Takeaways: Backstrom, Wilson Return, Kuemper Strong As Capitals Blank Jackets
Tom Wilson and Nicklas Backstrom make their long-awaited returns to play as Darcy Kuemper and the Washington Capitals shut out the Columbus Blue Jackets, 1-0. Here are all the takeaways from D.C.
WASHINGTON — There was a different feel at Capital One Arena on Sunday as Nicklas Backstrom and Tom Wilson stepped on the ice for the first time and made their long-awaited season debuts for the Washington Capitals against the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Ultimately, it’d be a quiet night that turned into a 1-0 win over the Columbus Blue Jackets.
Here are all the takeaways from the
Nicklas Backstrom, Tom Wilson Return For Washington Capitals
All eyes were on 19 and 43 on Sunday, as both took the ice for their first game since May and were quickly integrated into the top 6. They had solid showings in their debut, showcasing their skill and bringing a lot to the table.
Backstrom brought his playmaking ability to the top line, where he went to work with Alex Ovechkin and Conor Sheary, who alternated with Marcus Johansson. He had a solid game, winning five of six draws and managing three hits, one shot and a block.
Meanwhile, Wilson brought physicality and pressure while skating on the second line with Evgeny Kuznetsov and Dylan Strome. He led the team with six hits.
Erik Gustafsson Stays Hot, Darcy Kuemper Clutch For Washington Capitals In Quiet Game
Washington got another strong game from Erik Gustafsson, who has been stellar while stepping up for an injured John Carlson. The Swedish blueliner scored his seventh goal of the season just 2:43 minutes into the game, as his shot went off Tim Berni's skate and in to make it a 1-0 game.
Gustafsson now has 15 points in his last 11 games, with all seven of his goals coming over that span. Since Dec. 17, he has gotten a point in all but two games.
Besides that goal, though, it was a quiet affair for Washington, as Columbus dominated in shots on goal and limited the Capitals' chances. Ultimately, though, Darcy Kuemper would secure the shutout with 38 saves. It marked his fourth shutout of the season and second in in five games.
Washington Capitals Ice Chips
– Alex Ovechkin led with four shots.
– Garnet Hathaway dropped the gloves with Gavin Bayreuther.
– Anthony Mantha was a healthy scratch, as was Nicolas Aube-Kubel.