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Posted at 09:32 AM ET, 03/23/2011

Nicklas Backstrom helps fuel Capitals’ fast start against Flyers

A bizarre stat came out of the first period in the Capitals’ eventual 5-4 shootout win over the Flyers on Tuesday. Much has been said throughout the course of the year about Washington’s rather slow starts to games, so while a bit surprising, it was also fitting that last night against Philadelphia was only the third time all season that the Capitals have carried a two-goal lead into the second period.

The other two occasions were Nov. 14 against Atlanta and Feb. 1 against Montreal.

One player who was a big part of helping to give the Capitals that cushion — granted, which ultimately wouldn’t last — was Nicklas Backstrom, who scored the team’s first goal and was seemingly ever-present on the ice throughout the contest, particularly in the first period.

“He might not have the points that he’s had last year or the year before, but he’s a great player and we know that,” Coach Bruce Boudreau said. “We missed him for five games and it really hurt us. He does a lot of really good things out there defensively, with the puck, without the puck and he makes lines go. Tonight in the first period it was like he said: ‘OK, I’m going, follow me.’”

--The Capitals’ biggest quandry heading into the playoffs: the goaltender situation. [New York Times]

--A vote for Michal Neuvirth. [Homer McFanboy]

--Could the Oilers target unrestricted-free-agent-to-be Brooks Laich this summer? [Edmonton Journal]

--Former Capital Tomas Fleischmann skated in Colorado. He’s still taking medication for his pulmonary embolism, but it’s good news regardless. []

--Matt Cooke spoke to reporters in Pittsburgh following the news of his suspension. “I need to change,” he said. [Pittsburgh Tribune-Review]

--If you haven’t seen it yet, Dan Steinberg has Ozzy Osbourn’s playoff commercial..

By  |  09:32 AM ET, 03/23/2011

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