Bruins, Canucks both battling to get back into playoff chase

Cassidy's bunch had jump all night long against the Sharks, winning puck races and battles, and capitalizing on chances created by their hustle and aggressive forecheck.

Cassidy, who had been coaching the Providence Bruins before joining the Boston staff this season, is the interim coach (and a candidate to stay) and says his goal is for the Bruins to pick up the pace. Patrice Bergeron banged home a weak-side rebound of another Backes shot and assisted on a David Pastrnak shot. The move paid dividends, with the trio collecting a combined nine points on the night.

However, at the 12:09 mark of the first period, Joe Thornton put a wicked wrist shot on net and it beat Boston's Tuuka Rask for his fourth goal of the season to tie the game at 1-1.

For the second time since Cassidy took over, rookie forward Peter Cehlarik practiced on a line with center David Krejci and right winger David Pastrnak.

While Winter Storm Niko was dumping over a foot of snow on MA, the B's dumped six goals on the San Jose Sharks in a 6-3 win inside the TD Garden on Thursday night. "He protects it well, a bigger body", Cassidy said of Cehlarik. "But it's been good to have those couple days of practice and kind of settle down and I'm feeling good right now and I guess I'm going to be ready to play if I have a chance.". "This is something that we brought on ourselves", Bruins leading scorer Brad Marchand said.

Chara, who missed Thursday's game due to an illness, was back at practice on Friday, skating alongside his normal defensive partner, Brandon Carlo.

"We've been matched up against some good teams and those teams were able to exploit (our) mistakes", he said. "A lot of progress from yesterday to today". Work hard and smart, and more nights than not you're going to be successful, especially when you're a team as talented as the Sharks are.

The Canucks (24-24-6, 54 points) come into Boston desperate for a victory to help boost their playoff chances. They are close to the second and third spots in the Atlantic Division, but both Toronto and Ottawa have significant games in hand - and are just six points ahead of last place in the conference.

Bill Belichick might not take kindly to this, after the Bruins fired his friend and coaching comrade Claude Julien this week, but the B's are co-opting the Patriots' "One More" rallying cry nonetheless. Erikkson, who scored 30 goals for the Bruins last season, signed a six-year contract with Vancouver during the offseason.

The 36-year-old Miller is 8-4-2 with a.936 save percentage since Christmas. Defensively, the Vancouver Canucks are allowing 2.8 goals per game and are killing 79 percent of their opponents power plays. Pastrnak has posted two or more points in all but one of those games.

The Bruins will end their four-game homestand with back-to-back games this weekend, starting with a Saturday matinee tilt with the Vancouver Canucks. Bruins players will use pride tape on their sticks during warmups and those sticks will later be auctioned off with the proceeds benefitting the You Can Play Project.

The Bruins scored twice on 15 shots against backup Aaron Dell in the second period to lead 5-2.

With 2:17 left in the second period, Chris Tierney picked up another penalty for the Sharks.

  • Carolyn Briggs