David Backes

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Marchand looks like he’s in a video game setting up Backes goal

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It’s tempting to focus on Brad Marchand‘s goal-scoring ability, but he’s in the running for the Art Ross Trophy because of some great playmaking skills, too.

He made that point with a pretty astounding assist on Monday, looking as if he was some sort of unrealistically over-powered video game player in setting up David Backes‘ 1-0 tally during tonight’s big game against the Toronto Maple Leafs.

Watch Marchand’s 43rd assist and 80th point of 2016-17:

The NHL’s first star of the week doesn’t seem to be slowing down.

Here’s the helper in GIF form, if that’s your preference.

Bruins end Flames’ run at 10; Marchand is now your goals leader

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Hot take: the Boston Bruins will be able to handle Dougie Hamilton‘s center-ice goal (though Anton Khudobin likely will remain grumbling).

The Bruins rendered that gaffe fairly irrelevant on Wednesday as their big guns doused the Calgary Flames’ winning streak at 10 games by a decisive score of 5-2.

Brad Marchand also passed Sidney Crosby and the rest of the field in the Maurice Richard Trophy race, scoring his 36th goal of 2016-17:

Marchand added an assist as big names such as David Pastrnak (two goals) and David Backes (one goal) enjoyed strong nights in their own right. Backes’ goal was an especially promising sign, as he recovered from this injury scare:

Wednesday’s two points ties Marchand for the Art Ross lead at 76 points … it’s all very impressive stuff for a guy who’s clearly surpassed his “pest” label. (Not to say that he can’t still get under opponents’ skin, mind you.)

Wins like these remind us that the Bruins have been almost as hot as the Flames. Maybe most importantly, Boston seems increasingly above the wild card fray out East.

So, yeah, that Hamilton goal probably doesn’t mean much more than a blooper reel appearance and made some gentle film-room ribbing for Khudobin.

Bruins’ McQuaid needed 25 stitches after taking skate to the neck

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Scary moment in Saturday’s Boston-New Jersey game when Bruins defenseman Adam McQuaid was hit in the neck by the skate of teammate David Backes late in the third period.

On Sunday, the Bruins revealed that McQuaid needed 25 stitches as a result of the incident. As bad and as scary as that is, that could have easily been a lot worse, all things considered.  The Bruins expect McQuaid to be able to play on Monday against the Ottawa Senators in what is going to be a massive game in the Eastern Conference playoff race.

Said Cassidy on McQuaid being able to play, “he’s a tough customer.”

This is a look at the play that injured McQuaid.

In 60 games this season McQuaid has scored two goals and added six assists for the Bruins while logging more than 17 minutes of ice time per game.

Shattenkirk has to look out for himself

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If the St. Louis Blues can’t turn Kevin Shattenkirk into something significant, don’t expect a warm reception whenever he returns to Scottrade Center as a member of a different team.

The 28-year-old defenseman is a pending unrestricted free agent who’s not expected to re-sign with the Blues. He may be traded prior to Wednesday’s deadline. If not, he’ll likely walk away for nothing this offseason.

Given the above, Shattenkirk understands why many Blues fans were upset that he nixed a trade with Tampa Bay by turning down the Bolts’ contract offer.

That being said, this is a big decision for the high-scoring d-man. He’s in line for a huge payday, and he wants to make the right call for the sake of his future.

“It’s not trying to hold things up or hold anything back from these guys,” Shattenirk told the Post-Dispatch, “but that’s where the tough part of this decision comes, doing what’s best for yourself and what could be your only chance with this opportunity in your entire career.”

The Blues, of course, lost two players to free agency this past summer when David Backes signed with Boston and Troy Brouwer with Calgary.

Earlier this month, after Ken Hitchcock was fired as head coach, GM Doug Armstrong said he felt the Blues had turned into a group of “independent contractors.”

“One of the things I’ve learned about being around St. Louis is the Cardinals,” Armstrong said. “They don’t have independent contractors. When they do, they get rid of them.”

It’s hard now not to see a relation between that comment and Shattenkirk’s situation, given the nixing of the trade with the Lightning apparently came a couple of weeks before Armstrong made the remark.

VIDEO: Jamie Benn and David Backes fight right off opening faceoff

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Sunday’s game between the Boston Bruins and Dallas Stars gave us an opportunity to check in on the relationship between Jamie Benn and David Backes, and it seems that they still do not like each other very much.

Their on-ice feud continued literally as soon as Sunday’s game started, when they dropped the gloves right off the opening faceoff, which you can see in the video up above. It was clear right from the very beginning that fight was going to happen given the way they were discussing things before the puck was even dropped.

These guys have been going at one another for years, dating back to Backes’ days with the St. Louis Blues, and their fight (it was mostly a lot of jersey pulling at the start) on Sunday is already the third time they have dropped the gloves with one another in their careers.

Not much went right for the Stars following the fight as quick goals from Brad Marchand and David Krejci gave the Bruins an early 2-0 lead.