BOSTON - Bruins winger David Backes has been termed doubtful for the next two games after suffering an upper-body injury during a frightening collision with Ottawa Senators forward Scott Sabourin on Saturday night at TD Garden.
Coach Bruce Cassidy said that Backes was "doing a little better than last night" when he checked in with the medical staff on Sunday morning at Warrior Ice Arena.
"[We'll] probably get a better evaluation tomorrow," said Cassidy. "I would say right now he's doubtful for the next couple games, but I think tomorrow we'll have a better determination. It's an upper-body injury, it was a pretty big collision. The level of concern would be the same for anybody if you get hit that hard.
"I'm sure, like everybody, he was a little rattled by everything that transpired. Let's just see how he does tomorrow and move forward from there. It's hard for me to say right now until the exact injury is determined."
Sabourin delivered a heavy hit on Backes early in the first period and appeared to lose consciousness on contact, before crashing hard to the ice. He lay motionless on the ice for over 10 minutes and left the arena via a stretcher.
Backes was visibly shaken as he kneeled on the ice while the medical staffs of both teams attended to Sabourin, and eventually retreated to the Bruins dressing room. He did not return.
On Sunday morning, Senators GM Pierre Dorion issued the following statement: "First of all, our thoughts are with Scott Sabourin. He's expected to be released from the hospital today. One thing we know for sure is he suffered a fractured nose and we're going to continue to monitor him and make sure that he's OK."
With Backes expected to be sidelined for at least the next two games and the Bruins already down Joakim Nordstrom, Par Lindholm, Karson Kuhlman, and Brett Ritchie up front, Boston may have to summon help from Providence.
Ritchie, however, did skate on Sunday morning with a small group of players that included injured defensemen Kevan Miller and John Moore. The winger missed Saturday's game with an infected cut.
"Brett Ritchie is out skating, so there might be some progress there," said Cassidy. "We'll see how he does [on Monday] morning. We've kind of got a few balls in the air there. If he's ready to go, he'll go back in with [Charlie] Coyle and then it's a matter of, is [Peter] Cehlarik a better fit with [Sean] Kuraly and [Chris] Wagner? We'd have to make that determination."
Video: Cassidy gives updates following Sunday's practice
DeBrusk Gaining Confidence
The Bruins' new-look second line of Jake DeBrusk, David Krejci, and Danton Heinen produced two five-on-five goals in Saturday's victory, an encouraging sign for a team that has been searching for a boon in its secondary scoring.
"We obviously connected on two 5-on-5 goals…it's early in the season, but that's a little bit unheard of for our group in general," said DeBrusk, who notched his second goal of the season off a feed from Heinen in the third period, giving him four points in his last six games.
"It was really nice to see Heino have a good game. He was all over the puck and seemed like the puck was finding him at certain times. Krech was doing his thing as well, trying to make plays to find us.
"Any time that we can get that secondary scoring - I don't think it was necessarily needed at the time - but that 3-2 goal [from Heinen] was a big one for the team."
Video: DeBrusk talks lines following Sunday's practice
Rask Rolls On
Tuukka Rask made 30 saves in the Bruins' 5-2 victory on Saturday night to improve his record to 7-0-1 this season. He is just the fourth different goalie in team history - and first in 41 years - to record a season-opening point streak of eight-plus games. Ross Brooks (8-0-3 in 1972-73) and Gerry Cheevers (7-0-2 in 1978-79) rank first and second on the list.
Rask will look to tie Cheevers' nine-game streak on Tuesday night in Montreal. Jaroslav Halak will start the opening end of the back-to-back on Monday when the Bruins host the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Video: OTT@BOS: Rask gets across to stone tip by Ennis