Boston 6, San Jose 3
When: 7:00 PM ET, Thursday, February 9, 2017
Where: TD Garden, Boston, Mass
BOSTON – (Special to Digital Sports Desk by The Sports Xchange) -Bruce Cassidy made one lineup change after taking over for the fired Claude Julien behind the Boston bench Thursday and the move paid quick dividends.
The Bruins interim coach, the first coach other than Julien this franchise has played for in almost 10 years, moved slumping David Backes up from the second line to the top unit.
Backes scored 52 seconds into the game and the Bruins went on to a 6-3 victory over the San Jose Sharks on a snowy night in Boston.
Backes, who recorded zero goals, one assist and a minus-11 rating in the last 12 games, also had two assists while center Patrice Bergeron scored one goal and set up three others, and left winger Brad Marchand had an empty net goal and an assist.
All part of a strong effort.
“We all felt for Claude. We let him down,” Cassidy said after the Bruins won in front of a sparse crowd because of a blizzard and also did it without captain Zdeno Chara (illness). “But then it’s time to go back to work and live in the moment. I thought our guys responded very well.”
David Pastrnak, moved down to David Krejci’s second line, scored two power-play goals, giving him eight points (four goals) in the last three contests as the Bruins ended a two-game losing streak and handed the Sharks a second straight loss on their four-game road trip.
“We came a little more energized and we wanted to get the win for Butch,” Pastrnak said of Cassidy, the former Providence Bruins coach who was in his first season as a Boston assistant.
Said Cassidy, the one-time coach of the Washington Capitals: “It’s been a busy two or three days. I’ll tell you this: I’m going to sleep well tonight. … But yeah, who doesn’t enjoy a win?
San Jose (33-18-4), the first-place team in the Pacific Division, fell to 0-1-2 in its last three games.
Tim Schaller also scored for Boston (27-23-6) as the Bruins evened their home record at 13-13-0. The win came in the first of three home games in four days that could be important in their quest to end a two-year playoff absence.
“Let’s not get ahead of ourselves, it’s one game,” said Bruins defenseman Torey Krug, who set up the first goal.
“I liked that we got pucks to the dirty area. I liked our resiliency when we got scored on. I liked we had urgency in this building,” said Cassidy, who has been labeled as a candidate to get the job. “I like that we re-established some urgency in this building.”
Joe Thornton, Justin Braun and Timo Meier scored for the Sharks against Tuukka Rask, who made 23 saves and ended a personal three-game losing streak against San Jose (after three straight wins). Thornton moved past Mike Modano into 23rd place on the NHL’s all-time scoring list with his fourth goal of the year but first that wasn’t into an empty net.
The Bruins chased Martin Jones in a three-goal first period and Aaron Dell relieved and allowed two goals in two periods.
“We’re a confident group, we know we can win hockey games,” Jones said. “They might just made a couple of plays today, and we just weren’t real sharp.”
The Bruins scored on the first shot when Backes hammered home a pass from behind the net from Krug, who was in deep.
San Jose quickly answered, but Bergeron off a scramble and Pastrnak on the power play scored 1:39 apart before the end of the period. The Bruins registered a power-play goal for the sixth straight game and their two power-play goals gave them six in their last three games (10 attempts).
Patrick Marleau, who got an assist on the second San Jose goal, has an eight-game point streak and Bergeron has a six-gamer. Braun’s goal gave him 100 career points.
NOTES: Bruins D/captain Zdeno Chara hopes to return for Saturday’s home game against the Vancouver Canucks. … Sharks RW Joonas Donskoi missed his 10th game in the last 13 with an upper-body injury and won’t join the team for this weekend’s road games at Philadelphia and New Jersey. …. Bruins president Cam Neely, appearing on the team’s radio flagship, said among other things that C David Backes and C David Krejci have not met his expectations. … San Jose D Brent Burns came in with 22 goals, more than the totals of 13 other teams’ defense corps. … The Bruins hoped to postpone the game, but the NHL said no. A shift to Friday would have meant games on three straight days for both teams and there were no other feasible dates. Boston offered tickets to future regular-season games for fans who couldn’t attend.