David Backes traveled with the St. Louis Blues to Chicago for Game 3 of their divisional semifinal series on Monday night, but he’s out with an “upper body” injury according to Coach Ken Hitchcock.
"He's out, won't play today," said Blues coach Ken Hitchcock, who would not elaborate further on Backes' condition. "He's our No. 1 center, he plays the most minutes on the hockey club, he plays in every situation. It has to be shared. Not one person's going to be able to take the slot. We don't have that.
"We don't have somebody that can come in and say, 'OK, you've got to take his minutes.' Somebody's going to have to do extra work killing penalties, other people have got to be added, we're going to have to do a better job on faceoffs, other people are going to have to step up and take faceoffs, especially on the right side. There's like anything else: What would Chicago be like with losing [Jonathan] Toews? For us, Backes is Toews."
So what’s life like without Backes? According to Jeremy Rutherford of the St. Louis Dispatch, Steve Ott moves to the top line with Alex Steen and T.J. Oshie. He played with them after Backes’ injury in Game 2, when he was knocked out of the game on a Brent Seabrook hit to the head.
Moving onto the third line, where Ott played? A returning Patrik Berglund, who last played April 12 after a shoulder injury. He’s expected to skate with Ryan Reaves and Brenden Morrow.