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Preview: Bruins at Blues

Boston forward David Backes, former St. Louis captain, set for return to Scottrade Center

by Louie Korac / NHL.com Correspondent

BRUINS (21-17-5) at BLUES (21-14-5)

8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, TVA Sports, SN, NESN, NHL.TV

 

Bruins team scope

Boston Bruins forward David Backes will play at Scottrade Center for the first time as a visiting player when the Bruins play at the St. Louis Blues on Tuesday. Backes, who played 10 seasons with the Blues, signed a five-year, $30 million contract with the Bruins on July 1, 2016. "I'm going to try to control myself, my emotions, live in the moment and enjoy every second of it," Backes said. "There's a few times in your career where you get special nights, and tonight is going to be a special night for me, no question, coming back to a place where I spent 10 years, got a lot of great memories here, got my wife and daughter that flew in for the game and a lot of friends who will be sitting with them. I just want to enjoy every second of it, be in the moment, not look past it and not take anything for granted." The Bruins will play the third game of a four-game road trip after going 1-0-1 in the first two. "We got three out of four [points]," coach Claude Julien said. "In order to be successful on the road trip, you've got to come back with a winning record here. We've got two more games left and lots of work ahead of us." Goaltender Tuukka Rask, who was named to the Atlantic Division All-Star team along with left wing Brad Marchand on Tuesday, will start. Center David Krejci is two points from 500 in his NHL career.

 

Blues team scope

The Blues hit the midpoint mark of their season Tuesday. Following their game against the Bruins, St. Louis will play 25 of its final 41 games on the road; the Blues are 5-10-1 away from Scottrade Center, where they are 16-4-4 this season. "This year's been a lot different than in years past," defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk said. "I think that this year as far as the Western Conference goes, there really hasn't been a team to me that's really stuck out like they're running away with things. Obviously some teams have some leeway in where they are in the standings, but we're still in the mix. That's one comforting feeling for us, but the other thing that we need to realize is we're playing pretty good hockey right now." Goaltender Jake Allen will start. Forward Vladimir Tarasenko, who will play in his 300th NHL game, was named to the Central Division All-Star team Tuesday for the third straight season. Defenseman Robert Bortuzzo, who will miss his 16th game with a lower-body injury, is close to being at full health and will accompany the team on a three-game trip to California beginning Thursday, coach Ken Hitchcock said. Defenseman Carl Gunnarsson, who has missed the past two games with a lower-body injury, skated Tuesday and is expected to be a full participant in practice Wednesday.

 

Bruins projected lineup

Brad Marchand -- Patrice Bergeron -- David Pastrnak

Frank Vatrano -- David Krejci -- David Backes

Tim Schaller -- Ryan Spooner -- Riley Nash

Jimmy Hayes -- Dominic Moore -- Anton Blidh

Zdeno Chara -- Brandon Carlo

Torey Krug -- Adam McQuaid

Kevan Miller -- Colin Miller

Tuukka Rask

Zane McIntyre

Scratched: John-Michael Liles, Austin Czarnik, Joe Morrow

Injured: Matt Beleskey (knee)

 

Blues projected lineup

Alexander Steen -- Paul Stastny -- Nail Yakupov

Robby Fabbri -- Jori Lehtera -- Vladimir Tarasenko

Jaden Schwartz -- Patrik Berglund -- David Perron

Scottie Upshall -- Kyle Brodziak -- Ryan Reaves

Joel Edmundson -- Alex Pietrangelo

Brad Hunt -- Kevin Shattenkirk

Jay Bouwmeester -- Colton Parayko

Jake Allen

Carter Hutton

Scratched: Dmitrij Jaskin

Injured: Robert Bortuzzo (lower body), Carl Gunnarsson (lower body)

 

Status report

Blidh is expected to play after being scratched the past two games; he's expected to replace either Czarnik or Hayes. ... Liles skated with the extras after returning on Sunday in a 4-3 overtime loss against the Carolina Hurricanes. 

 

Who's hot

The Bruins penalty kill is tied with Carolina Hurricanes for best in the NHL at 88.0 percent. ... Marchand has four points (three goals, one assist) in a three-game point streak. … Tarasenko has four goals in a three-game goal streak and has 16 points (seven goals, nine assists) in his past 14 games. … Steen has five points (one goal, four assists) in a three-game point streak. … (one goal, four assists). ... Fabbri has six points (three goals, three assists) in his past five games. … Stastny has four points (two goals, two assists) in his past two games.

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