Bruins’ week ahead: Backes returns to old stomping grounds

Boston Bruins' David Backes (42), Brandon Carlo (25) and Brad Marchand (63) celebrate Carlo's goal against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016.
Boston Bruins' David Backes (42), Brandon Carlo (25) and Brad Marchand (63) celebrate Carlo's goal against the Winnipeg Jets on Monday, Oct. 17, 2016. –John Woods/The Canadian Press via AP

The Bruins ended January’s first week by splitting their first two games in their four-game road trip that concludes Thursday night in Nashville. After a 4-0 shutout of the Panthers in Sunrise, Florida, the Bruins — despite a lackluster performance — managed to earn a point with an overtime loss to the Carolina Hurricanes Sunday afternoon.

Desperate for points past the midway point of the season, an important three-game slate — including the final two games of their road trip — awaits for the Black and Gold.

Here’s a further look at the Bruins’ week ahead.

Tuesday at St. Louis, 8 p.m.


After spending 10 years with the Blues before signing a four-year deal with the Bruins, David Backes makes his return to St. Louis where he surely will be welcomed back with open arms. Speaking of Backes, the former Blues captain has played very well since returning from a concussion, with two goals in as many games.

The Blues enter Tuesday’s contest with the Bruins sitting comfortably in third place in the Central division, eight points behind the second place Minnesota Wild.  Star forward Vladimir Tarasenko has not slowed down at all and continues to lead the offensive surge for the Blues with 20 goals and 43 points.

The Blues had no problems taking down the Bruins in their 4-2 victory the first time these two teams met back on November 22nd at TD Garden.

Thursday at Nashville, 8 p.m.

Thursday night the Bruins will head to Nashville to take on a team chasing the Blues in the standings. With just two wins in their last eight contests entering their Tuesday night date with the Vancouver Canucks, the Predators will look to build some momentum against an inconsistent Bruins squad.

The Predators have had their fair share of issues scoring goals this season as just Viktor Arvidsson, Mike Fisher and James Neal have scored double digit goals.


The Bruins won’t have the chance to catch up with old friend P.K. Subban after he was traded from Montreal to Nashville in the summer.  The star defenseman has not played since December 15 due to an upper-body injury.

Remember Matt Irwin? Yes, the same Matt Irwin who appeared in just two games for the Bruins last season before being assigned to Providence. Well, Irwin has been an important contributor to the Predators this year and just inked a one-year extension on Friday. Irwin has eight points in 34 games and is a plus-15.

Saturday vs. Philadelphia 1 p.m.

The Bruins week concludes Saturday afternoon with a matinée against the Philadelphia Flyers.  Head coach Dave Hakstol and company currently sit fifth in the tight Metropolitan Division race and know that they need to start picking up some points to stay within striking distance of the division’s best.

The Flyers have just two wins in their last five games and are playing some of their worst hockey thus far in 2016-17.

Despite their struggles, the Flyers are still as deep as they come with offensive talent as Jakub Voracek, Claude Giroux, Wayne Simmonds and Brayden Schenn are carrying the load.

The Bruins and Flyers skated in an entertaining affair on November 30, one that was not decided until Shayne Gostisbehere’s ninth-round shootout goal.

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