David Backes, Jordin Tootoo

Blues’ Backes (groin) a game-time decision Friday

The St. Louis Blues got back on track with a 4-3 OT win against the Detroit Red Wings, but they might be without their captain against the Calgary Flames on Friday.

David Backes left Thursday’s practice with a groin injury and while he did make through today’s practice, the St. Louis Dispatch said he skated gingerly during that workout. The two-way forward is considered a game-time decision.

“There was a little bit of a strain before the day,” Backes said. “It was actually feeling better than it had in a while. But I think I got a little bit too ahead of myself. But again, we’re hockey players, we fight through things like that and we’ll be fine.”

If he ends up sitting, it would end a solid little streak. Considering his physical style of play, it’s impressive that the 28-year-old American has played in 207 consecutive games. (He hasn’t sit out a game since the Blues faced the Flames on Jan. 25, 2010.)

“Knock on wood, it’s been a couple of years,” Backes said. “But there’s a smartness factor, too, of can I play? Yeah. Do you want to risk not letting it heal? We’ll see. We’ll make an educated decision.”

Head coach Ken Hitchcock said he thinks Backes will be ready to go, but we shall see.

Backes isn’t the only valuable forward who might be less than 100 percent. Alexander Steen is fighting through an illness but is expected to play on Friday.

(H/T to Rotoworld.)

Start the Carr: Habs recall another player from the minors

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There’s been a lot of movement between Montreal and Saint John’s lately and that continued on Sunday.

This time, it’s forward Daniel Carr who’ll be getting a stint with the big club.

Carr has no prior NHL experience.

The 24-year-old spent four years at Union College before joining the Canadiens organization as an undrafted free agent.

In his first season as a pro, Carr scored 24 goals (led the team) and 39 points in 76 AHL games with the Hamilton Bulldogs in 2014-15.

This year, Carr has seven goals and 15 points in 20 games.

Montreal is without forwards Torrey Mitchell, Brendan Gallagher and Alexander Semin.

Campbell’s perfect snipe sinks Wings in OT


Brian Campbell doesn’t score as many points as he used to, but he came up with a huge goal against the Red Wings on Sunday afternoon.

With the game tied, 1-1, in overtime, Campbell skated into the slot and beat Petr Mrazek with a perfect wrister to end the game.

It was also a pretty nice passing play between Jussi Jokinen, Jonathan Huberdeau and Campbell.

Dylan Larkin opened the scoring in the second period before Reilly Smith leveled the score with just over five minutes remaining.

The Wings have blown a lead in three straight games.

Detroit was up 2-0 and 3-2 in their last game, against Edmonton, before they finally closed the game out with an overtime goal by Niklas Kronwall.

They weren’t so fortunate against the Bruins on Wednesday, as they lost 3-2 in OT after leading 2-1 with under two minutes remaining in regulation.

This was the first meeting of the season between Detroit and Florida, but they’ll see each other three times between Feb. 4 and Mar. 19.

With Jonathan Bernier sputtering, we’ll meet Garret Sparks

Garett Sparks
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You can’t blame Mike Babcock for siding with the relatively unknown when the other option is Jonathan Bernier, a goalie who’s 0-8-1 so far in 2015-16.

With that in mind, meet Garret Sparks, the Toronto Maple Leafs’ expected starter for Monday’s game against the Edmonton Oilers.

Sparks was a seventh-round pick (190th overall) in 2011, a guy who was off to a great start in the AHL. That much wasn’t lost on Babcock.

Let’s face it, though; this is as much about the Leafs’ other two goalies as it is about Sparks (whose name inspired a very obscure reference in this post’s headline).

In Bernier’s case, there’s an “enough’s enough” feel:

Meanwhile, James Reimer‘s not quite healthy enough to play yet, so the window of opportunity is open for Sparks … a little bit.

Sparks will get a chance to make an impression, even if it’s just a small one.

Video: Dylan Larkin adds to his rookie goals lead

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So far, the 2015-16 crop of rookies is living up to the hype, if not exceeding it. Connor McDavid‘s unfortunate injury hasn’t even derailed this year’s crop.

The Detroit Red Wings are watching their own blue chip blossom, as Dylan Larkin is making an instant impact.

No. 71 scored his 10th goal of the season against the Florida Panthers on Sunday, fattening his rookie goals lead.

He still needs five points to match rookie points leader Artemi Panarin, though.