ST. LOUIS -- Former Blues captain David Backes returned to St. Louis on Tuesday night for the first time since signing as a free agent with the Boston Bruins.
While Backes, who played for the Blues for 10 years, spent the night reminiscing -- and even getting in a fight for old times' sake -- the rest of this teammates found plenty of reasons to enjoy the evening as well.
Brad Marchand scored two goals, including an empty-netter, and Frank Vatrano and Torey Krug each recorded a goal and an assist to lead the Bruins to a 5-3 victory.
Marchand's first of the night capped a three-goal first period that came on just 11 shots on goal, giving Boston a 3-0 lead at the first intermission. The period also included a video tribute to Backes, watched by all of his new teammates, that included his contributions to the Blues and the St. Louis community over his time with the team.
"You always want to step up for your teammate, and Backes, the way he plays for our team and the things he does every night, it's great to be able to go to battle for him and come up with a win for him," Marchand said. "I thought we had a really good game all the way through, especially with a few guys going down."
The Bruins played much of the third period with only four defensemen after Adam McQuaid sustained an upper-body injury in the first period and Colin Miller went down in the third period. Coach Claude Julien said each was being evaluated after the game, and he did not yet know their status.
For Backes, getting the win with his new team made it a perfect night. He did not score, but he did earn 17 minutes in penalties after his bout with Blues' defenseman Joel Edmundson late in the second period. He was assessed a minor penalty as an instigator, five minutes for fighting and a 10-minute misconduct.
"It was great to be back in the building and thankfully we jumped out to a decent lead because trying to bottle up everything on the ice was tough, no question about it," Backes said. "The guys played amazing, and they were able to get two points out of the game. I had the best seat in the house for most of the third period, but that's part of the game.
"I think I was able to keep it together. I thought about that moment for quite a while, and I certainly wanted to acknowledge all the great people and the great fans in the building but at the same time keep it together so I could play hockey at a high level and compete against a lot of friends and a lot of good people over there. The night went as scripted in my mind."
A power-play goal by Vatrano started the night for the Bruins, the sixth consecutive game in which the Blues gave up the first goal of the night. Brandon Carlo made it 2-0 before Marchand capped the period. Krug's goal, also on the power play, increased the lead to 4-0 early in the second period.
Defenseman Colton Parayko scored his first of the year for the Blues, on a power play, to make it a 4-1 game at 3:57 of the second period. Patrik Berglund pulled the Blues within 4-2 midway through the third period.
Marchand's empty-net goal was followed by a goal by Kyle Brodziak with 25 seconds to play for the final 5-3 margin.
It was not a good night for Blues starting goalie Jake Allen, who allowed the three first-period goals on 11 shots and was replaced by Carter Hutton at the start of the second period.
The Blues have not won consecutive games since Dec. 1, and part of the reason has been inconsistent play from Allen, who has allowed three goals in three of his last four starts, twice getting pulled from the net.
"He's not stopping the puck, he's having a tough go of it," Blues coach Ken Hitchcock said. "We can just jump all over him or rally around him, we have a choice. I don't think anybody anticipated this, him or us, but it is what it is, and we've got to deal with it.
"He's going to have to battle like the rest of us. I think we can help out. I think we can play better in front of him ... There just is not enough respect for defending right now. We're not getting in the lanes like we have to."
Allen knows that he needs to play better.
"It's frustrating for me," Allen said. "I always have high expectations for myself, and I always set the bar really high. ... This is really tough for me right now. The crazy thing is I don't feel bad on the ice. I feel good out there, but pucks are getting behind me, and I've got to find a way to stop that sooner rather than later."
NOTES: Blues RW Vladimir Tarasenko was selected to play in his third consecutive NHL All-Star Game. The last Blues player to appear in three All-Star Games in a row was D Chris Pronger from 2000-02. ... Named as All-Stars from the Bruins were LW Brad Marchand and G Tuukka Rask. It is the first All-Star selection for both. ... The Blues' two injured defensemen, Robert Bortuzzo (lower body) and Carl Gunnarsson (lower body), are expected to go with the team on its three-game trip that begins Thursday night in Los Angeles. They could play at some point during the trip. ... The Bruins will wrap up their four-game trip on Saturday night.