St. Louis Blues

David Backes bounces back from scratch with big goal for Bruins

David Backes bounces back from scratch with big goal for Bruins

BOSTON – They say that good deeds in hockey go rewarded, and David Backes was living proof of that on Thursday night.

One day after being a healthy scratch in the B’s loss to the Flyers in Philly on Wednesday night, it was Backes scoring a goal and aiding his Bruins team in taking down his old St. Louis Blues team by a 5-2 score at TD Garden. The 34-year-old re-entered the Bruins lineup on the fourth line with Chris Wagner and Sean Kuraly, and managed to scrap for a power play goal in the second period that tied up the game for the B’s before they could win it in the third.

It was a prototypical goal for Backes with the big power forward camping out in front of the net and then tipping a Zdeno Chara point blast past Jake Allen as he was getting pushed off his spot. It was exactly the kind of goal he’s scored a million times previously in his NHL career, and exactly the kind of offense he hopes to provide now that he’s back in the lineup.

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“It’s tumultuous but it tests your character and you see how you respond to it. I think I’ve taken the right route and those types of goals that I scored tonight are what I’m used to scoring, you know, a dozen a year,” said Backes, of his fifth goal of the season for the Bruins. “If I can get back to those places, we can get pucks to the net, and there’s a dozen of those going in and I can shoot a couple more in, you know, that’s kind of the place I want to be.

“It worked tonight. Is it going to work every night? Potentially not, but if I can get to those spots, we can get pucks there, you know, the law of averages is going to work on our side eventually.”

Certainly it was an otherwise quiet night from Backes with three shot attempts in 11:25 of ice time, but the goal-scoring play was a good lesson for the young B’s players in handling a healthy scratch like a professional. It was also proof that Backes can still help the Bruins even if his minutes are scaled back as a member of the fourth line in place of Noel Acciari, a spot that be his a great deal into the foreseeable future.

“His attitude about the whole situation has been incredible. You know, [Backes] is such a great leader in that sense and such a great player for this group. To come in, have the response he did and have a big goal to get us back in the game, you know, it’s great to see,” said Brad Marchand. “That’s what makes him such a great leader. You know the attitude that he has all the time. His response that he showed tonight, [it was] great to see.”

Certainly it was a bitter pill for a proud player like Backes to sit and watch his teammates lose in Philadelphia where he might have made a difference, so the B’s power forward made sure he was the difference in the win over the Blues. That’s the exact kind of leadership they were banking on when they signed Backes to his five year deal with the Bruins, and even in his struggles this season that’s exactly what they’re getting.

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Talking Points from the Bruins' 5-2 win over the Blues

Talking Points from the Bruins' 5-2 win over the Blues

Here are Joe Haggerty's talking points from the Bruins' 5-2 win over the St. Louis Blues. 

GOLD STAR: It feels like a lot of the Bruins fourth line forwards have been getting the lion’s share of credit in games, so why not spread the love around to Chris Wagner? The hard-hitting Bruins winger ended up scoring the game-winning goal on a breakaway in the third period, threw five hits and won 3-of-5 face-offs in 14:17 of ice time while adapting to a new linemate with David Backes added to that group. The breakaway was a thing of beauty as Wagner was hit in stride by a Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson pass, twisted Alex Pietrangelo up defensively and then threw a double-move on Jake Allen before wrapping the puck around his body. It more than made up for the absolute struggle of missing a pair of empty net chances late in the third period with the fourth line on the ice.

BLACK EYE: There’s been plenty of talk about Vladimir Tarasenko potentially being a name available on the trade market if things really go bad in St. Louis. That means there are plenty of curious onlookers wondering what’s going to happen with Tarasenko over the next six weeks leading up to the NHL trade deadline. Well, there are also nights like tonight where Tarasenko finished with zero shots, a minus-2 rating and just two shots on net while really not exerting much of an influence in the game against the Bruins. Brayden Schenn was a much stronger force with an assist and seven registered hits as he played physical, effective hockey for the Blues while also looking strong on the puck leading up St. Louis’ second goal of the night.

