Blues to see former captain Backes with Bruins for first time
BOSTON — David Backes will do something Tuesday night he’s never done before in his 11-year NHL career.
Play a game against the St. Louis Blues.
The former St. Louis captain, who signed a big free-agent contract with Boston during the offseason, and his Bruins will take on the Blues, a team that has struggled on the road so far this season.
"I’m just hoping I shoot at the right goalie. You get those familiar colors … " Backes told NHL.com, adding, "It’s an opportunity to play against a lot of good friends. I know probably everybody on that roster except one guy in a very close-knit way.
"It’s going to be emotional, but I plan to just be in the moment and soak it all in and compete my butt off and try to help my team win the game, and let the rest be written as it may."
St. Louis is 8-1-2 at home and 6-0-2 in the last eight, but 2-5-1 on the road and visits a team that may have finally figured out a way to win on home ice.
The Bruins, whose failure to win at home cost them a playoff berth last season, started 1-3 at TD Garden but have won three straight home games — capped by a strong performance in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night.
And now Backes, who has seven points and is a plus-9 but has only one goal since opening night in Columbus, gets to play against his former team.
"It will be different seeing him on the other side," said goalie Jake Allen, who will start for the Blues, likely against Tuukka Rask. "He was such a key part to this group and team and organization. It’s tough to see him part ways but that’s the way the business goes. I’m sure we will say hi off the ice but we’ll see what he’s made of on the ice."
The Blues hit town without the injured Alexander Steen, who will miss his third straight game with an upper body injury. David Pastrnak, who leads the Bruins with 10 goals (four more than anyone else), has missed two games with an upper body injury and is closing in on a return.
Rask, just 3-1-3 lifetime but with a 2.22 goals against average and .923 save percentage lifetime against the Blues, is tied with Carey Price for the league lead in wins (11). He is second in the league with a 1.46 goals-against average and fifth with a .946 save percentage.
The Bruins are 0-5 in games that Rask hasn’t started this season.
Allen is 2-1 but has allowed just two goals and has a .969 save percentage in three lifetime games against the Bruins. He comes in with three straight victories, yielding four goals in the three games. For the season, Allen is 8-3 with a 2.35 goals against and .910 save percentage.
"We need to take more pride playing on the road,"Allen said. "If we don’t have that pride and urgency against these two teams (Boston and Washington), we are going to have our challenges."
The Bruins outshot Winnipeg 38-12 in winning for the fourth time in five games Saturday night, with Rask losing a shutout with 2:40 remaining.