Emotional night for Backes as he returns to St. Louis with Bruins

Emotional night for Backes as he returns to St. Louis with Bruins

ST. LOUIS -- David Backes knows it’s going to be an emotion-filled moment when he takes the ice tonight at the Scottrade Center for the first time since leaving the St. Louis Blues organization, which he bled, sweated and played for over the last 10 years.

He played 727 games in St. Louis, eventually becoming captain and helping the team advance to the Western Conference finals last year. But last July 1 he signed as a free agent with the Bruins, and has become the same kind of emotional and physical leader he was for the Blues.

Still, this return to his adopted home of St. Louis has been on his mind for a while.

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“I’m going to try to control myself and my emotions, and live in the moment while enjoying every second of it,” said Backes, who has 11 goals and 21 points in 35 games this season with the Bruins. “There are a few times in your career when you get special nights, and tonight is going to be a special night for me, no question, coming back to a place where I spent 10 years. I’ve got a lot of great memories here. My wife and daughter flew in for the game, a lot of friends will be sitting with them and I just want to enjoy every second of it, be in the moment, not look past it and not take anything for granted.

“At the end of the day I’m going to do everything I can to help my team come out of here with two points against a team that I know is very tough, and has already beaten us once this year. But in the midst of that there will be some special moments throughout, and I want to enjoy every second of it. It starts with morning skate and some of the familiar faces around the rink.”

Backes has already crossed paths with his ex-teammates once before, when St. Louis came into TD Garden and defeated the B's, 4-2, on Nov. 22.

"It’s probably stranger for him than it is for us,” said defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, who succeeded Backes as Blues captain. “We're still here, and we're going on business as usual. Like I said to him yesterday, it just feels like you've been hurt for 40 games now that he's back here. I know for [Backes’ wife] Kelly it's a little bit weird too coming back and seeing everybody, seeing all the friends that they've known for a long time. I think he's adjusting. The way he plays, too, I think he'll go out there and do what he's going to do.

“We know he plays the game pretty honest. He keeps the other team on their heels. He plays the game hard, we know that. Obviously he was the captain here for as long as he was, so you miss that. You miss that emotional side of him being the guy.”

Backes has already shown a high motor and fiery, vocal leadership in just a half-season with the Bruins, and he sets the standard for the rest of the team by playing a physical game and consistently paying the price at the front of the net. The B's are expecting more of what they’ve come to rely on from Backes even as he readies for one of the most emotional games of his career.

“I don’t worry about what he brings to the table” said coach Claude Julien. “I know what he brings to the table every night. I expect him to do that again tonight because he does that on a regular basis. But that’s not denying that this is a big night for him. To come back to the place where he was captain and played for many years, there’s no doubt it’s going to be an emotional night for him. Hopefully we can reward him with a win here.”

So what happens when you put an emotional player in an ultra-emotional moment in his longtime NHL home for the first time? It could be something special.

MacArthur OT goal gives Senators 3-2 win, ends Bruins season

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MacArthur OT goal gives Senators 3-2 win, ends Bruins season

BOSTON – The Bruins should have their heads held high because they battled valiantly before falling to the Senators in Game 6.

Ultimately the B’s couldn’t pull off any more overtime magic and a Clarke MacArthur power play goal 6:30 into overtime gave Ottawa a 3-2 win in the extra session at TD Garden, and handed the Senators a 4-2 win in the best-of-seven playoff series to advance to a second round match-up with the New York Rangers. A David Pastrnak holding call after hauling down MacArthur set up the OT power play for Ottawa and ultimately became Boston’s undoing.

The Bruins struck first in the opening period after killing off three different delay of game penalties for B’s players flinging the puck over the glass into the stands, and then scored on their first power play of the first. Drew Stafford played a two-man game with Brad Marchand at the high point and then smoked a one-timer under the bar from the right circle to get things going.

Ottawa stormed back in the second period with two goals of their own: Bobby Ryan tipped home a Derick Brassard point blast on the power play for his fourth goal of the series, and Kyle Turris snapped one home from the high slot after a turnover deep in Boston’s zone by Stafford. The PP goal was particularly frustrating as it came on a leg check call on Charlie McAvoy after two B’s players had been taken out (Colin Miller, David Krejci) on uncalled Ottawa leg checks earlier in the series.

The B’s tied it up in the third period on a bad line change from the Sens with Boston’s best offensive players on the ice. Colin Miller worked it up quickly to Marchand, who fired one at the net that Craig Anderson stopped initially before not being able to hold back Patrice Bergeron crashing the net for the rebound score.

Injured Krejci out, Belesky in for Bruins for Game 6 vs. Ottawa

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Injured Krejci out, Belesky in for Bruins for Game 6 vs. Ottawa

BOSTON -- The Bruins won’t have David Krejci (lower body) in the lineup for Game 6 as they look to stay alive in their first-round series against the Ottawa Senators.

Krejci was knocked out of Friday night’s Game 5 double-overtime win after a knee-on-knee hit from Chris Wideman in the first period that set off the Bruins when the Ottawa D-man reportedly chirped the injured Bruins center.

With Krejci out, one might have expected Ryan Spooner to replace him given Spooner’s power-play capabilities and his offensive upside in a top-6 role. But Bruce Cassidy will go with Matt Beleskey while moving around some of the pieces in his lineup. Beleskey hasn’t played since taking a couple of penalties in the Game 2 loss to the Sens in Ottawa, but the hope is that his heavy forechecking ability can have the same kind of impact Sean Kuraly had Friday night.

“Beleskey will go in and we’ll move some things around,” said Cassidy. “It’s become much more of a down-low grind game offensively for us, and that’s his strength. He can get on people, get on pucks, win battles and get to the net. So he should be afforded an opportunity to play to his strength. This is going to be less of a line-rush game, so now the people that are going in are more suited to that: [Noel] Acciari, Kuraly and Beleskey.”

It could also benefit the Bruins from a veteran experience perspective as well as Beleskey has a well-established big game reputation during his playoff stints with Anaheim. He popped in eight goals during a 16-game postseason stint with the Ducks just prior to signing a big free-agent deal with the Bruins two seasons ago.