Backstrom, who is second all-time in Capitals playoff scoring, and third all-time in Capitals regular season scoring is the team's third most important player, after Holtby and Ovechkin.
As the Oates to Ovechkin's Hall, or the Kim Deal to his Frank Black, Backstrom has long been one of the most underrated players in the NHL this side of Jake Gardiner. But also like Oates, he's got the soulful voice of an angel, and the team just ain't the same without him.
Going 3-0 without Backstrom can be categorized as extremely lucky. Like your secret membership in the Maroon Five Fan Club it's eventually going to catch up with you.
Before injuring his upper body (where could it be?) in a mysterious circumstance uncaptured on video and only explainable by Robert Stack via Ouija Board, Backstrom was killing it with 13 points in 11 games.
Backstrom is a guaranteed hall-of-famer and the Capitals could really use him back to help close out the Lightning.
In tonight's game, look for the Lightning to open it up and play to their strengths. During the regular season they were one of the NHL's weakest defensive teams but have adopted a stronger defensive style for the playoffs.
The Capitals have neutralized their hybrid game and tonight I would look for the Lightning, down 2-0 with nothing to lose, to open it back up and play the way that almost won them the President's Trophy. Their defensively responsible game has been quite easy for the Capitals to shut-down, so tonight I expect them to revert to their run and gun ways in order to beat the trap.
This is good news for the Captials. Forcing your opponent to change their style is a great success and at this point its a high risk high reward move for the Lightning, which will possibly lead to them allowing a ton of shots, so a good game by Holtby should be able to put them up 3-0.
It'd will certainly be interesting to see how both coaches go about making their adjustments tonight in game three. It is really unfortunate Backstrom isn't playing because that could be the difference in whether or not this turns into a series.