The opening-round playoff series between the Blackhawks and Blues has been anything but short on drama, and the loss of Blues captain David Backes added quite a bit of fuel to that fire.
Blues head coach Ken Hitchcock said Backes will not play in Game 3 on Monday night after taking a big hit from Brent Seabrook — one that landed the Blackhawks defenseman a three-game suspension — just two days prior.
The Blues are upset about the hit and about the loss of their captain, but they're looking to put those emotions aside and focus on the game as they prepare for the series' first game in Chicago.
"Not happy about what happened, but we have to push through it right now," Blues forward Ryan Reaves said. "You want to retaliate or get revenge for your captain, but you start getting in trouble when you do that. You start taking bad penalties, run around, get in bad position. Series can turn around if you play like that. We can’t do that. We just get our licks in legally when we can."
The Blues were not only upset with the hit but also the taunting that followed.
CBC's broadcast of Game 2 caught a Blackhawks player saying "wakey, wakey Backes" after the Blues captain appeared dazed and out of it following the hit from Seabrook.
Which player made the comment is still unknown, but the act itself was enough to get the Blues fired up even more.
"I don’t know who was saying anything. Doesn’t matter," Reaves continued. "Something was said, it’s gutless. He has to live with it, not me. Winning playoff series is the best revenge we can get. We can send them packing, shining up the golf clubs a little bit, that would be the best revenge right now. Taking care of the series is the best way to deal with it."
The Blues are heading into Game 3 with two wins under their belt. They're confident that if they don't ride too high on emotion, they can have another strong performance against the Blackhawks.
"We've got to win the hockey game, it's not about the (emotions)," forward Alexander Steen said. "It's all about winning the hockey game, and our focus is just that. We know what to expect in this building, it's going to get ramped up even more than normal being a playoff game."