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"A Lot of Emotions" as Backes Gets Set to Face Blues

David Backes to play against St. Louis for the first time

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BOSTON - David Backes spent 10 seasons wearing the Blue Note on his chest. Five of those were spent with a 'C' right beside it. 

 

Overall, the forward spent 13 years in St. Louis' organization after being drafted 62nd overall in 2003. 

 

Suffice to say, Tuesday night at TD Garden will be slightly strange for Backes, who - after 740 NHL games - will play the first game of his career against the St. Louis Blues. 

"A lot of mixed emotions," Backes said following Tuesday's pregame skate at Warrior Ice Arena. "Just want to stay in the moment, try to do what I can to help our team win and afterwards, we can shake hands and give each other hugs and wish each other the best moving forward."

 

"A lot of good people over there, a lot of good friends," said Backes, who was able to meet a couple of former teammates for dinner on Monday night, and is excited to see all of the familiar faces. 

 

"But we're wearing different jerseys tonight, so I think they're well aware and I'm well aware, there's going to be no punches pulled," Backes smiled. "We're going after two points, both teams are playing pretty well right now and it's going to be battle of will for who gets two points out of the game."

 

While Backes has adjusted to his new Black & Gold attire, others around the league haven't necessarily gotten used to Backes the Bruin, as opposed to Backes the Blue.

 

"Fans, friends, maybe a few officials at times," he laughed. "They've seen me in certain colors and a certain uniform for so long that to see me in something different, it would be a little bit different."

 

After 13 games wearing the Spoked-B, Backes is looking right at home in Boston, where he's under contract for the next five seasons. 

 

"We're almost 20 games into the season - I think the newness of that is starting to wear off and we're ready to go out there and as a group, win games, and that's really my focus," said Backes. "The individual side of things, I'm trying to be a piece of this puzzle and fit in where I can help us win games, and that's really the focus, and it's starting to trend in the right direction."

 

Backes has certainly fit into the Bruins' room and their leadership group. 

 

"There's a lot in his personality that makes him a natural leader," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien. "Obviously his demeanor in the dressing room has been a great addition to our room."

 

"Off the ice, he's been a great addition to our group and at the same time, he's been good on the ice as far as making his linemates and others accountable, and playing hard," Julien said. "So I like his presence on and off the ice, so he's been a good addition to our hockey club."

 

Backes has felt welcome since Day One. 

 

"I think the guys in the room have really made me feel comfortable," said Backes. "Starting with Zee and March and Bergy pulling me aside and saying, 'Listen, we know what it was like to play against you, we know what your qualities are - we want you, if you see something that needs to be said or see something that needs to be done, to feel comfortable to do it and we've got your back."

 

"And those statements from those prominent guys that I really respect made me feel comfortable to come in here being myself, to help this team hopefully from the get-go to be better moving forward."

 

The Bruins are coming off a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Saturday night, and they have won eight of their last 11 games. 

 

"We're tilting the odds in our favor and every night giving ourselves a chance to win and that's a great sign for our team," said Backes. "Now we'll just keep collecting those points moving forward."

 

He'll be glad for the two points - even if they're coming against his former team. 

 

"I think you relish the opportunity, playing your old team, but at the same time, it's unfamiliar territory, there's not a ton of stuff that I haven't experienced in this league, but this is certainly one of them that in 10 years, I haven't played against that jersey, against that emblem," said Backes. 

 

"But as long as I'm shooting on the right net, we'll be just fine," he smiled. 

 

Video: Backes ready for first game against St. Louis

 

Pastrnak Still Day to Day

 

David Pastrnak remains day to day with an upper-body injury. He joined the team on the ice for pregame skate, but he is not yet ready for game action. 

 

He has missed the Bruins' past two games. 

 

"He's at the point where he's not ready to play yet," said Julien. "When he is, he'll be back in the lineup. He's skated the last couple of days and today with us, so he's progressing. Still day to day."

 

Beleskey Moves to Krejci's Wing

 

During pregame rushes, Matt Beleskey was skating on a line with Backes and David Krejci. Julien put them together late in Saturday's game when he made some line tweaks. 

 

"He's a thick body that wins battles and is going into the hard areas, and we might bump into each other a little bit more, going into those same spaces, but you know, guy with a great shot that I think he'll flourish there," smiled Backes. 

 

"I know he played with Krech last year, so they've got a little chemistry that they can play off of what Krech and I have started to build in the beginning of this season and put that in a blender and we'll see what comes out. We had a few shifts at the end of last game, but it was pretty much a foregone conclusion that game."

 

With Beleskey moved up to Krejci's left wing, Ryan Spooner moved to center on the third line, with Tim Schaller and Austin Czarnik on his wings. 

 

"I think you saw Spoons playing center and really getting to display his speed in the middle, to keep moving to the center of the ice, and I think the coaches took note of that," said Backes. "And we'll see how this all pans out, but another opportunity to find chemistry with a guy and be a positive factor for our team."

 

Pregame Skate Lines and Defense Pairings 11/22

 

Brad Marchand - Patrice Bergeron - Riley Nash

Matt Beleskey - David Krejci - David Backes

Tim Schaller - Ryan Spooner - Austin Czarnik

Sean Kuraly - Dominic Moore - Jimmy Hayes  

 

Zdeno Chara - Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug - Adam McQuaid

Joe Morrow - John-Michael Liles

 

Projected Starter: Tuukka Rask // Backup: Zane McIntyre

 

Projected Scratches: Colin Miller, David Pastrnak (upper body, day to day), Kevan Miller (hand, Injured Reserve)

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