Boston Bruins Welcome Bruce Cassidy, Golden Knights to TD Garden

The Boston Bruins will welcome back a familiar face to TD Garden on Monday when Bruce Cassidy and the Vegas Golden Knights to town. Cassidy, following his firing from the Bruins in the offseason, joined the Golden Knights as their head coach and has been enjoying his time out West.

Bruce Cassidy, head coach of the Boston Bruins
Bruce Cassidy during his time as the head coach of the Boston Bruins (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Bruins are the NHL’s best team with a .870 point percentage and currently occupy second place in the league behind the New Jersey Devils (.820 save percentage), who have played two more games than the Bruins and have a 20-4-1 record in 25 games. Right behind these two teams, as far as point percentage is concerned, are the Seattle Kraken (.717 point percentage) and the Golden Knights (.712 save percentage).

It’s safe to say that, despite the Bruins and Cassidy parting ways this offseason, both have landed on their feet and benefitted from the split.

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There were a lot of questions when the Bruins fired Cassidy, especially given how successful he was with the team during his six seasons with the club. From 2017-2022, Cassidy put together a .672 win percentage, which is the best mark of any coach in franchise history. He’d also bring the team to within one game of winning the Stanley Cup in 2019 and was a fan-favorite among fans in Boston. As many expected, he landed on his feet in Vegas and hasn’t skipped a beat this season.

Bruins and Golden Knights Among NHL’s Best Teams

One interesting note entering the matchup is that the Bruins have the NHL’s best home record (a 14-0-0 start to the season at TD Garden, which is an NHL record that continues to improve by the game) and the Golden Knights have the league’s second-best road record (11-2-1). The Golden Knights, if any team, will have the best chance to end the Bruins’ superb start to the season at home, but it’ll be an uphill battle as the Bruins haven’t lost a home game dating back to April 16, 2022; a 21-game win-streak at home that most recently saw the Bruins shine against the defending Stanley Cup Champion Colorado Avalanche.

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Still, the Golden Knights are one of the NHL’s best teams and have a great roster that should match up well against the Bruins’ roster. One notable member of the Golden Knights roster is Jack Eichel, a player that many Bruins’ fans hoped would play under Cassidy in a Boston uniform one day. Instead, the two were united in Vegas, and the results have been fun for hockey fans.

Golden Knights insider Gary Lawless would speak on Eichel recently and mentioned how he’s been performing with Vegas so far this season.

“He’s fun to watch and he has a real drive to win,” said Lawless of Eichel. “Everyone is happy for Jack’s success, and I think he’s just scratching the surface. I think he’s got another level or two to get to, and playing with Chandler Stephenson and Mark Stone, that’s one of the best lines in the NHL right now and they’re really feeding off one another.”

Jack Eichel Vegas Golden Knights
Jack Eichel has been excellent as a member of the Vegas Golden Knights so far this season (Amy Irvin / The Hockey Writers)

The Golden Knights do indeed have one of the best lines in hockey, but the Bruins also have a well-balanced lineup that can attack in many ways. Though the team doesn’t consistently deploy a line of Brad Marchand, Patrice Bergeron and David Pastrnak, the option to put those three is forever a threat for opposing teams and head coach Jim Montgomery hasn’t been averse to using that trio if necessary.

Ideally, it won’t come to that point, but the Golden Knights are as good a team as the Bruins have faced and both sides will likely need to pull out all the stops to try and secure a victory. This game also means more than just a game in the standings, even if Cassidy tries to undersell what the game means to him on a personal level. It’s human nature to want to win a split like this one, especially when he was widely considered a scapegoat despite his success as the Bruins’ coach.

Bruins fans will probably always have a soft spot for Cassidy, but his success in the NHL will have to come against the other 30 teams in the NHL in their minds, which is a fair feeling to have.