ST. LOUIS – It had to kill David Backes not to be able to play in Game 5 of the Stanley Cup Final.
Not only is this probably going to be the 35-year-old’s best chance to win the Stanley Cup, but it’s against his former St. Louis Blues team with all of the emotion and energy that would go into such a situation.
After being a healthy scratch in Game 5, Backes obviously hopes he’s back in for Game 6 at the Enterprise Center with the B’s down 3-2 in the best-of-seven series and on the brink of elimination. The Bruins power forward did help shift the momentum when he was inserted into the lineup in the first round against the Maple Leafs, and did so again in the second round when he was dropped into the series against the Columbus Blue Jackets midway through.
So a few days away from playing might have been enough for Backes to get some juice back into his skating legs and bring the power back into his game, and that could make him a positive impact player against a heavy, strong and physical Blues team that’s been Boston’s match and then some. To his credit, Backes was saying all the right things while uncertain whether or not he’s going to be playing in Sunday night’s Game 6 against St. Louis.
“Obviously [I want to be in]. That’s why you play the game,” said Backes, who had no points and five shots on net in four games against the Blues in the Cup Final. “But if we win without me then that’s just as well. We’re here to win. If my part is grabbing the pompoms again then I’ll shake those things until all the frills fall out of them. It’s all aboard, whatever it takes and let’s do it. Hopefully I’m a part of it, but not I hope whoever is in my spot, or not in my spot, will do an admirable job and we’ll be cheering them on with everything we’ve got.
“I like the feeling in the room. We need to play a great 60 minutes. Hopefully I’m wearing my skates, but if not we’ve 20 men that are ready to get a job done.”
A lot will depend on how Bruce Cassidy intends to go with his overall lineup and whether a plan with seven defensemen could again be in the offing, but there’s no doubt that a bruising, old school kind of series plays into the strengths that Backes still holds in his game. And his leadership and vocal presence on the bench is a plus as well in a big game situation where the faint of heart aren’t going to be much of a factor on the ice.
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