Bruins Weekly: Cassidy Returns and Ends Historic Winning Streak

The schedule for the Boston Bruins has gotten a lot tougher in the last couple of weeks. The Black and Gold have played against some of the iron of the NHL on home ice, but now the schedule flips and they are getting ready to hit the road for a three-game road trip.

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In this edition of Bruins Weekly, a former coach returns to the TD Garden, the Bruins’ historic start to the 2022-23 season on home ice comes to an end, a forward reaches a big milestone and more.

Cassidy & Vegas Snap Home Win Streak

In a stunning move last June and three weeks after being told his job was safe, the Bruins fired former coach Bruce Cassidy when general manager (GM) Don Sweeney went to his suburban Boston home to deliver the news. Cassidy, who complied a 245-108-46 record in six seasons behind the bench in Boston, was hired two weeks later by the Vegas Golden Knights and made his first trip back to the TD Garden since his firing. The return was a great one.

Bruce Cassidy Vegas Golden Knights
Bruce Cassidy, Vegas Golden Knights (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Missing Jack Eichel and Alex Pietrangelo in the lineup, that didn’t stop the Golden Knights from snapping the Bruins’ 14-game winning streak to begin the season on home ice with a 4-3 shootout victory. Vegas took a 3-0 lead 21 minutes into the game, but the Black and Gold battled back on goals from Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, and Taylor Hall. Boston outshot the visitors, 43-24, but they were unable to solve Logan Thompson a fourth time.

It was a bittersweet return for Cassidy, who got a standing ovation and a video message on the jumbotron during the first TV timeout in the first period. He appeared to be touched by the message. Say what you will, but in the end, Cassidy got the short end of the stick by the organization with how things ended, but he will remember his first return to Boston for a long time, snapping an NHL record against his former team.

DeBrusk Scores 100th Career Goal

Entering the Bruins’ matchup with the Colorado Avalanche on Dec. 3, Jake DeBrusk sat on 99 career goals. After coming close once, having a goal called back, the 14th overall pick in the 2015 Entry Draft proved that the third time was the charm.

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In the first period, he deflected a Pastrnak slap shot from the point on the power play, only to have it hit the post. In the second period, he appeared to have scored when he crashed the net after a rebound, and the puck deflected off of him and into the net, but the goal was called back when it was determined that the net came off its moorings. In the third period, DeBrusk finally got rewarded for his effort in the game when he one-timed a pass from Marchand past Colorado goalie Pavel Francouz for his eighth goal of the season to put the finishing touches on a 5-1 win.

It has been an up-and-down career for DeBrusk in Boston. He scored a career-high 27 goals in 2018-19, but since the COVID-19 shutdown in March 2020, he has struggled in the 56-game shortened 2020-21 season and the first half of last season. After being moved to the first line in February last season with Patrice Bergeron and Marchand, he took his game to another level and finished with 25 goals. 

Bruins Join Exclusive List

With their win over the Avalanche, the Black and Gold improved to 20-3-0 and they joined an exclusive list of teams that have won 20 of their first 23 games of a season. It is an impressive feat when a team can accomplish that, but given the Bruins’ injury situation to begin the season and during the first quarter of the season, it makes it even more impressive.

The last team to reach 20 wins in 23 games was the 2012-13 Chicago Blackhawks and the only other team to do it was the 1929-30 Bruins. This season, the Metropolitan Division-leading New Jersey Devils needed just 24 games to reach 20 wins.

Bruins Quotes of the Week

  • Pastrnak on playing with a fully healthy roster: “[We] work for each other. We obviously started the season without some key players to the team, and some other guys had to step up – and they did. And sometimes that builds up the confidence in individuals and, obviously, that translates to the team. I think the guys who came back from injuries have played unbelievable, and when they weren’t here, a bunch of guys stepped up.”
  • Jim Montgomery on Marchand’s 5-on-5 play against the Avalanche: “I thought that was the best 5-on-5 game he’s had all year long. He was a very determined hockey player tonight. It raises everybody’s intensity level. I think that it puts the next line coming over the boards in a real good position offensively.”
  • Trent Frederic after his first career two-goal game against Colorado: “We’re having fun…when you’re winning, goals are coming from everyone…the guys I play with have helped me a lot. Hallsy and CC have been great putting confidence in me.”
  • Marchand on the Bruins rallying from a 3-0 deficit to force overtime against Vegas: “We know we can come back in any situation. Even when we got down three, we hadn’t played good yet, so a lot of time left in the game. It was more just frustrating that we let ourselves get in that position. We know they’re a good team and they play hard. They’re an older group and have a lot of experience, so we knew they would be ready. We didn’t start on time. It’s nice that we battled back but needed a better start.”

Bruins Week Ahead

  • Wednesday: at Colorado Avalanche, 9 p.m.
  • Friday: at Arizona Coyotes, 9:30 p.m.
  • Sunday: at Vegas Golden Knights, 8 p.m.
  • Tuesday: vs. New York Islanders, 7 p.m.

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