Nicklas Backstrom jokes that digital hat-trick came because he didn’t hear Alex Ovechkin yelling for the puck

With the NHL season currently on pause, the Washington Capitals’ local cable affiliate NBC Sports Washington has been airing simulated versions of the rest of the team’s season on-air. In their latest game, the Caps defeated the St. Louis Blues 5-3 on the back of a hat trick from Nicklas Backstrom.

The Swedish center was excited about his virtual duplicate’s performance, tweeting out his joy when the accomplishment was announced through Washington’s account.

But to continue the feel of a normal regular season, Backstrom was also interviewed after the simulated game to get his thoughts on his “individual” performance and that of the team’s. Keeping in line with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s recommendations of social distancing, the interview was naturally done online.

To give credit where credit is due, Backstrom is certainly a good sport about the whole experience, even throwing in some good quips about the game. When asked about what exactly allowed him to have so much success in Tuesday night’s game he said, “Yeah, it feels great. I don’t do hat tricks that often. It’s always nice to seal it off with an empty-netter. You see what happens when you can’t hear Ovi scream all the time for the puck.”

The 32-year-old has never been known to be much of a goal-scorer — topping the 30-goal plateau just once in his 13 NHL seasons — but it’s not like that part of his game has been needed given that he’s been teammates with Alexander Ovechkin, one of the greatest scorers in NHL history, for his entire career. Still, it’s nice to see what he’s capable of doing when he’s able to tune out that Great 8 from his mind on the ice, even if just digitally.

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