Backes appreciative for Bruins teammates' effort in win vs. Blues

Backes appreciative for Bruins teammates' effort in win vs. Blues

ST. LOUIS – David Backes didn’t actually figure into any of the scoring for the Bruins in a five goal barrage against his former St. Louis Blues club, but his fingerprints were all over the win.

It started off with a well-done, emotional video tribute to Backes in the first period followed by a long ovation for the former captain in his first trip back to the Scottrade Center, and it continued when Backes dropped the gloves with Joel Edmundson in the second period after a nasty 1-2 combo hit on his linemate David Krejci.

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Strong emotion seemed to be the theme for the night for the Blues’ former emotional leader

Before, during and after those Backes events was plenty of offense with the Bruins taking home the 5-3 win over the Blues, and a clear sense that the B’s bench was playing with extra energy to win one for their new teammate. Backes confirmed after the win in St. Louis that Patrice Bergeron addressed the team prior to the game, and they played like it on the ice with three first period goals en route to a stirring victory.

“They were phenomenal,” Backes said of his Bruins teammates. “Bergie did a great job before the game of saying to everybody that ‘This game means a lot to one of our teammates’ and getting guys focused and [ready] to turn it up a notch. I think the guys responded in one heck of a way.”

The Bruins have been through this kind of thing before, of course, like when Jarome Iginla returned to the Calgary Flames home rink a couple of years ago for the first time. But something felt a little different about the Bruins desire level to come away from St. Louis with a good result for Backes, and it probably says quite a bit about him as a teammate.

Backes already defends his B’s teammates at the slightest hint of liberties taken, and it’s clear the Bruins have more fight and spirit to their game when No. 42 is in the lineup. That completely translated onto the ice for the Backes homecoming, and it was something very tangible on the Bruins bench.

“You always want to step up for your teammate,” said Brad Marchand, who scored two of the B’s five goals in the win. “With the way he plays for our team, the things he does and the way he steps it up every night, it’s great to be able to go to battle for him and come up with this win. I know it can be tough coming back playing against your old friends and teammates, and he’d been here for a long time. It had to be an emotional night for him, so it’s great to be able to come out with a win. I’m sure he feels pretty good about it.”

Backes certainly feels a lot better about it than former Blues teammates like Kevin Shattenkirk, Vladimir Tarasenko and Alex Pietrangelo, who didn’t seem very into playing their former captain once the puck was dropped. 

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Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

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Nash stepping up when Bruins need him most

BROOKLYN -- It took most of his first season in Boston, but Riley Nash is hitting his groove with the Bruins at exactly the right time.

Nash came up huge in a must-win game Saturday night against the Islanders, scoring both goals in a 2-1 win over the Isle. The unheralded Nash and equally unheralded backup goalie Anton Khudobin were the two most important performers in the tight, playoff-style win that snapped a four game losing streak while pushing the B's back into playoff position.

"That's part of [a big win], right? Big performances,” said interim coach Bruce Cassidy. "Generally you look to your best players, but [Nash] did a really good job. He's got a sneaky shot, so hopefully he uses it a little bit more. You can't say enough about those goals. We needed them tonight.

"Generally our top guns have been good offensively and have come through. But tonight it was the lesser lights for us in terms of offense, so good for us.”

Both Nash goals were titanic. The first came on the first shift following the Islanders goal in the first period. The fourth-line winger stripped Isles defenseman Scott Mayfield in the neutral zone and then flipped a shot past Thomas Greiss to the short side that tied the game at 1-1. Then in the third period, Dominic Moore hit Nash in stride as he sped into the offensive zone, and Nash weaved through defenders before sneaking one past Greiss for the game-winner.

The two goals give Nash four goals and six points in 21 games since the All-Star break, in line with his normal offensive output during his NHL career, and a step up from the three goals and nine points in his first 52 games this season.

The affable Nash was more than happy to contribute in a big win, and enthused at seeing the offense finally starting to flow on a semi-regular basis when the Bruins can really use it.

"It's quite the output as opposed to the season I've had so far, so I'll take it and be happy that we won the game,” said Nash. "I think everyone in here knew that was the biggest game of the year. It was going to be a really big uphill battle if we lost that one.

"Both teams came out desperate in a pretty tight, playoff-style game, but that's what it's going to be like for the rest of the season. So we've got to hunker down and take it one game at a time as the saying goes.”

With the Bruins third line fading a bit in these tight, physical games where players have to battle for their ice, it's been vital that Boston's fourth line step up and provide big minutes at both ends of the ice. Nash and Co. did more than that on Saturday night by potentially saving the season with his biggest, best game in a Bruins uniform.