Boston forward David Backes all but shut the door on the Columbus Blue Jackets and their underdog story Monday night. With 10:39 gone in the third period of Game 6, Backes streaked toward goal and found the back of the net to give the Bruins an insurmountable 3-0 lead.
Backes’ first goal of the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs sealed the game and the series for Boston. After pulling out a first-round win in seven games over Toronto and then dispatching Columbus in six, the Bruins will face the Carolina Hurricanes in the Eastern Conference finals, which begin Thursday in Boston.
It marked quite a turnaround for Backes, 35, who was a healthy scratch for three games each against the Maple Leafs and Blue Jackets. Yet in the final three games against Columbus, he accumulated three points, including his third-period goal.
“I wanted to be a physical presence that could go to the net and create some space for my linemates, and distract goaltenders and occupy defensemen,” Backes told NBC Sports after the game.
His addition to the lineup at right wing provided a spark to the Bruins. They won all three games Backes appeared in against Columbus.
The 13-year NHL veteran and former team captain could have become discouraged when he was a healthy scratch. Instead, he said he relies on God during the times when things aren’t going his way.
“God’s got a plan,” Backes once told Hockey Ministries. “There have been failures. There’s going to be more failures, but to know that He’s doing work in me to set me up for something that’s great that’s still to come.”
Backes knows he can find true refuge and strength in the Lord, no matter what he faces.
“Having the Lord and knowing that He’s got me in this place for a reason, and that He’s ever-loving and ever-present,” Backes said. “He’s there for me and knows who I am and what’s in my heart.”
Backes made his NHL debut with the St. Louis Blues in the 2006-07 season and played 10 years there before joining the Bruins in 2016. He has recorded 244 career goals in the regular season, and scored 16 more in nine career trips to the postseason.
This year marks Boston’s first trip to the conference finals since 2013, when it lost in the Stanley Cup Finals to Chicago.
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