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TURNING POINT: For the Bruins it was absolutely tying the game in the second period with about four minutes to go prior to the second intermission. David Backes camped in front of the net and still managed to get a tip on a Zdeno Chara shot even as he was getting pushed off his spot in the slot. The score from Backes in his first game back from being a healthy scratch tied things up at 2-2, and gave the Bruins all kinds of life for a third period where they fired off three unanswered goals despite playing the second night of a back-to-back. Once the game was tied in the second period, it was all over.  

HONORABLE MENTION: It wasn’t David Krejci’s best game in terms of points, face-off performance or even shots on net, but the playmaking center was excellent while piling up three assists in very different scenarios. His best play was Boston’s first goal of the game as Krejci wheeled around the offensive zone drawing all the defenders toward him, and then found Torey Krug wide open in the slot for the blast past Jake Allen. Later he got the secondary assist on the game-tying goal and he racked up his third assist on the Sean Kuraly empty netter at the end. But in all Krejci finished with three assists, a plus-1 rating three shots on net and three takeaways in 22:16 of ice time while playing a very strong two-way game.

BY THE NUMBERS: 252 – the number of career wins for Tuukka Rask, which ties Tiny Thompson atop the Bruins all-time goaltending list. It was a run of the mill 28-save game for Tuukka Rask where he wasn’t pushed too much by the Blues, but Rask was at his best in the third period making 10 saves while the B’s blew open the game with three unanswered goals.

QUOTE TO NOTE: “it was a big game for us. The week hasn’t been what we would’ve hoped. We’ve been

playing good hockey but not getting the results that we need right now. But tonight was a big

game. A bounce back game.” –Brad Marchand, on a big win over the Blues after a pretty rough loss to the Flyers just 24 hours earlier in Philly. 

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Here's what happened in the Bruins' 5-2 over St. Louis Blues

Here's what happened in the Bruins' 5-2 over St. Louis Blues

FROM JOE HAGGERTY

Good job by Peter Cehlarik winning a board battle leading up to that David Backes game-tying score in the second period. Cehlarik doing some things the other young wingers haven't been doing this season for the Bruins. Looks like he belongs if he can stay healthy. This after Cehlarik had a great scoring chance at the end of the first period, and had a couple of shots on net in 9:48 of ice time. He’ll still need to keep playing well and proving it over a longer period of time, but David Krejci sure looks comfortable with two bigger, dynamic wingers on either side of him.

A tough night for John Moore, who had a giveaway that led directly to the first St. Louis goal and then was caught on the ice with the B’s top line for the second Blues goal as well. Moore is a minus-2 after two periods and sure looks like a defenseman that maybe wasn’t ready to go back from healthy scratch to effective member of Boston’s back end. Given that Matt Grzelcyk has been pretty solid this season, it sure looks like it was subtraction by Moore’s addition to the Boston lineup.

Danton Heinen passed up a chance with time and space from the high slot in the first period and a clear shooting lane to the net. Instead of shooting he couldn’t get the puck off his stick fast enough, and continues to show all the makings of a player that has almost completely lost his offensive confidence. Heinen is still a player that’s not going to hurt the Bruins based on the responsible game that he plays, but it’s amazing how far he’s fallen in terms of offensive playmaking with the puck on his stick. One goal in his last 16 games entering tonight’s action against the Blues. 

HIGHLIGHTS

CHARA FIGHT IN SCORELESS FIRST PERIOD

KRUG PUTS THE B'S AHEAD 1-0

BLUES TIE IT UP 1-1

GUNNARSSON GIVES BLUES 2-1 LEAD

BACKES BRINGS B'S BACK EVEN 2-2

NICE SAVE BY RASK

WAGNER SCORES TO GIVE B'S 3-2 LEAD

MARCHAND PUTS THINGS ON ICE

MARCHAND WITH ANOTHER TO PUT BRUINS UP 5-2

BRUINS RECORD: 27-16-5

BOX SCORE

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