David Backes is wearing multiple hats for Team USA right now. He’s on a makeshift grind line with Dustin Brown and Ryan Callahan, so head coach Dan Bylsma is clearly looking for some physical play out of the St. Louis Blues captain. He’s scored a pair of dirty goals for the Americans in this tourney, and today against the Czech Republic, he put on the playmaker cap.
With the United States on their heals a bit and coming up with several empty shifts against the Czechs, Backes made a clutch play to put the team up 2-1 in the first period. America took an early lead, but quickly allowed the Czech Republic to tie things up. The Stars and Stripes spent a lot of time trapped in the defensive zone after that, but this pass from Backes broke up that momentum immediately.
To that point in the contest,the Americans had spent a lot of time cycling in the corners, but couldn’t seem to turn the pressure into a shot on goal. Backes turned the tide of play a bit by posting up at the circle before firing a cross-ice pass to a waiting Brown.
Give credit to the goal scorer—that puck didn’t exactly arrive flat, and there was obviously some heat on it. Brown settled it down though, and buried it for the US. A great pass and a great finish all around.
(h/t to Pete Blackburn for the GIF)
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