David Backes and Alex Pietrangelo were teammates with the St. Louis Blues for parts of eight seasons and remained friends even after Backes signed with the Boston Bruins on July 1, 2016. But for the next two weeks, there will be silence between the two as their teams play in the Stanley Cup Final.
The relationship between former teammates turned rivals is highlighted during the fifth installment of "Quest For The Stanley Cup," which debuts Friday at 6 p.m. ET exclusively on ESPN+ in the United States and YouTube.com/NHL in Canada and provides an inside look at the players and coaches from the remaining two teams in this year's Stanley Cup Playoffs.
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"I have a few congratulatory messages out to Pietrangelo and [forward David] Perron, who are good buddies of mine," Backes says while making smoothies with his wife and children before the series begins. "That's it. I've loved you before and I'm going to love you after, but I'm going to hate you for the next couple of weeks. I expect them to be doing the same. We'll rekindle our relationships afterward."
Playing against old friends can be tough for the families as well.
"We love St. Louis. It was our home," Kelly Backes says. "We were in the Pietrangelos' wedding party. It's our worst nightmare, playing our old team. Come tomorrow, there will be some silence between teams and a lot of our old friends."
Foe Pietrangelo, who succeeded Backes as captain of the Blues, it's also a case of putting aside a friendship for a couple of weeks.
"We've both got our heads in a different spot," he says during Stanley Cup Final Media Day. "When we're done we'll probably enjoy it, but for now, we'll just put our head down. … We have a job to do and we both have the same goal at the end. We'll do what we have to do."
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The Bruins survived a slow start in Game 1 of the best-of-7 series, trailing 2-0 one minute into the second period before scoring four unanswered goals for a 4-2 win.
"We responded well. Not the start we wanted, but we did what we had to do," Boston coach Bruce Cassidy says.
Perron, who's in his third stint with the Blues, celebrated his 31st birthday on the off day between Games 1 and 2.
"It's nice to be still playing on your birthday," says Perron, the only member of the Blues who had previously played in the Cup Final (Vegas Golden Knights in 2018). "It's pretty special."
Video: Quest For The Stanley Cup: Perron celebrates birthday
So was the outcome of Game 2, when the Blues, who twice trailed by one goal in the first period, scored during a delayed penalty on a point shot from defenseman Carl Gunnarsson that got past a screened Tuukka Rask for a 3-2 overtime win to even the series.
Gunnarsson's goal assured that the series will go at least five games, making the path toward the ultimate goal for each team just a little longer.