No love lost: Bruins beat Blues 5-3 in Backes’ return to St. Louis
ST. LOUIS — David Backes was a spectator for most of the third period in his return to St. Louis. He didn’t mind.
Brad Marchand scored twice, including an empty-netter, and Backes got into a fight as the Boston Bruins beat the Blues 5-3 on Tuesday night.
Frank Vatrano, Brandon Carlo and Torey Krug also scored for the Bruins, who improved to 2-0-1 in their last three games. Tuukka Rask made 14 saves.
“I think the guys are really buying into trying to play hard here and there’s a lot of pride in our dressing room and we just got to keep showing it,” Bruins coach Claude Julien said.
Backes, who spent his first 10 seasons with St. Louis before signing with Boston as a free agent, fought with former teammate Joel Edmundson late in the second to the delight of the Scottrade Center crowd. Backes dropped the gloves in retaliation for a hit on Bruins teammate David Krejci by Jori Lehtera and received an instigator and a 10-minute misconduct in addition to his fighting penalty.
“I felt like they were trying to get the game back by trying to intimidate us and hitting us all over the place and I don’t think it really matters how it happens,” Backes said. “It’s kind of, we’ve got to put an end to this, so I tried to put an end to it.”
The Bruins fed off of the energy of Backes’ return.
“You always want to step up for your teammate and `Backs’ the way he plays for our team and the things he does every night, it’s great to be able to go to battle for him and come up with a win for him,” Marchand said.
Colton Parayko, Patrik Berglund and Kyle Brodziak scored for the Blues. Jake Allen was pulled for Carter Hutton after allowing three goals on 11 shots in the first period. Hutton finished with 26 saves.
“I got here for a reason and just be confident in there and trust everything that I’ve done to get to here is going to work,” Allen said. “It’s tough times right now, but defiantly better days ahead.”
Boston scored four goals on its first 13 shots.
Vatrano put the Bruins up 1-0 with a power-play goal at 8:19 in the first period. It was the sixth straight game the Blues gave up the first goal.
Carlo made it 2-0 with 4:40 left in the first on a lucky bounce. Carlo’s slap shot went wide but caromed off the end boards and off Allen’s leg and into the net.
Marchand scored his fourth goal in his last three games to give the Bruins a 3-0 lead with 2:08 left in the first. Marchand extended his points streak to four games.
“I thought we had a really good game all the way through, especially with a few guys going down, `Backs’ being in the box for 17 minutes,” Marchand said. “I thought the guys responded really well.”
The Blues allowed more goals (3) than they had shots (2) in the first period and haven’t won two games in a row since Dec. 1.
“It’s a balance between relying on your skill and relying on our puck management,” Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. “And I think we’ve relied too much on our skill.”
The Bruins went up 4-0 when Krug scored his first goal in 30 games on a power play early in the second period. It was Boston’s sixth goal with the man advantage in six games.
Bruins defensemen Adam McQuaid (upper body) and Colin Miller (lower body) left the game in the first and third period, respectively.
NOTES: Blues fans gave Backes a standing ovation following a video tribute during the first period. … F Vladimir Tarasenko, the lone Blues player selected to the All-Star Game, played in his 300th game. … Rask and Marchand will represent the Bruins in the All-Star Game.
Bruins: At Nashville on Thursday night.
Blues: At Los Angeles on Thursday night.