Bruins winger David Backes gets reacquainted with scoring goals
With his first strides of the game, Bruins right winger David Backes went from the bench to celebrating his team’s’ opening goal just 52 seconds into last night’s 6-3 win over the Sharks at the Garden.
Backes hopped on the ice and went straight to the slot, where he quickly buried a one-timer off defenseman Torey Krug’s pass from the right corner.
The goal ended a 12-game drought. It was also his first point since an assist on Jan.?18 in Detroit, an eight-game run without getting on the scoresheet.
“Jump on the ice and all of a sudden you’re in the slot with a puck rolling at you, those are the ones you dream about,” said Backes after the Bruins gave Bruce Cassidy a win in his debut as interim coach. “(I was) able to put that in, and I think the rest of the game started to slow down for me. I stopped squeezing my stick into a bunch of shrapnel out there.”
On a night when Backes has a pair of new linemates — center Patrice Bergeron and left winger Brad Marchand — the quick goal put him in the right frame of mind for the remainder of the game.
He finished the win with a goal and two assists. It was his fourth multi-point game of the season and first against a team other than Columbus.
“I thought he was rock solid,” Cassidy said about Backes’ game-high seven shots and three hits. “He was offensively good, he was banging some bodies — big hit on (Joe) Thornton. Listen, Bergy and Marsh make a lot of players better. David Backes is a very good player and tonight he did his part on that line and more.”
Backes also figured in the goal that put the Bruins in the lead for good, 2-1, at 15:52 of the first. He started the rush with a cross-ice touch pass from the right wall through the neutral zone that found Marchand on the left. Ultimately, the puck came to defenseman Brandon Carlo, who took a shot from the right point. Backes redirected Carlo’s shot between goalie Martin Jones’ legs and Bergeron was able to clean up the loose puck.
“All of a sudden you say we’re going to make a difference tonight and the bad thoughts turn into good thoughts and you start doing good things out there rather than being a liability,” said Backes who added a final assist on Marchand’s empty-net goal inside the final minute.
Backes was keenly aware he was part of the group of underachieving Bruins, which ultimately contributed to Claude Julien’s firing on Tuesday after 10 seasons on the job.
“I didn’t take it lightly that Claude was fired,” Backes said. “I know that I wasn’t a great player producing where I needed to and I’m able to put that behind me and start on the right foot with Butch here.”
Playing regularly on a line with two of the club’s most consistent performers should help Backes reach his potential.
“That seems to be a coveted spot, everyone seems to fit there and with the way those two guys play and support each other, talk and the chemistry, it’s an awesome spot to be,” Backes said. “That being said, we need to win our matchup when we’re playing in order to force the other teams to adjust and we were able to do that tonight. It feels good to win a game decisively and not be scrambling with a one-goal lead. That was a good recipe for how we need to play on a nightly basis.”