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Backes, Pastrnak Set for First Preseason Action

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / Boston Bruins

BRIGHTON - David Backes has already played his share of preseason games this fall. Suiting up for Team USA at the World Cup of Hockey provided the 10-year veteran with quite the tune-up ahead of the 2016-17 season.

 

But Saturday night's tilt in Philadelphia will deliver perhaps his most important game action to date. It will be the first time Backes will don the Spoked-B and his first chance to build chemistry with his teammates and gain familiarity with the Bruins' system.

 

"It's been a long time coming and now," Backes said following a pregame skate this morning at Warrior Ice Arena. "This will be exciting to put this jersey on and go hit somebody else instead of my own teammates for a change. I'm looking forward to it.

 

"It's going to be one of those moments where you have to soak it in, but don't let your emotions get the best of you because there's a certain adrenaline rush that comes with a new chapter and to put on a jersey with so much history behind it."

 

Backes is hoping to play in three of the final four exhibition games in order to maintain the conditioning he built up during his time at the World Cup.

 

"[You] don't want to be up to speed in the World Cup and then take time off and chase your tail when the season starts again," said Backes, who did acknowledge the preseason is beginning to drag a bit.

 

"I'll learn some of my teammates' tendencies; the first two games we were able to watch just sitting at him and in the press box, starting to take notes.

 

"There's a steep learning curve, no question, but extra time at the rink, playing probably three of these last four games and from that we'll start to find out way.

 

"We need to be great on Oct. 13 when we play for keeps. That's the target date."

 

Backes Impressed by Pasta

 

Based on the morning skate, it is expected that Backes plays the middle with David Pastrnak on his right side. Pastrnak will also be playing in his first exhibition action after returning from the World Cup of Hockey, where he represented Team Czech Republic.

 

In his short time with Pastrnak, Backes has seen the raw skill and ability that the 20-year-old provides. But it's the joy Pastrnak plays with on the ice that has stood out the most.

 

"He's a real good young kid that has a great head on his shoulders," said Backes. "He's smiling, he's having fun out there. This is work, this is what we do for a living, but it's a game, it should be fun. And he kind of reminds you of that and brings a smile to everyone else's face I think.

 

"His high level of skill is very apparent. Even this morning, a two-on-one, where I thought he was going to shoot for sure and he's faking the goalie, the defensemen, and unfortunately me out, and I wasn't able to receive the pass.

 

"Things like that, I'll learn that and maybe next time I'm ready for it. He's a great young player who has a bright future."

 

Like Backes, Pastrnak is anxious to play in a game after a week of practicing.

 

"It's been a while," said Pastrnak. "I've already been practicing for a week so it's nice to get into game action again and get ready for the season.

 

"Those preseason games are good it get to know [the new systems] and focus on doing it right and doing right the small details and stuff."

 

Julien Returns

 

Head coach Claude Julien returned to the ice this morning after arriving in Boston from the World Cup of Hockey on Friday. The players were glad to have him back.

 

"It was fun," said Pastrnak. "A little surprising that he's back here that quickly. But, it shows that he really wants to be here and we're happy that he's here and we congratulated him."

 

Julien was an assistant coach for World Cup champion Canada.

 

Bruins Capture First Preseason Victory

 

The Bruins got in the win column on Friday night with a 2-1 overtime victory in Detroit. Ryan Spooner potted the winner just 34 seconds into the extra session.

 

The goal developed after Spooner won a face-off. Following Wednesday night's game, during which he won just 4 of 16 at the dot, Spooner bounced back by winning 63 percent of his face-offs in Detroit.

 

"I think the faceoff win was just a start of it - when you start with the puck, it's a lot better, so I just came behind the net, I had a step on my guy, and I just tried to take it to the net and the puck got to Joe [Morrow] and he made a great play," said Spooner.

 

Video: Ryan Spooner speaks to reporters postgame

 

Morrow, who also dropped the gloves with Givani Smith in the second period, charged hard into the corner, won the puck battle, and managed to get the puck to Spooner out front for the winner.

 

"I had fun out there tonight," said Morrow. "The kind of message I got last game was that I needed to play a little better, play more loose, and try and make a difference out there, so that's kind of how I went into this game - just to win all the battles and to do the little things that will keep me consistently in the lineup."

 

Danton Heinen tied the game at 1 with just over seven minutes in regulation. It was the youngster's second goal in two preseason games.

 

Video: Danton Heinen speaks to reporters postgame

 

"I don't think you can get complacent - just got to keep working hard and you've got to earn everything you get, so I've just got to try to keep doing the same things and keep working my hardest," said Heinen.

 

Anton Khudobin made 34 saves and forward Justin Hickman fought Louis-Marc Aubry in the first period.

 

Saturday night's Game Roster (at Phildadelphia, 7 p.m., on 98.5 The Sports Hub)

 

FORWARDS: David Backes, Colby Cave, Austin Czarnik, Jake DeBrusk, Jesse Gabrielle, Seth Griffith, Jimmy Hayes, Danton Heinen, Peter Mueller, Riley Nash, David Pastrnak, Tyler Randell.

 

DEFENSEMEN: Chris Casto, Tommy Cross, Colin Miller, Kevan Miller, Joe Morrow, Rob O'Gara, Jakub Zboril.

 

GOALIES: Zane McIntyre, Malcolum Subban.

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