his first NHL goal, it was a good feeling, and we’re happy for him.”

For Backstrom, the wait for his first NHL goal, two years ago this week, was long.

Though Backstrom showed a deft passing touch from the get-go, registering seven assists in his first 15 games, the playmaking Swede opened his career without a goal in that span.

Backstrom had played the majority of those contests at left wing, but entering November, then-coach Glen Hanlon decided to make a switch, moving Backstrom back to his natural position, at center.

It didn’t take long for the move to pay off.

On November 8, 2007, Capitals, losers of 10 of their last 12 contests, traveled to Ottawa, a team off to the best start in NHL history (13-1-0).

The Caps, at 5-9-1, had already been shut out twice, and registered two goals or less in 10 of their first 14 games (compare to this season, where the Caps have scored two or less just three times in 18 games).

With the Capitals up 1-0 in the second period, and Ottawa’s Shean Donovan in the penalty box, Backstrom crashed the goalmouth with a loose puck in front of the net.

“I remember I was in front of the net,” Backstrom said. “I got a piece of it, and then I fell back and it was in. So it was kind of like a lucky goal.”

The Capitals went on to win the game 4-1, with Backstrom’s first NHL goal proving to be the game-winner.

“It was a fun thing.” Backstrom said. “I remember I got some shaving cream in my face. I think it was Ovi (Alex Ovechkin). He likes to do practical jokes like that.”
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