The love affair continued in the Americans' 3-1 victory over Switzerland in their Winter Games opener on Tuesday afternoon, as Backes led the team's most effective line and scored a critical -- and quite thrilling -- second period goal on an end-to-end rush.
With the U.S. leading 1-0 on Bobby Ryan's(notes) first period goal, goalie Ryan Miller(notes) made two of his 14 saves before Backes collected a rebound and streaked up ice. After blazing through the neutral zone, he took Montreal Canadiens defenseman Yannick Weber(notes) 1-on-1 beat, cut right and beat goalie Jonas Hiller(notes) (21 saves) for a 2-0 lead.
Fans in the U.S. may be able to watch the goal via NBC's game highlights, but what's the point? His St. Louis teammate Erik Johnson(notes) told us that Backes actually scored the nearly a carbon copy goal -- on the same sheet of ice and into the same net -- earlier this season against the Vancouver Canucks.
It was Dec. 20, 2009, in a 3-1 win over Vancouver. Get ready for déjà vu, even if the play begins in the neutral zone:
When asked about the goal, Backes said he was trying to get his feet moving in order to break down two Swiss defenders. He used his 6-3, 225-pound frame to ward off Weber and just shot the puck as hard as he could to finish the play.
What did it feel like to score his first Olympic goal? "It kinda feels like my first NHL goal," he said. "It's elation that you're at a new level and that you're able to perform, and contribute to the team cause. Obviously, there's a big smile for the next two or three shifts after that. It's a real cool moment for myself. Got my parents here, and my wife and my sister and my brother-in-law. To share it with them is cool."
UPDATE: Backes = bad-ass.