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Stanley Cup Final

Backes, Blues put friendship aside, get physical in Game 1 of Cup Final

Bruins forward has three hits against former team, is focus of rough play in return

by Matt Kalman / NHL.com Correspondent

BOSTON -- It didn't take long for Boston Bruins forward David Backes and his former teammates from the St. Louis Blues to forget they were ever friends Monday.

Backes had two of his three hits in the first period of the Bruins' 4-2 win in Game 1 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Final at TD Garden. Game 2 is here Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, CBC, SN, TVAS).

Tempers started to flare at 5:25 of the second period when Backes was carrying the puck across the St. Louis blue line and took a high stick to the throat area from Blues defenseman Joel Edmundson. Backes went down to his knees and Edmundson appeared to disagree with the call. Edmundson gave Backes an extra shove while he was still down before heading to the penalty box.

 

[RELATED: Complete Bruins vs. Blues coverage]

 

Blues goalie Jordan Binnington also got involved, hitting Backes during a scrum at 14:50 of the second period.

But Backes didn't get knocked off his game.

"I'm not taking anyone's number. I'm trying to win a hockey game," he said. "I think our guys are all doing that. We're focused on what we need to do. Numbers can be taken and revenge may be later, but we came to play a hockey game and our guys were focused on what we needed to do."

Backes played for the Blues for 10 seasons and was their captain for five. He scored 460 points (206 goals, 254 assists) in 727 games before he signed with the Bruins as an unrestricted free agent July 1, 2016. He was in Blues captain Alex Pietrangelo's wedding party and has plenty of other friends in the opposing dressing room.

Pietrangelo and Backes each said before the series started that their friendship would be on hold, and both teams obviously got the memo.

"It's a big goal at the end for both teams," Pietrangelo said. "We expected a good fight."

The Blues gave the Bruins' top-ranked power play five opportunities, and Boston scored once when defenseman Charlie McAvoy tied the game 2-2 at 12:41 of the second period. 

Though the Blues have to maintain their discipline they don't want to back down, and Backes may expect more of the same in Game 2. 

"We knew that was going to happen quickly," Blues forward David Perron said. "I think when you feel like when you're not generating momentum, you're trying to do something to change it. ... It's a long series, you're trying to show them that it's not going to be an easy one regardless of the score, and that's what we did."

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