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Backes Battles Back as Bruins Stop Flames

David Backes returned from a collision into the boards and scored the game-winner in Calgary

by Caryn Switaj @NHLBruins /

CALGARY - David Backes had a scare in the first period in Calgary. 


The clock was stopped at 7:42 after Backes went awkwardly into the boards and needed to spend a few minutes on all fours getting tended to. When he got up, he had to get assistance from Patrice Bergeron and Zdeno Chara before heading down the tunnel. 


He returned about seven minutes into the second period during a TV timeout. 


"It's maybe scary at the time, but I get back [in the locker room] with the training staff, they rub it and kiss it and make it feel better and able to return to the game," Backes smiled postgame from visiting team locker room in Calgary. 


"Which, the way guys were battling and playing for each other, I wanted to make sure that if there was a chance, I would get back out there and try to help our team win another game."

Backes not only came back; he scored the game-winner four minutes after he returned, en route to a 5-2 Bruins win over the Flames.


With the victory, Boston picked up its fourth straight win and improved to 12-3-0 under Interim Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. 


Backes' goal came when he was playing on a line with David Krejci and Frank Vatrano. Cassidy had done some shuffling, as he's become accustomed to, when Backes left the game. 


Cassidy double-shifted Brad Marchand and David Pastrnak, trying to make it so that they would play every second shift. When Backes came back, he slid onto Krejci's wing. 


"He's a hard guy. It's going to take a little more than that to keep him out," smiled Cassidy. "But when it happened, we were all concerned. You never know what's going on at the far end of the ice."


"But he got some treatment between periods and told us he was going to give it a try and it worked out well for us," said Cassidy. "Scored a big goal for us, and played some key shifts for us down the stretch, so hopefully there's not residual effect [on Thursday], but we'll worry about that then."


Backes scored his 15th of the season off the rush, ripping the puck into the top right corner from the left circle off the rush.


"Frank's coming across and drives the middle and that's probably what makes the play," said Backes. "He doesn't end up with a point on the play, but he drives their D back, opens up that lane for Krech, who makes a pass and I'm able to get time and space to get a shot off."


"So Frankie deserves a ton of credit with his route there and going to the net hard, and again, we need to recognize things like that, because it's thankless work, but it wins you games and it opens up space for your teammates, and he did a great job there."


Video: BOS@CGY: Backes snipes pretty goal from the circle


Backes may recognize the details, but his teammates certainly recognized his ability to come back. 


"Just to see a guy like that come out and be a warrior, obviously it's not easy to come back when you're hurting and playing that well like he did," said Brandon Carlo, who did his own part on the penalty kill with a big shot block. 


"And he came out, and really lifted up the team there, which was awesome, and as soon as he came back out on the ice, everybody was excited and happy, and it pretty much brought a new energy," said Carlo. 


Anton Khudobin made 21 saves in goal for Boston, with Tuukka Rask slated to start in Edmonton on Thursday night. 


The Flames scored first - a rare occurrence during Boston's 12-3-0 stretch - when Alex Chiasson picked up the puck behind the goal, spun around, and jammed it through. Dougie Hamilton tied the game at 2-2 in the second period with a floater from just past center ice that made it in.


The goal actually came not long after Backes had returned, but the Bruins didn't fall back on their heels, and Backes potted his game-winner at 11:03 into the second.


Matt Beleskey scored his first goal since Nov. 19 when he put home a Ryan Spooner feed rushing in 2-on-0 on Flames netminder, former Bruin Chad Johnson. 


Adam McQuaid stepped up to poke the puck away at the blueline, and Drew Stafford bounced a quick pass off the boards to Spooner who raced up ice with Beleskey. 


"You don't see that too often, kind of surprised me a bit, but Spoons made a great play, made a fake, good backhand pass, and I was just putting it in," said Beleskey, who is looking more and more like himself out on the ice with his aggressive play. "It's good to get that first one and get things rolling."


Beleskey's insurance goal put the Bruins up 4-2 at 3:36 into the third period. 


David Pastrnak fired in an empty-netter to make it 5-2 with 2.1 left on the clock and pick up his 30th goal on the season. 


Video: Bruins snap Flames' 10-game winning streak


"Playing with great players, if it's Bergy, March and Krech, it's just great and easy for me to play with those players," said Pastrnak, when asked about his first 30-goal campaign. "But other than that, we need to keep going. It's a good feeling in here, and especially when you're winning and we have one more on the road, we need to get two points."


Not to be lost in the win is Brad Marchand picking up his 36th goal of the season when he cashed in on a fumbled puck in front of Johnson. With the goal, he surpassed Sidney Crosby for the NHL lead. 


Combined with an assist on Pastrnak's empty-netter, Marchand moved into a three-way tie for first in the NHL in scoring with 76 points. Both Patrick Kane and Connor McDavid, who Marchand will go head-to-head with on Thursday night, have 76 points. 


Boston killed off back-to-back penalties to begin the game and went 3-for-3 on the night, not allowing a single shot on goal during Calgary's power plays. 


On top of everything, the Bruins capped off their night with snapping the Flames' 10-game winning streak. 


"We knew they played great hockey and for us, we try to stick to our plan and focus on us and do the job, what we talked about, and it worked again," said Pastrnak. "Obviously it feels really good to get those points."


The Black & Gold will finish off a tough three-games-in-four-nights stretch in Western Canada against the Oilers on Thursday at Rogers Place, before returning home to Boston for two days, and then hitting the road again to Toronto. But, there's no getting ahead of themselves. 


"They're a little more rested than we are, but we've been playing pretty good hockey and need to go in there and play a great game to get two points out of Edmonton as well and that's our focus," said Backes. "We beat a good team that was on a roll, and our penalty kill was as good as I think I've ever seen a penalty kill for a game, stifling their rushes…and we need to do it again [on Thursday] night against a really skilled team as well."


Video: Bruins speak to reporters after win at Calgary

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