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The Noon Number: While Ovechkin's Away, Backstrom Will Play

A look at the tunes the Caps' second fiddle has been able to play when the first chair has been out

Photo by Clyde Caplan/

1.63 - Nicklas Backstrom 's career points-per-game in the 16 games he's played with Alex Ovechkin out of the Caps' lineup.

Backstrom has seven goals, 19 assists and 49 shots on goal in those 16 games, giving him 0.44 goals-, 1.19 assists-, 1.63 points- and 3.06 shots-per-game without his number one wing man, up across the board from 0.26 goals-, 0.73 assists-, 0.99 points- and 2.20 shots-per-game when the two are both in the lineup (regular season only). (And that doesn't even include a two-goal/one-assist effort that included perhaps Backstrom's greatest individual highlight in a game from which Ovechkin was excused early on.)

More importantly, with a pair of wins this past weekend (that included three goals, an assist, and a shootout tally authored by Backstrom), the Caps are now 12-3-1 since the start of the 2008-09 season when Backstrom plays and Ovechkin doesn't. That's called stepping up.

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