Nicklas Bäckström Is Starting to Find His Rhythm With the Capitals

After the Washington Capitals beat the Ottawa Senators in overtime Saturday at Capital One Arena, Garnet Hathaway couldn’t stop talking about his teammate, Nicklas Bäckström. Bäckström had just scored the decisive goal in the 3-2 overtime win. “Yeah, you’re just seeing Nicklas Bäckström, right? What an unbelievable player,” Hathaway said. The game marked for another step in the right direction for Bäckström, who spent months away from the rink due to injury, followed by bouts with COVID-19 and the flu. Bäckström has only played 11 total games this season, but is back at a much-needed time for the Caps.

“I think I haven’t played in seven, eight months,” Bäckström said on Saturday, adding, “I think I’m starting to get my timing back, obviously, conditioning, too. I mean, I’m feeling better. Getting some more touches. Just feel comfortable again.”

The 34-year-old missed the start of training camp and spent months on the long-term injured reserve while rehabilitating a hip injury that dates back to 2015. It was a hard road to recovery for Bäckström, as he had to slowly work his way back onto the ice before skating on his own in a tracksuit, skating in full gear, and eventually getting back into both non-contact and contact team practices around Thanksgiving.

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