The Boston Bruins had their team record-tying 14-game home winning streak snapped by the Vegas Golden Knights with a 4-3 shootout loss on Monday night. What made the win sweeter for the Golden Knights was the fact that head coach Bruce Cassidy was fired by the Bruins just months before.
Cassidy spent six seasons as the head coach of the Bruins, and he took them to the postseason every year, including a run to the Stanley Cup Final in 2019. Despite Cassidy's overall record of 245-108-46, the Bruins fired him following last year's first-round playoff exit against the Carolina Hurricanes.
Cassidy was quickly hired by the Golden Knights, and he made his return to Boston on Monday night with the chance to hand the Bruins their first home loss of the season.
Clearly energized by the opportunity in front of them, the Golden Knights came out firing in the first period. Just 96 seconds into the game, Paul Cotter gave Vegas a 1-0 lead off a brilliant feed from William Karlsson.
Cotter would score his second goal of the game under one minute into the second period to give Vegas a 3-0 lead, but the Bruins weren't about to roll over and watch their home winning streak fizzle out quietly.
Brad Marchand got the Bruins on the board in the second period by tapping in a beautiful backdoor pass from Patrice Bergeron. That gave Boston a pulse, but David Pastrnak brought TD Garden back to life with a jaw-dropping spin-o-rama play in the dying seconds of the second period.
In the third period, Taylor Hall drove to the net on a power play and punched home his own rebound to tie the game at 3-3.
At that point, the Bruins had all the momentum, and it seemed like it would be yet another thrilling win on home ice. However, the Golden Knights managed to regain their composure and shut Boston down for the rest of regulation and overtime.
In his postgame press conference, Cotter made it clear that the Golden Knights wanted to win this game for Cassidy in his return to Boston.
"That was very important, especially for Bruce," Cotter said. "He wanted that one bad, as you can tell. It was great to get that win. Obviously the extra point versus Boston, I think they're No. 1, is huge. Big statement win for us, and it's gonna be a good mood on the ride home, which is good for us. Good ending to a road trip."
Cassidy even admitted that he and Jack Eichel, a Massachusetts native, put some money up for grabs to give Vegas a little extra motivation. Cassidy wound up losing that money, but he didn't mind at all.
"They were happy," Cassidy said of the Golden Knights locker room. "They got a little money from me, so the Cassidy college fund went down a little bit. I'll gladly pay it. It'll be my turn here or Jack's, right? Jack didn't play, and he was still kind enough to put a little money on the board.
"It's a good group, a lot like the room in Boston. Great leadership guys. Mix of young and old. Our team plays hard every night. It's not perfect, but we're working on that. It's a great group."