Bruins top Sharks in Bruce Cassidy's debut, 6-3
BOSTON (AP) David Pastrnak made sure Bruce Cassidy's Boston coaching career got off to a winning start.
Pastrnak scored a pair of power-play goals to help the Bruins beat the San Jose Sharks 6-3 in Cassidy's first game behind the bench Thursday night.
''We came a little more energized and we wanted to get the win for Butch,'' Pastrnak said.
Cassidy was named interim coach after the team fired Claude Julien after 10 seasons Tuesday. Cassidy joined the team as an assistant last May after spending five seasons coaching Providence in the AHL.
''It's been a busy two or three days,'' Cassidy said. ''I'll tell you this: I'm going to sleep well tonight. ... But yeah, who doesn't enjoy a win?''
Cassidy, a 51-year-old Ottawa native, also coached the Washington Capitals to a 47-45-9-6 mark in two seasons from 2002-04.
But his heart has always been in Boston.
''When I went out to the bench, the first thing I did was look up at the (Stanley Cup) banners,'' Cassidy said. ''I've been a lifelong Boston Bruins fan since I was (little). My first pair of skates were black and gold and I've loved Bobby Orr ever since.''
Patrice Bergeron had a goal and three assists, David Backes added a goal and an assist, and Tim Schaller and Brad Marchand also scored to help Boston end a two-game skid. Tuukka Rask made 23 saves.
Joe Thornton, Justin Braun and Timo Meier scored for San Jose. The Sharks have lost three straight and four of six following a season-high six-game winning streak.
''We're a confident group, we know we can win hockey games,'' goalie Martin Jones said.
Thornton's goal was his fourth of the season and moved him past Mike Modano for 23rd on the NHL's career points list with 1,375.
Jones allowed three first-period goals and had nine saves before Sharks backup Aaron Dell relieved him to start the second. Dell finished with 18 saves as San Jose was outshot 33-26.
''They just made a couple plays today, and we just weren't really sharp,'' Jones said.
Backes scored 52 seconds in, and Bergeron and Pastrnak also had goals in the first period. Thornton ended a 10-game stretch without a goal with his first-period strike to tie it after Backes' goal.
Braun notched his 100th career point with his goal 1:08 into the second to bring the Sharks within one, but Schaller restored the two-goal advantage late in the period. Pastrnak flipped a wrister past a diving Dell with 48.4 seconds left in the third for his second goal.
Meier scored with 2:37 remaining to make it a two-goal game again, but Marchand tossed in an empty-netter with 29.3 ticks left to seal it.
''We re-established some urgency in this building,'' Cassidy said.
San Jose hosts Boston on Feb. 19 to conclude the two-game season set.
NOTES: Julien thanked Bruins fans in a statement Thursday. ''Your devotion, unmistakable passion, energy and support is what makes Boston the best sports city in the entire world,'' Julien wrote. ... Boston D Zdeno Chara (illness) did not have ''enough strength to play,'' Cassidy said. Chara is day-to-day and Cassidy is hopeful he will return Saturday. ... C Ryan Carpenter returned to the San Jose lineup after missing two games as a healthy scratch. ... Sharks RW Joonas Donskoi (upper body) will not join the team for the remaining two games of its road trip, coach Peter DeBoer said. Donskoi last played Jan. 23 at Colorado. ... The Bruins canceled their morning skate due to a snowstorm.
Sharks: Continue a four-game trip at Philadelphia on Saturday.
Bruins: Host Vancouver on Saturday in the second of three home games in four days.