NBCSN will continue its coverage of the 2016-17 campaign tonight when the St. Louis Blues host the Boston Bruins at 8:00 p.m. ET. If you want to watch the game online, you can do so here.
The big story heading into tonight’s game will be David Backes‘ first return to St. Louis.
After spending the first 10 years of his career with the Blues, Backes decided to sign with the Bruins after he became a free agent on July 1st.
The veteran forward admitted that his first goal was to make sure he didn’t shed any tears when he returns to his old stomping grounds.
“It is (emotional),” Backes said, per the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. “Just driving around town. It’s nostalgic being back here. I’m seeing a lot of familiar sights and reconnecting with a lot of friendly faces and saying hi. I’m back in familiar territory.”
In the first meeting between these two teams this season (in Boston), Backes managed to score a goal in a 4-2 loss to his former team.
The 32-year-old is putting up similar totals to his last year in St. Louis, as he has 11 goals and 21 points in 35 games in 2016-17.
As a whole, the Bruins have been wildly inconsistent this year. They’re currently second in the Atlantic, but they’ve played more games than any other team in the division.
“I’m probably not as optimistic about where we are, because I think we’ve left some points on the table that could have separated us a little more,” said Neely, per the Boston Herald.
“We’ve played more games now than a lot of teams and we didn’t separate ourselves as much as we could have and would have liked to. So that part’s a little frustrating.”
The Bruins are off to a 1-2-1 start in 2017, so getting hot in the very near future is a must.
Backes wasn’t the only free agent the Blues lost during the off-season, as Troy Brouwer signed in Calgary and Brian Elliott was traded to the Flames, but Backes was the one who had been in the organization the longest.
Without their three key leaders, St. Louis has lacked consistency, but they’ve managed to keep their head above water.
Tonight, they’ll be hoping to turn in a dominant performance against one of their old friends.
“Ten-nothing so then I can chirp him,” Blues defenseman Alex Pietrangelo said of a desired scoreline for tonight’s game. “We’re all excited to see him. Everyone here’s excited to see him play. He’ll be the first to tell you he’s moved on and he’s got a new team to worry about. He’s been here for a while. I’m sure they still love this city. He’s going to go out there and play. He’s got a new uniform, he’s living and playing for that city.”
Since their big Winter Classic win over the Blackhawks, the Blues have dropped a 4-2 decision to the’Canes and they defeated the Stars 4-3 on Saturday night.
St. Louis currently sits in third place in the Central thanks to an outstanding 16-4-4 record at home, which bodes well for tonight’s game.