The Boston Bruins will begin the post-Claude Julien era on home ice Thursday night when they host the San Jose Sharks as -130 betting favorites at sportsbooks monitored by OddsShark.com.
Julien’s tenure behind the Boston bench ended earlier this week when he was fired by the club and replaced by Bruce Cassidy, who takes over the reins as interim coach for Thursday night’s Sharks vs. Bruins betting matchup at TD Garden.
Hired by the Bruins in June 2007, Julien was the longest-tenured coach in the NHL, leading the club to a franchise-record 419 wins and a Stanley Cup championship in 2011.
However, the Bruins have failed to reach the postseason in each of the past two seasons, and currently sit one point out of a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after picking up wins in just three of their past nine contests.
Cassidy previously enjoyed a brief stint as the Washington Capitals’ bench boss, leading the club to 39 wins and a second-place finish in the old Southeast Division in 2002-03, but was quickly fired after Washington won just eight of its first 25 games the following season.
The interim coaching tag leaves Cassidy’s future in limbo beyond this season, but the 20-year coaching veteran has emerged as a +160 favorite to become the next full-time head coach of the Bruins. He’s followed by former Florida Panthers coach Gerard Gallant at +200, with veteran Ken Hitchcock and current Providence College coach Nate Leaman both at +400.
Cassidy’s audition for the full-time job begins with the daunting task of turning around a Bruins squad that has posted just five victories in its past 13 home contests, according to the OddsShark NHL Database.
The Bruins have surrendered 36 total goals over their past nine games, and 11 total markers in their two recent defeats, including last Saturday’s 6-5 loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs as -162 home favorites.
The Sharks arrive in Boston perched atop the Pacific Division with 70 points, four up on the Anaheim Ducks, but have dropped two straight, including Tuesday’s 5-4 overtime loss to the Buffalo Sabres as -150 road favorites.
However, the Sharks have taken three straight from the Bruins, and six of their last nine, including a 5-4 victory in their last visit to TD Garden in November 2015.
The Bruins then keep busy with home dates against Vancouver on Saturday and Montreal on Sunday. Boston has come up short in five of its last seven meetings with the Canucks, including three home defeats, and is winless in six home tilts with the rival Canadiens.
Thumbnail photo via Bob DeChiara/USA TODAY Sports Images
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