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Need to Know: Bruins vs. Blues

Backes to face off against former team for first time

by Eric Russo @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com

BostonBruins.com - The Bruins will host the St. Louis Blues for the only time this season on Tuesday night at TD Garden. Boston (11-7-0, 22 points) will be looking for its second consecutive victory and ninth in the last 12 games.

The Bruins, who will be playing their fifth straight game against a Western Conference opponent, are third in the Atlantic Division, eight points behind Montreal (30 points) and three behind Tampa Bay (22).

Puck drop is set for 7 p.m. on NESN and 98.5 The Sports Hub.

Here is what you need to know:

What to Watch For

It will, no doubt, be a little strange for David Backes when he hits the ice at TD Garden on Tuesday night. For the first time in his 11-year NHL career, the forward will be an opposing player in a game involving the St. Louis Blues.

Backes spent the first 10 years of his career with St. Louis - the last five as captain - before signing a five-year contract with Boston on July 1.

He ranks fifth in Blues history in games played (727), sixth in goals (206), sixth in points (460), eighth in assists (254), and fifth in penalty minutes (969).

His place in the St. Louis organization is solidified. He will be remembered as one of the best to ever don the Blues uniform.

Now, Backes is hoping to forge a similar identity in Boston. He is off to a strong start, as he has already become a favorite among the Bruins faithful.

In 13 games for the Bruins, Backes has compiled three goals and four assists for seven points, which is tied for fourth on the team. He leads the Bruins with 19 penalty minutes. Backes is 17th in the NHL in plus/minus at plus-9.

Opposing View

The Blues, like the Bruins, have not played since Saturday night, when they defeated Nashville, 3-1, for their third straight victory. St. Louis (10-6-3) sits second in the Central Division (and the Western Conference) behind Chicago with 23 points.

St. Louis ranks second in the NHL on the penalty kill (89.6%) and ninth on the power play (21.2%).

Vladimir Tarasenko had a goal against Nashville for his 10th point in his last eight games. The 24-year-old has 19 points (seven goals, 12 assists), which ranks seventh in the NHL. His nine power-play points and seven power-play assists are both second.

Kevin Shattenkirk is tied for second among NHL defensemen with 14 points (four goals, 10 assists).

Alexander Steen missed practice on Monday and will not travel to Boston, according to the Blues' Twitter account. Steen is tied for fourth on the Blues with 10 points (two goals, eight assists).

Wait, There's More

  • David Pastrnak has missed the last two games with an upper-body injury, but has been skating on his own. He was termed day-to-day over the weekend by coach Claude Julien. Pastrnak leads the Bruins with 10 goals.
  • The next Bruins goal will be the 20,000th in franchise history (includes shootout deciding goals). They will be the second team to reach that milestone (Montreal).
  • The Bruins and Blues will be meeting for the 132nd time in their histories, with the Bruins having a 63-41-18-9 record and 480-388 scoring advantage in those games. Nine of the last 18 games between these teams have gone into OT or shootout with the Blues winning all nine.
  • The Blues are in the midst of their 50th Anniversary season and are hosting the 2017 Winter Classic against Chicago at Busch Stadium.
  • Since Ken Hitchcock was hired (Nov. 8, 2011) as head coach, the Blues have posted the NHL's best regular season record at 234-109-39.
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