David Backes suffered an injury during the first period of the St. Louis Blues victory over the San Jose Sharks in Game 4. The Blues’ forward played in just 5:34 of the game, according to Craig Custance of ESPN, which St. Louis won by a score of 6-3.
Backes slid into the back boards with his skate in the first period. That play occurred near the end of a 47-second shift with 5:14 remaining in the first period, as reported by ESPN. It wasn’t immediately evident if that play resulted in Backes’ injury.
— Brian Hank Haenchen (@Brian_Haenchen) May 22, 2016
According to a report by Louie Korac on NHL.com, Backes appeared to lose an edge and possibly hit a rut while forechecking Joe Pavelski. Backes went to the net after the play, but then skated off as San Jose left their defensive zone.
In addition to David Backes’ injury, rookie forward Robby Fabbri also appeared to suffer an injury. As reported by KMOV in St. Louis, Fabbri was driven hard into the boards in the first period by the Sharks’ Tommy Wingels.
Blues captain David Backes injured in Game 4 victory over Sharks https://t.co/DZ9sbusnrC
— ESPN NHL coverage (@ESPN_NHL) May 22, 2016
While David Backes didn’t get back into the game, Fabbri was able to get back onto the ice. The rookie played a total of 9:21 in the game with two brief third period shifts, as reported by NHL.com.
When the Blues took a 4-0 lead on the Sharks after the second period, getting Backes and Fabbri back into the hockey game became less of an imperative. Head coach Ken Hitchcock was likely just being cautious in limiting the playing time for Backes and Fabbri, after they were injured.
When Hitchcock was questioned about the injury to both Backes and his teammate, he did not seem overly concerned, as reported by ESPN.
“I’ll let you know in a couple days. Both guys, they should be good to go.”
If the Blues were to be without Backes’ services for any significant period of time due to an injury, it would most certainly impact the team’s play. Backes has been phenomenal for St. Louis so far in this year’s playoffs. Through 18 games, Backes has notched 13 points (7 goals, 6 assists) according to Hockey-Reference. Three of his goals this postseason have been game-winning goals.
Vladimir Tarasenko, Troy Brouwer, and David Backes are tied for the most goals on the team in the playoffs with seven each, according to the St. Louis Blues’ website. Only one player on the team has more points than Backes, and that is Fabbri with 14 to Backes’ 13. If either of these two players were to be unavailable for Game 5, the Blues would find themselves in an uphill battle.
A leader and the team captain, David Backes’ presence is felt whether on the ice or on the bench. He was certainly vocal while sitting on the pine after his injury in Game 4. Alexander Steen was quoted by NHL.com, indicating how important Backes is to the Blues, regardless of his location.
“Obviously a big part of our room, big part of our team. We’ll see how he feels in the next coming days, but obviously it’s still great having him on the bench.”
Backes and the Blues have bounced back in the Western Conference finals, tying the series at 2-2 with the San Jose Sharks. Coach Ken Hitchcock made a significant change for St. Louis, starting goaltender Jake Allen in lieu of Brian Elliott. The move paid off, as St. Louis routed San Jose in Game 4. The two teams will next face-off on Monday evening in St. Louis for Game 5 of the series.
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