Bruins chase Jones from Sharks net with first-period scoring outburst

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Well, that was quite a first period for the beleaguered Boston Bruins.

Playing for the first time in the post-Claude Julien era, the Bruins jumped out to a 3-1 lead on the San Jose Sharks after the opening period of Thursday’s game.

The scoring outburst chased Martin Jones from the Sharks net. He allowed three goals on 12 shots. Aaron Dell entered the game for San Jose to begin the second period.

Related: Pre-game reading: On the future of Claude Julien, who may be a fit for Vegas

Bruins-Sharks game still on, despite severe weather in Boston

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A storm that’s expected to drop between 12-18 inches of snow in the Boston area won’t postpone tonight’s Bruins-Sharks game, the B’s announced this afternoon.

More, from the club:

The Boston Bruins are aware of the severe weather in Boston and the surrounding New England region, and how it impacts fans planning on attending tonight’s game. Considering the circumstances, the Bruins organization asked the NHL to postpone tonight’s game and reschedule for a later date this season.

The NHL indicated that the remaining schedules for both teams, as well as TD Garden availability, does not allow for this game to be rescheduled. As such, the Bruins and Sharks were directed to play tonight’s game as originally scheduled.

Recognizing the impact and hardship this has on fans who were hoping to attend the game, the Bruins will be offering every fan who had tickets for tonight’s game the opportunity to exchange their tickets for a future regular season Bruins game between now and December 31, 2017.

There is a blizzard warning in effect for Eastern Massachusetts, with winds estimated to reach as high as 50 miles per hour.

Last January, a trio of games scheduled for Washington (x2) and Brooklyn were postponed due to heavy snowfall. The NHL was able to reschedule all three.

This season, only one game has been postponed — a Dec. 19 tilt in Carolina between the ‘Canes and Red Wings. A mechanical failure made the PNC Areana ice unplayable, forcing the league to move the game to Mar. 27 (resulting in a rare three-games-in-three-nights stretch for Detroit).

Sharks expecting an energetic Bruins team tonight

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.

Read more: Julien gives thanks for ’10 unforgettable years in Boston’

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.

From the Associated Press’s game recap:

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.

Sweeney: Bruins’ core deserves chance to ‘win now’

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The Buffalo Sabres were going nowhere. They could afford to tear it down and endure the “suffering.”

The Toronto Maple Leafs were a disaster. The only way out was some “pain.”

But the Boston Bruins are a different, more complicated story. They may have missed the playoffs the past two seasons, and they may well miss them again in 2017. But they also have Patrice Bergeron, Brad Marchand, David Pastrnak, David Krejci and Tuukka Rask under club control for years to come — and they’re not about to tear that down.

“I’m not going to be shortsighted,” GM Don Sweeney assured reporters Tuesday after firing head coach Claude Julien. “I’m going to stick to the longer-term view.”

But at the same time, Sweeney believes his core players deserve “a chance to win now” — which is why he brought in a veteran like David Backes on July 1.

“Our core players are too good to not have that plan in place, in the short term and longer term,” he said.

So, it’s a balancing act, the present with the future. This past summer, Sweeney wasn’t willing to trade Pastrnak for defensive help, and Bruins fans are probably glad he didn’t.

Still, the Bruins need to improve their defense. Zdeno Chara is 39 years old. And while Brandon Carlo has been a pleasant surprise at only 20, there’s no telling when the likes of Charles McAvoy, Jakub Zboril, and Jeremy Lauzon will be NHL-ready.

In other words, don’t expect the Kevin Shattenkirk speculation to go away. The 28-year-old is a pending unrestricted free agent. If he’s available this summer, the Bruins will surely be interested. They might even have interest before the trade deadline, as long as the price isn’t too steep, and as long as they know they can re-sign him.

Read more: Bruins management failed to improve roster as planned

For now, though, the focus will be on making the playoffs under interim coach Bruce Cassidy. The Bruins host San Jose Thursday, Vancouver Saturday, and Montreal Sunday. Then they get their bye week, before heading off to California for a tough road trip.

“These decisions are not easy, and Don has my full support,” said Bruins president Cam Neely in a statement. “I believe that we have a better team than our results to date show. I also recognize that there are areas that we as a group need to improve upon.”

That last part was Neely’s way of saying it wasn’t all on the coach. And to be sure, now that Julien has been fired, the focus will turn far more to management and what can be done to improve the roster.

Sweeney said he’s sticking to the plan.

The only hard part will be executing it.

Related: Sweeney defends timing of Julien firing

Bruins fire head coach Claude Julien

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Claude Julien has seemingly been on the hot seat for years, but he’s always managed to keep his job. Well, that changed on Tuesday morning, as the team announced that Julien had been relieved of his coaching duties.

Assistant coach Bruce Cassidy, who is in his first year with the Bruins, has been named interim head coach.

Julien was the longest tenured coach in the NHL before his firing. He had been behind Boston’s bench since 2007. During his time in Boston, he led the team to a 419-246-94 record and he leaves the organization as their all-time leader in wins.

Under his watch, they made the playoffs in seven of nine years, including two trips to the Stanley Cup Final (they hoisted the cup in 2011 and lost in 2013). His 57 postseason victories are also a franchise record.

Unfortunately for the former Jack Adams Trophy winner, the only two times he missed the postseason with the Bruins came in the last two years, and if the season ended today, they’d be on the outside looking in again.

Despite being the top possession team in the league, the Bruins haven’t managed to win with much regularity.

The Boston Globe’s Fluto Shinzawa believes there are four reasons behind this decision. Here’s an excerpt from that story:

The decision is about four things. First, the Bruins hope it will provide a short-term jolt to their sleepwalking players. Second, it is a business decision, signaling to a dissatisfied customer base that the current state of play is unacceptable. Third, it gives Cassidy, always intended to be Julien’s successor, a running start to 2017-18. 

Fourth, and most critical, it is management’s only play. The trade market is frozen. The next wave of prospects won’t arrive until next year. A streak of questionable decisions has locked them into their roster. Firing Julien is the last card Neely and Sweeney had left.

According to ESPN’s Pierre LeBrun, Julien’s contract runs through the 2017-18 season. He was earning $2.5 million this year and he’ll get $3 million next year.

Cassidy’s debut as head coach will have to wait a few more days. The Bruins haven’t played since Saturday’s wacky 6-5 loss to the Maple Leafs, and they won’t play their next game until Thursday. Starting that day, they’ll play three home games in four nights before taking off their break.

The bye week will allow Cassidy and the remaining staff to assemble a game plan for the way they want to approach the last stretch of the season.

As was mentioned above, Cassidy is in first year with the Bruins, but he isn’t completely new to the organization. He spent the last five years as the head coach of the Bruins’ AHL affiliate in Providence. Before becoming the head coach there, he served as the team’s assistant for three years.

This will be his second stint behind the bench of an NHL team, as he also coached the Washington Capitals from 2002 to 2004. Cassidy helped lead them to the playoffs in his first year, but he was fired in year two after the team got off to an 8-16-1 start.

Bruins GM Don Sweeney will hold a news conference at 11:30 a.m. ET.