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.