Playoff Performer of the Night | Nicklas Backstrom
When stakes are high Nicklas Backstrom just has a habit of coming in clutch, and his three-point Saturday night that included the series-swaying, game-winning goal was no different.
There's a reason 8.6% of the 500+ players surveyed in the 2017-18 NHLPA Player Poll voted Nicklas Backstrom as the most underrated player in the league.
When stakes are high, the Washington Capitals alternate captain just has a habit of coming in clutch. Saturday night was no different for Backstrom, who helped swing the Eastern Conference First Round against the Columbus Blue Jackets in his club's favour with the 4-3 overtime game-winner as part of his three-point night.
Nicklas Backstrom's 6th career 3-point game in the postseason ties teammate Alex Ovechkin for the most in Capitals' history. pic.twitter.com/iLr0Ke3aia— ESPN Stats & Info (@@ESPNStatsInfo) April 21, 2018
The Swedish stalwart also shares the lead for most game-winning goals in postseason franchise history (alongside Jason Chimera, Peter Bondra, and Alex Ovechkin) with six, while his 55 assists are also a franchise-best.
Backstrom scored the game's first goal for the Caps to even out the score 1-1 in the opening frame, and later picked up an assist on T.J. Oshie's second-period tally. It was back-and-forth all night as the two clubs dueled, with no lead lasting longer 5:48, resulting in the fourth game decided by overtime in the series.
11:53 into overtime, Backstrom netted his fourth NHL postseason career overtime goal (building off his franchise-high in the category) to sway the series 3-2 for a Caps, who started out 0-2.
"We had 0-and-2 there, but obviously the whole team felt like we played better than the results," Backstrom spoke of their reversal of fate. "That's the way it is in the playoffs. It's going to go up and down. It's best out of seven, so you've just got to keep grinding. The last three games, we've been doing that."
Columbus will look to avoid elimination on home ice at Nationwide Arena Monday night as the club looks to build towards winning their first postseason series.