Nicklas Backstrom waited 11 seasons to win the Stanley Cup with the Washington Capitals.
Now the 30-year-old center is motivated to make sure the Capitals aren't one and done.
"It's a challenge for us. But we want to accept it," Backstrom told the Capitals website Monday when asked about the possibility of repeating as NHL champions. "We want to enjoy this for a couple of more weeks. And then we know it's next season coming.
"We want to do it again because this was too much fun. I think … you just have to look back at the parade, I think that's enough motivation. Or it should be."
The Capitals never advanced past the second round of the Stanley Cup Playoffs in Backstrom's first 10 NHL seasons. After winning the Presidents' Trophy for best record in the NHL in 2015-16 and 2016-17, Washington lost in the Eastern Conference Second Round to the Pittsburgh Penguins, who went on to win the Cup each season.
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"I feel like it was just a good feeling about this team," said Backstrom, who had 23 points (five goals, 18 assists) in 20 playoff games. "I think it started in December when we started playing really good. We just started winning a lot more (the Capitals went 35-15-6 after Dec. 1 following a 14-11-1 start). We just took off after that. Everyone stepped up in the playoffs too. We were playing with a lot of confidence that I never seen in this team before. I think that was the key."
Backstrom, who is from Gavle, Sweden, will have his day with the Cup on Aug. 12. He'll spend part of it where he started playing hockey, at Valbo HC's NickBack Arena, which has been named after him since 2011.
Backstrom said he is looking forward to sharing the Cup with youth players from his hometown.
"I think that can be a little motivation for them too. You know: It can happen," he said.