David Backes takes a skate to the face

He avoided serious injury.

David Backes
David Backes skates quickly off the ice after appearing to catch a skate in the mouth. –Jim Davis/Globe Staff

Bruins forward David Backes, who has had a hard-luck run here in Boston, avoided serious injury Tuesday night when he took a skate to the face late in the first period of a game against Arizona at TD Garden.

Backes, 34, missed the final 3:31 of the period after Coyotes defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson’s blade nicked him on his cheek and nose. Ekman-Larsson fell forward after contact with Backes, his rear skate clipping Backes up high.

Backes appeared hurt, falling to his stomach. Clutching his face, he rose, raced off the ice, and sprinted down the hall to the Bruins’ dressing room. However, he was back on the ice for the start of the second period. He won the opening faceoff.

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His three seasons with the Bruins have been trying. In October, he missed five games with a concussion. Last season included a bout with diverticulitis and subsequent colorectal surgery, a nasty gash on his thigh in March, and a concussion that ended his season in May.

A 13-year veteran, Backes has three goals and three assists in 26 games.

David Backes
David Backes falls to the ice after taking a skate to the face. —AP Photo/Charles Krupa