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Blues a little too welcoming to Backes and Bruins, dominated early on

The St. Louis Blues claimed that it would be “business as usual” on Tuesday as they faced David Backes and the Boston Bruins. So far, they’re not up to their best practices.

(They nailed the tribute part, at least.)

St. Louis started the game about as flat as you could get. Boston charged out to a 3-0 lead through the first period, holding the Blues to a mere two shots on goal. Yikes.

Fair or not, that slow start prompted the Blues to replace Jake Allen. Here’s the last goal he allowed:

Torey Krug didn’t take long to score on Blues backup Carter Hutton in the second period, underscoring the notion that it’s not all Allen’s fault.

Perhaps this will serve as a wake-up call for the Blues, as they’ve been playing better so far in the middle frame, including getting a goal from Colton Parayko.

WATCH LIVE: Boston Bruins at St. Louis Blues

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It probably won’t feel like “business as usual” for David Backes on Tuesday night, as he suits up to face the Blues in St. Louis for the first time in his career as a member of the Boston Bruins.

You’ll be able to soak in that emotional atmosphere on NBCSN tonight, and as a bonus, both teams have plenty to play for as they jockey for positioning in their respective conferences and divisions.

Generally speaking, these two teams can bring the black-and-blue, although both coaches have shown that they’re also willing to adapt to the more transition-minded times. It should be an interesting matchup tonight.

You can watch on NBCSN, online and also via the NBC Sports App.

Click here for the livestream.

After missing 20 games with a concussion, Liles returns to Bruins lineup on Sunday

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Some good news if you’re a fan of the Boston Bruins.

John-Michael Liles, who’s missed the last 20 games because of a concussion, will return to the lineup for Sunday’s tilt against his former team, the Carolina Hurricanes.

Liles suffered the injury against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Nov. 27, after he took a scary fall into the boards.

“It wasn’t good,” Liles told the Boston Herald in late December. “It was definitely scary. It was kind of an unfortunate break. I was driving the net, had a lot of speed, and my feet got taken out. There wasn’t much I could do going that fast and that angle I was going. I was able to shield my face from (Czarnik) and their D-man. By doing that, I kind of hit the boards full-speed with nothing breaking the fall.”

Liles was skating on Boston’s third pairing with Kevan Miller during the pre-game warmup. He’ll probably be eased back into action with some limited minutes in his first few games.

Despite winter storm in North Carolina, Bruins vs. ‘Canes game will go on as scheduled

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On Saturday, North Carolina was hit pretty hard by a winter storm, which left most of the city paralyzed because of icy road conditions.

According to the Weather Channel, parts of North Carolina were hit by as many as 12 inches of snow, 0.15 inches of ice and an inch of sleet thanks to winter storm Helena.

There was some doubt as to whether or not this evening’s game between the Bruins and Hurricanes would take place, but the NHL decided that cancelling the game wasn’t necessary.

Here’s an excerpt of the release from the Hurricanes’ website:

The National Hockey League confirmed Sunday that the game between the Carolina Hurricanes and Boston Bruins on Sunday at 5 p.m. will be played as scheduled. Both teams and the NHL officials are in Raleigh.

North Carolina Governor Roy Cooper declared a State of Emergency in conjunction with the winter storm that passed through the state on Saturday. Fans uncomfortable traveling to PNC Arena for today’s game may exchange their unused tickets for any remaining regular-season Hurricanes home game, with the exception of Jan. 20.

As you might recall, the Hurricanes were already forced to move a game last month because of poor ice conditions at PNC Arena. Finding a replacement date for that one was hard enough, so unless weather conditions were absolutely unbearable, there was no way they could afford to postpone another game.

The NHL isn’t the only sporting event that’s refusing to postpone games on Sunday. The NCAA men’s basketball game between North Carolina and North Carolina State, which was already rescheduled from Saturday to Sunday, will not be moved again.

Marchand, Rask shine as Bruins blank Panthers

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SUNRISE, Fla. (AP) Brad Marchand scored two goals, Tuukka Rask had 25 saves and the Boston Bruins beat the Florida Panthers 4-0 on Saturday night.

Riley Nash and David Backes also scored, helping the Bruins improve to 4-0 against the Panthers this season. Rask got his fifth shutout of the season.

Florida’s James Reimer made 33 saves in his fourth straight start. Roberto Luongo, who missed Friday’s 2-1 victory against Nashville with an upper-body injury, is day to day.

The Panthers have lost six of their last eight games.

Marchand’s second goal made it 3-0 at 9:40 of the second. Torey Krug‘s power-play shot from the high slot was blocked, but Marchand swept in the rebound.

Marchand, who leads Boston with 12 goals and 34 points, also had a short-handed goal at 12:48 of the first. He grabbed the puck from Panthers defenseman Keith Yandle, skated in, and backhanded the puck between Reimer’s glove and the post.

The Bruins went ahead 2-0 when Backes tipped in a shot from David Krejci at 4:13 of the second. Backes missed the previous three games with a concussion.

Nash poked in the puck off Reimer’s body and into the net at 4:59 of the third.

NOTES: Panthers F Greg McKegg left in the second period with an upper-body injury. … Florida C Nick Bjugstad will miss two weeks with a lower-body injury. … Panthers D Aaron Ekblad played in his 200th NHL game. … The Panthers recalled goaltender Sam Brittain from the Manchester Monarchs of the ECHL to back up Reimer. … The Bruins recalled Zane McIntyre from Providence of the AHL to back up Rask. McIntyre has played in three games this season (0-2-0).

UP NEXT

Bruins: Visit Carolina on Sunday.

Panthers: Visit New Jersey on Monday.