Backes’ line is ‘leading the charge’ for St. Louis

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During a five-game stretch, the St. Louis Blues’ top line of Alexander Steen, David Backes and T.J. Oshie has produced a whopping 20 points, as the St. Louis Post-Dispatch points out.

One might target Oshie as the standout of that trio after last night’s hat trick in a lopsided win against the San Jose Sharks, especially since Oshie and Steen have generated 16 of those 20 points.

That might be simplifying things too much, however, as Oshie points to Backes as the subtle driving force, according to the Post-Dispatch.

“You can ask ‘Steener’ … Backes is the guy that’s taking everyone to the net,” Oshie said. “He’s occupying the front of the net. He’s taken goalie’s eyes away, so without Backes doing his job, me and Steener aren’t on the scoresheet.”

Either way, their work is drawing praise from head coach Ken Hitchcock.

“Backes’ line is really leading the charge now again, just like they did all last year,” Hitchcock said. “They look like they’re really back on task again now and really starting to lead us. I think they’re getting room on the outside where they did last year. Backes is going to the net, he’s playing a real power game right now.”

The Blues have enjoyed the success of the “STL” line of Jaden Schwartz, Vladimir Tarasenko and Jori Lehtera for big chunks of the 2014-15 season, at least when the trio’s been at full strength. If their expected top line of Steen – Backes – Oshie can be just as dangerous (or at least dominant in its own way), the Blues will be a tough team to contain.