While the Boston Bruins fight to try and stay alive in their second round matchup with the Tampa Bay Lightning (the tea m is down 2-1 in Game 5 as of this writing), they’ll have to do it without the help of David Backes. He won’t return to the game today after a collision with Tampa’s J.T. Miller.
Though the series is certainly important, Backes’ long-term health is a bigger concern. The veteran forward went down holding his head, and immediately left the ice with help from players and the training staff. As Elliotte Friedman of Sportsnet points out, Backes has already had two publicly known concussions in his career, including one last season while with the Bruins. The 34-year old forward has three years remaining on his current contract with the Bruins, and registered 33 points this season.
- Though there was hope that Joe Thornton could return to the San Jose Sharks lineup tonight, Kevin Kurz of The Athletic reports that won’t be happening. Head coach Peter DeBoer has already ruled Thornton out, meaning the Sharks will need to stave of elimination without the help of one of their top forwards. The veteran center played in just 47 games for the Sharks this season and is scheduled to become an unrestricted free agent again this summer. He could have played his last game with San Jose should they be unable to win against the Vegas Golden Knights tonight in Game 6 of their series.
- The Washington Capitals don’t expect to be in the same situation, as head coach Barry Trotz explained today. Despite suffering an upper-body injury, the team expects Nicklas Backstrom to play in Game 6 against the Pittsburgh Penguins. Andre Burakovsky still isn’t travelling with the team, but having Backstrom in the lineup gives the Capitals their best chance at finally eliminating the Penguins and moving on to the Eastern Conference Finals.