The Bruce Cassidy era begins Thursday night when the Boston Bruins host the San Jose Sharks at TD Garden.
Cassidy has taken over on an interim basis for Claude Julien, who was fired Tuesday after a decade-long tenure with the team that included a Stanley Cup title in 2010-11. Cassidy is tasked with improving a Bruins squad hoping to make the playoffs for the first time in three seasons.
This is an important stretch for the Bruins. They haven’t played well at home this season, but they will play their next three games in Boston before heading on the road for four difficult games in California and Dallas.
The Sharks won the Western Conference last season and lead the Pacific Division entering Thursday. The Bruins, meanwhile, have lost back-to-back games and have just four wins in their last 10 matchups. They start Thursday out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference as a result.
Here are the projected lines and pairings for both teams.
BOSTON BRUINS (26-23-6)
Brad Marchand–Patrice Bergeron–David Backes
Matt Beleskey–David Krejci–David Pastrnak
Frank Vatrano–Ryan Spooner–Jimmy Hayes
Tim Schaller–Dominic Moore–Riley Nash
Zdeno Chara–Brandon Carlo
Torey Krug–Adam McQuaid
Kevan Miller–Colin Miller
SAN JOSE SHARKS (33-17-4)
Tomas Hertl–Joe Thornton–Joe Pavelski
Patrick Marleau–Logan Couture–Mikkel Boedker
Timo Meier–Chris Tierney–Joel Ward
Ryan Carpenter–Michael Haley–Melker Karlsson
Paul Martin–Brent Burns
Marc-Edouard Vlasic–Justin Braun
Brenden Dillon–David Schlemko
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images