Bruins’ Backes keeping positive outlook ahead of Canadiens tilt

Matt Kalman
January 14, 2019 - 1:36 pm

Coming off playing just 10:39 of ice time in the Bruins’ 3-2 win at Toronto on Saturday, Bruins forward David Backes is maintaining a positive outlook for how he and his linemates David Krejci and Jake DeBrusk are beginning to jell.

“I mean I’m always self-critical, probably my hardest critic, and there’s plays I would like to make more, be more on top of the puck and more influential, when the other team has it, to giving it back,” Backes said after a morning skate at Warrior Ice Arena on Monday. “That being said we’re again with a new line, it’ll be our third or fourth game together, so we should start to have a little bit of the learning curve kicking in now of reading off a forecheck. If I’m going to be F1, the other guys should know that I’m going to make that defenseman move and he’s not getting by me cleanly and they should be able to jump on pucks and turn them back.”

The Bruins’ game Monday night against Montreal at TD Garden will be the fifth game together for the DeBrusk-Krejci-Backes line. Backes scored in his first game on the line (on a 2-on-1 with Brad Marchand in the midst of a line change) but things hit a bit of a rock bottom in Toronto, where he logged his fewest minutes since he was on the fourth line against Pittsburgh Nov. 23 and played just 8:57.

“We’ve all had goals but we’re not necessarily been making those goals happen as a unit, it’s been kind of in segments and with other guys on the ice or power-play stuff,” Backes said. “So getting together and producing and creating together as three good players should be able to throw their hats in the ring and figure it out. Tonight’s a good opportunity for us.”

Crunch time

Starting with the game against the Canadiens the Bruins will play four games in six nights and then not play a game for nine days because of their “bye week” and then the All-Star break. Having won six of their past seven games, the Bruins will look to finish up the pre-break portion of their schedule strong to avoid stewing in negative juices during their time off.

“For sure, we definitely talked about this last week, making sure that it’s a big week for us,” Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. “And you know we’re playing some good teams and we’ve been playing some good hockey … so carry that over, keep that going and hopefully feel good heading into the break.”

Record in range for Rask

If Tuukka Rask earns the win Monday he’ll have 252 victories in his NHL career and tie Tiny Thompson for most ever wins by a Bruins goaltender. Rask has a personal five-game winning streak with a .955 save percentage and a 1.38 goals-against average in that span.