Motivation shouldn’t be a problem tonight in snowy Boston, where the Bruins will have a new coach and the Sharks will try to shake off Tuesday’s blown lead in Buffalo.
It will be the first game for the B’s under interim coach Bruce Cassidy, after Claude Julien was fired Tuesday.
Julien was the longest-tenured head coach in the league before his dismissal. The Bruins haven’t played for anyone else since 2006-07 when Dave Lewis was behind the bench.
“There’s always a big jump in energy when a new guy goes in and that’s probably the biggest thing we’re preparing for,” said San Jose coach Pete DeBoer, per The Mercury News.
It remains to be seen if the Bruins will have Zdeno Chara in their lineup tonight. The 39-year-old defenseman has been “under the weather” and did not attend practice Tuesday or Wednesday. He’ll be a game-time decision, according to Cassidy.
The B’s are only one point out of a wild-card spot, and only two points back of third place in the Atlantic Division. That being said, they only play three games between now and Feb. 19, meaning the deficit could grow a lot bigger over the next two weeks, especially if the losing continues.
Veteran winger David Backes called the coaching change a “wake-up call.”
“It’s that message that whatever is going and whatever we’ve been doing to this point just isn’t good enough,” said Backes, per CSN New England. “If there’s not enough incentive to earn your job every day and keep your job every day then the message has been sent that we need to do more, have better efforts from everybody and better results.
“It certainly hit me square in the forehead, and there are a lot of guys in here with the same kind of mentality. We can’t change the past, but we can change the future, prepare better and play better. That’s our focus at the moment.”
The Sharks, meanwhile, will try to bounce back after blowing a 4-1 lead two days ago, when they fell 5-4 in overtime to the Sabres.
The Sharks appeared to have the game in hand when Pavelski one-timed in Burns’ pass on a power play to make it 4-1 at 6:07 of the third period.
“It’s just one of those games that for them to come back, everything worked out just perfect,” Pavelski said. “Doesn’t matter how perfect it works, though. You can’t give up that kind of lead.”
San Jose had a four-game road winning streak snapped and dropped to 22-2-2 when leading after two periods.
It was the Sharks’ second loss in a row, after dropping a 3-2 shootout decision to Arizona on Saturday.