The Boston Bruins went on a team-record 14 home-win streak to end the Vegas Golden Knights 4-3 in the shootout on Monday night. What made the Golden Knights win all the sweeter was the fact that just months earlier, the Bruins had fired head coach Bruce Cassidy.
Cassidy spent six seasons as head coach of the Bruins and led them to the playoffs every year, including reaching the Stanley Cup Finals in 2019. Despite Cassidy’s overall record of 245–108–46, the Bruins fired him after making the year’s first round playoff against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Cassidy was quickly hired by the Golden Knights and returned to Boston on Monday night with the chance to inflict the Bruins’ first home loss of the season.
Clearly encouraged by the opportunity before them, the Golden Knights scored in the first period. Just 96 seconds into the game, Paul Kotter gave Vegas a 1-0 lead thanks to a brilliant serve from William Karlsson.
Less than four minutes later, Jonathan Marchessault took the Bruins’ pass and hit the net behind Jeremy Swainman.
Kotter would score his second goal of the game in less than one minute in the second period to give Vegas a 3-0 lead, but the Bruins weren’t about to turn around and watch their home winning streak fizzle out quietly.
Brad Marchand put the Bruins on the scoreboard in the second period with a beautiful backdoor pass from Patrice Bergeron. That gave Boston a boost, but David Pastrnak brought the TD Garden back to life with an amazing spin-o-frame play in the closing seconds of the second period.
In the third period, Taylor Hall hit the net on the powerplay and hit his rebound to tie the game at 3-3.
The Bruins had all the momentum at that point, and it looked like it was going to be another exciting win on home ice. However, the Golden Knights managed to regain their composure and shut Boston down for the remainder of regular time and overtime.
In the penalty shootout, Vegas goaltender Logan Thompson scored and Reilly Smith scored to give the Bruins their first home defeat of the 2022–23 season.
In his post-game press conference, Kotter made it clear that the Golden Knights wanted to win that game for Cassidy upon his return to Boston.
“It was very important, especially for Bruce,” Kotter said. “He really wanted it, as you can tell. It was great to get this win. Obviously the extra point against Boston, I think they are No. 1, is huge. A big win for us and it will be a good mood on the way home, which is good for us. A good ending to the journey.”
Cassidy even admitted that he and Jack Achel, a Massachusetts native, invested some money to give Vegas extra motivation. Cassidy lost this money, but it did not bother him at all.
“They were happy,” Cassidy said of the Golden Knights dressing room. “They got some money from me, so the Cassidy College fund went down a bit. I will gladly pay. It will be my turn here or Jack’s, right? Jack didn’t play and he was still kind.” enough to put some money on the board.
“It’s a good band, very similar to a room in Boston. Great guys leading the way. Mix of young and old. Our team plays every night. It’s not perfect, but we’re working on it. It’s a great band.”