SAN JOSE, CA - MARCH 09: David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues controls the puck against the San Jose Sharks at HP Pavilion on March 9, 2013 in San Jose, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) By Ezra Shaw
LOS ANGELES, CA - MARCH 05: Portrait of David Backes #42 of the St. Louis Blues before a faceoff against the Los Angeles Kings at Staples Center on March 5, 2013 in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry How/Getty Images) By Harry How
(HockeyStL) -- The St. Louis Blues’ turbulent season appears to be heading for a smooth landing after winning their fourth consecutive game on Sunday.
The results haven’t been this consistent for St. Louis since a 6-1-0 start. There was a five-game losing skid and then most recently a 1-4-0 mark, but mixed within these poor results were other poor results.
The fingers have been pointing every which way. It was the goaltenders at first. Then the defense became the main scapegoat. Heck, I’m pretty sure Louie the mascot was even blamed. It wasn’t one guy or one line. It was everyone. Everyone was at some point responsible for the shaky times.
Most recently, public enemy No. 1 was the captain, David Backes. And that’s understandable.
Backes played 14 consecutive games without a goal. Within those 14 games, he had only five assists. While he isn’t the same offensive captain you would find like Sidney Crosby, he brings the extra intangibles of a hard work ethic to the ice. Those intangibles seemed to have gone missing during those 14 games.
The last four games have been a different story.
His three-game point streak, which included two goals, was snapped on Sunday in a 1-0 victory over the Detroit Red Wings.
He didn’t need a point to prove his worth, though.
He finished the game with a team-high three shots while laying three hits and blocking two shots. He also posted one takeaway with zero giveaways. Only Alex Pietrangelo played more minute than him (Pietrangelo - 22:58, Backes - 22:18)
This comes after he scored the game-winning goal in the team’s previous game and logged an average of 20:25 in the two previous games.
Another key stat that often goes unnoticed is the faceoff win percentage. In his last four games, Backes has won 55%, 64%, 61% and 55% of the faceoffs taken.
He hasn’t always shutdown the opposition’s top line, but ask Pavel Datsyuk how well Backes played on Sunday. He would probably tell you that Backes played exactly how a captain should play.