“Honestly, it doesn’t mean anything,” he said.
Not even home-ice advantage throughout the playoffs?
“That’s really good,” Backstrom said. “It’s good to have home-ice advantage through the playoffs, but at the same time, it doesn’t even mean anything because we lost last time in the first round when we won the Presidents’ Trophy. For me, it’s just a matter of getting to the playoffs. The teams, one through eight, can beat anyone.”
The season Backstrom is referring to is 2009-10, when Washington won the Presidents’ Trophy and then lost to the Montreal Canadiens in the first round. A Presidents’ Trophy winner has won the Stanley Cup just eight times since the award first recognized the league’s regular-season champion in the 1985-86 season.
“It’s a good accomplishment, but it’s not the one that everybody really dreams about,” Coach Barry Trotz said. “Every player that’s in that room, when they were growing up, no matter when they started playing the game, they were playing for the Stanley Cup. They were never playing for the Presidents’ Trophy. That’s what they all dream about.
“It is a noteworthy accomplishment and it’s something that should not be taken with a grain of salt because it does take a lot of effort, a lot of commitment, a lot of consistency from an organization and from the team, and that’s good on them, but I know exactly what they’re thinking. We all would like to be in that position to play for the one Cup that we all dreamed about when you were playing on the streets or hallways of the house or hotel or whatever. That’s the one we want to play for.”
Oshie to play
T.J. Oshie let out a couple of coughs upon entering the Capitals’ locker room on Monday morning. But after missing two games this weekend with the flu, Oshie will play against the Columbus Blue Jackets on Monday night.
“Lungs are still a little iffy, but energy feels good and I felt great out there,” Oshie said.
With Oshie back in the lineup, this will mark the first time since early November that the Capitals have had a completely healthy team. He will be the second-line right wing to Evgeny Kuznetsov and Andre Burakovsky. In practice, he also resumed his top power play responsibilities. He has 23 goals and 22 assists this season.
The second game Oshie missed came against his former team, the St. Louis Blues, and the Caps were shut out 4-0 on Sunday without him on the ice.
“Yeah, I think either one’s a bad one to miss,” Oshie said. “Especially when the team loses, it doesn’t matter really who it’s against — you feel bad that you can’t be out there.”
Here’s how the Capitals’ lineup is expected to look against the Blue Jackets on Monday night:
Alex Ovechkin-Nicklas Backstrom-Justin Williams
Andre Burakovsky-Evgeny Kuznetsov-T.J. Oshie
Jason Chimera-Marcus Johansson-Jay Beagle
Daniel Winnik-Mike Richards-Tom Wilson
Karl Alzner-Matt Niskanen
Nate Schmidt-John Carlson
Brooks Orpik-Dmitry Orlov
Braden Holtby (starter)
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