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. 

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Morning Skate: Former PC coach Army on Avs' rough year

Here are all the links from around the hockey world, and what I’m reading, while celebrating the 40th Anniversary of Star Wars being released today. Amazing that the power and influence of the best movie franchise in cinematic history are just as strong today as it was four decades ago. I still remember my first time seeing it as a very little kid with my parents at the dearly departed Starlight Drive-In in North Reading.

*Good guy and recently fired Colorado Avalanche assistant coach Tim Army talks about a rough past season with the Avs, and some of the difficulties they faced in a truly terrible season. The former Providence College head coach and good hockey man shouldn’t have much trouble finding his next gig.

*A great move by the Arizona Coyotes, who have hired former Bruins forward Craig Cunningham as a pro scout after his awful medical situation last season that resulted in his leg getting amputated. Cunningham is a hard worker and a hockey lifer, and that’s exactly the kind of traits that the best scouts have in huge amounts.

*The New Jersey Devils have fired a number of employees after a rough season, including a groundbreaking radio analyst.

*With the ultra-competitive demand for an edge in NHL player development, teams are beginning to look to Europe for more and more diamonds in the rough. The Bruins tried that with Joonas Kemppainen, but it didn’t work out so well.

*One of the real big advantages of the Nashville Predators getting to the Stanley Cup Final for the first time is a national spotlight getting flashed on PK Subban, who shows off his personality in a rare ESPN interview of a hockey player featured on the network's magazine show.

*Ryan Johansen isn’t done talking smack to Ryan Kesler after the Predators prevailed over the Ducks, and it’s some delicious playoff hatred.

*Is the NHL ready to draft another goaltender with the last name DiPietro in the first round? Inquiring minds want to know, but I’d recommend the New York Islanders take a pass just in the name of avoiding a repeat of some bad history for them.

*Taylor Hall sounds pretty bitter about the whole “Edmonton Oilers getting into the playoff without him” thing, doesn’t he?

*For something completely different: As mentioned above, it’s a milestone birthday for the Star Wars franchise hitting 40 years old today. Boy, this Boston Globe movie review was right on the money back in 1977.