(HockeySTL)-- As if worrying about their playoff position and their declining play isn’t enough, the Blues are now forced to consider whether or not they will have their captain back in time for the postseason. It’s as if the hockey gods looked down upon the struggling Blues, who have dropped three consecutive games for the first time this season, and decided that their resolve had not been tested enough and felt it necessary to present them with a new problem.
That problem comes in the form of another fallen player. This time, it’s David Backes who sustained an injury at an inopportune time.
The Blues’ captain, who is second on the team in goals (27) and third on the team in points (57) this season, is likely to miss all three of the Blues’ remaining regular season games.
If the expectations are correct, Backes will miss the Blues’ game on Friday in Dallas and the regular-season finale on Sunday against Detroit. Backes has already been ruled out for the Blues’ matchup against Minnesota on Thursday.
St. Louis hopes to have Backes back and healthy enough to play in time for the playoffs, which start next Wednesday. However, the Blues aren’t expected to start their series until next Thursday, giving them three days between their last regular season game and the start of their series. Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock thinks that will warrant Backes enough time to heal.
"He's going to be out for potentially three games and then play," Hitchcock told reporters in a video posted on the Blues’ website. "I don't think it's a big deal."
Backes was injured midway through the second period of Tuesday night’s game against the Capitals. The culprit was an Alexander Steen slap shot, which Backes took off the left foot. Backes did not immediately leave the game, playing in one more shift. He later exited the ice and did not return to the game.
After Tuesday’s game, Hitchcock called Backes’ ailment a “lower-body” injury and said the forward was day-to-day, a status that has not changed. According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Post Dispatch, Backes was wearing a boot on his left foot prior to the Blues’ game in Minnesota. A boot is usually an indicator of a more significant type of injury.
The Blues could certainly use Backes back in their lineup before the playoffs, as they battle for several titles and playoff advantages. They are currently neck-and-neck with the Colorado Avalanche for the Central Division title, as well as the top spot in the Western Conference. The struggling Blues are also without Vladimir Tarasenko (hand), who is making progress but still isn’t ready to return to game action.