Backes, Bruins bruise Coyotes
BOSTON — It is well known that hockey players typically bounce back from injury faster than other athletes, often returning to the same game after needing a serious amount of stitches.
David Backes is a hockey player. When the Boston Bruins center was told he needed eight weeks to recover after having 10 inches of his colon removed, he made it back in half the time.
Now, it looks as if he is getting into game shape.
“I’m feeling pretty good, actually,” Backes said after scoring his first two goals of the season in the Bruins’ 6-1 rout of the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday night.
Backes, playing in his fourth game back, said he felt sluggish but had an assist in a loss at Nashville on Monday night, the 500th point of his career. In Thursday, he turned a 1-1 game into a 3-1 lead, and the Bruins went on to beat the Coyotes for the 12th straight time.
“Maybe it’s missing time, maybe it’s being 33, but being on the ice, even if it isn’t a long time, just to get out there and loosen up keeps me feeling good,” he said.
Brad Marchand, who had a goal and an assist for Boston, said of Backes, “He’s a huge leader for our team. He steps up all over the place — in the locker room, on the ice, on the bench.
“There’s a big void when he’s not playing. We’re very lucky to have the guy. He stepped up big tonight and really turned that game around for us.”
Backes tipped home a Riley Nash shot for his first goal at 13:54 of the second period, and he swiped the puck from Alex Goligoski and went in alone for his second at 19:06 of the middle period.
“Contributing offensively is a good feeling,” Backes said. “That’s not lost on me, but I’ve always been one that trusted in the process — trusted in playing hard, playing the right way and knowing that the results come from that.
“Over time, I know I’ll get my looks, I’ll get my opportunities. I’ve been there before, and it’ll go in eventually.”
Said Marchand, who has a four-game points streak: “He’s a commanding presence in the room — very vocal guy and very intelligent. He knows the game and knows what to say at the right time. He can really bring a lot of emotion to the game. He shows that in his play.”
Marchand scored 15 seconds into the game and added an assist, David Krejci also had a goal and an assist, and Nash and Patrice Bergeron each had two assists in the win.
Krejci boosted the lead to 4-1 with a power-play goal 45 seconds into the third period. Danton Heinen converted his own rebound with 2:04 left, and Anders Bjork scored 55 seconds later.
Boston winger David Pastrnak, who recorded an assist, has points in seven straight games, with four goals and eight points over that span.
Tuukka Rask had an easy night, making 20 saves in his third straight win as the Bruins improved to 13-9-4. He is 10-1 lifetime against the Coyotes, who last defeated Boston in the opening game of the 2009-10 season in the first of two games played in the Czech Republic capital Prague.
Arizona’s Christian Dvorak stole the puck from Brandon Carlo and went in alone to beat Rask with his first goal in 10 games, tying the game for the Coyotes (7-19-5) at 17:07 of the first period.
The effort by the visitors late in the contest led to a players’ meeting postgame.
“It was really about the last 10 minutes. We can’t do that,” Dvorak said. “It can never happen again. We left Wedgie out to dry and that is unacceptable.”
“Wedgie” is goaltender Scott Wedgewood, who fell to 2-4-2 in eight consecutive starts as Antti Raanta deals with a lower-body injury, although Raanta has been cleared to play. Wedgewood stopped 26 shots.
“Wedgie took the brunt of it, and he’s played well for us,” Coyotes coach Rick Tocchet said. “I hope they understand. That hurts because you shouldn’t leave your goalie hanging out to dry like that.”
The Bruins, who outscored the Coyotes 12-3 in two games this season, have won three of their past four games.
NOTES: Coyotes D Kyle Capobianco made his NHL debut. ... Bruins rookie RW Jake DeBrusk returned after missing three games with an undisclosed injury. ... Boston rookie D Charlie McAvoy entered the leading NHL defensemen in five-on-five ice time with 20:43 and logged 18:46 at even strength. ... The Coyotes are the youngest team in the NHL, averaging 25 years, 27 days and leading the league with 39 goals by players 22 and younger. ... Arizona continues its three-game road trip at Columbus on Saturday while the Bruins host the New York Islanders the same night.