(BostonGlobe.com) – The Bruins took their first step into the Bruce Cassidy era Thursday night and they showed up wearing their scoring shoes. Paced by a three-goal first period, with strikes by David Backes, Patrice Bergeron, and David Pastrnak, the Bruins rolled to a 6-3 win over the Sharks at the Garden, only two days after Cassidy replaced longtime coach Claude Julien behind the Black-and-Gold bench. – Kevin Paul Dupont
If you were curious as to how the Bruins would react on the ice to the Claude Julien firing you got a positive answer. They quickly came out and pumped the San Jose Sharks.
Like any movie Leo DiCaprio touches you had to be happy with what you saw tonight. It was everything that Cassidy is heralded for; fast pace, offensively aggressive, long stretch passes, and fantastic puck movement. There were still the similar d-zone hiccups, particularly first pass errors, that have plagued this team at times throughout the season. But the overall jump and authority in which they were doing things was elevated. It was fun to watch.
Here are a just few quick hits from the game:
- David Pastrnak stayed hot with two beautiful goals. One, a ridiculous NHL ’94 like one-timer, and another off of a ping-pong passing play that left everyone’s heads spinning. The Great 88 now has 12 points (5 goals, 7 assists) in his last 6 games.
- Martin Jones got yanked after one tough period, giving up 3 goals on 12 shots. The legendary ex-Bruin probably didn’t plan on the night ending this way in front of his former crowd that he never actually got to play in front of.
- David Backes had himself a game. Hours after he was called out by Cam Neely on 98.5 The Sports Hub the animal lover himself grabbed a goal 52 seconds into the game and looked sharp all night. He polished off his stat line with 2 assists as well.
- Patrice Bergeron had 4 points like it was a ho-hum casual Friday at the office. His no-look passes on the to Pastrnak’s awaiting cannon on the power play were things of beauty. Per usual, as he goes, so do the B’s.
- Joe Thornton had arguably the nicest goal of the night. A perfectly placed top shelf BB that no goalie could stop. Crazy enough, it was his first goal of the 2016-17 campaign with a tender in front of him. Now with 4 goals on the year, his first 3 this season were empty netters. No joke. Google it.
- The Bruins weren’t missing the net tonight like they usually do. It seems like since Rich Peverly patented the high glass snapper the Bruins have continued to fill that role with every other depth player they can find. Tonight everyone buckled down and took meaningful shots.
- Guys we’re getting in dirty areas as well. Far less perimeter attempts, defenseman were getting involved offensively, Bergeron even drove the crease to pick up his garbage goal. And Schaller attacked the net on his. Good stuff:
The only problem with tonight is we’re conditioned to take it with a grain of salt. As we should. This Bruins team has screwed with our heads more than a crazy ex. One minute it’s good, the next minute your car is vandalized with lipstick graffiti. So you have to take into account the emotion of a big game tonight. Significant Bruins players on this roster have only had Claude as the only NHL coach of their careers. Add it that it’s only one game and the environment a coaching change can create can be short term as well.
Yes, stylistically you have to like what Cassidy and the boys did, but now it’s a matter of keeping that effort going beyond “the first game without Claude”. Because it’s still the same personnel on that bench devoid of a legit backup goalie. It’s a matter of finding out whether tonight was no-strings attached fun with a hot rebound after the ex is out of picture, or if we’re truly onto a better situation.
All of it will be re-evaluated this Saturday @ 1pm against Loui Eriksson and the Vancouver Canucks.
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