Bruce Cassidy's Golden Knights end Bruins' record home winning streak

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The last time the Bruins had lost at home before Monday, Bruce Cassidy was still their head coach. On Monday night, it was Cassidy’s Golden Knights who came into TD Garden and snapped the Bruins’ season-opening, record-setting 14-game home winning streak.

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It looked like they might do it easily, as they stormed out to a 3-0 lead by the early second period. But the Bruins aren’t in the business of making anything easy for their opponents this season. They came all the way back to force overtime, but ultimately fell in a shootout, with former Bruin Reilly Smith scoring the lone goal in five rounds to give Vegas the 4-3 victory.

“They never quit,” new Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said of his team. “They never stopped believing. They never stopped playing. Down 3-0, we didn’t start on time. We got beat through the middle of the ice too often tonight. That usually doesn’t happen to us. It kind of reminded me of the game in Ottawa, but this time we found a way to get back in the game, get a point. … Unfortunate the streak came to an end, but we all knew it was gonna come to an end at some point.”

Playing without star center Jack Eichel and top defenseman Alex Pietrangelo, the Golden Knights jumped out to a 1-0 lead 1:36 into the game when William Karlsson found Paul Cotter in front for a point-blank finish. Less than four minutes later, they made it 2-0 when Jonathan Marchessault capitalized on a brutal defensive-zone turnover by David Pastrnak.

A few minutes after that, Cassidy got his official welcome back via a tribute video on the Garden jumbotron, followed by a nice ovation from the crowd. It clearly meant a lot to Cassidy, who acknowledged the fans with a wave while appearing to be a little emotional on the Vegas bench.

“That’s something I’ll get choked up about obviously, probably in about three seconds,” Cassidy said after the game. “I appreciate it. It’s that simple. I appreciate it. … You don’t know how it’s gonna be. I don’t know what the reaction’s gonna be. So it was a really nice gesture by the Bruins organization, and I appreciate it. I’ve said it all along: I have a tremendous amount of respect for them, and I’m thankful they did it.”

The Golden Knights struck again less than a minute into the second period when Cotter -- playing on the top line in place of Eichel -- sliced through the Boston defense far too easily and scored his second goal of the game.

The Bruins finally got on the board with 6:14 left in the second when Patrice Bergeron made a great pass to set up Brad Marchand on the doorstep. Then they really made things interesting in the final minute of the second when Pastrnak made up for his earlier turnover by collecting a puck in virtually the same exact spot along the boards before spinning off, skating in and snapping a shot past Logan Thompson.

Just like that, it was a one-goal game heading to the third period. The Bruins kept the pressure on and drew back-to-back penalties to give themselves an extended 5-on-3. They tied the game seconds after the 5-on-3 turned into a 5-on-4 when Taylor Hall took the puck to the front and buried his own rebound.

The Bruins got another power play in overtime with a chance to keep the streak alive, but couldn’t convert before ultimately coming up short in the shootout. Cassidy said after the game that he wasn’t thinking much about ending the Bruins’ streak until it got brought up after the game.

“Now that you brought it up… I’m used to hearing ‘Dirty Water’ at the end of the games, so I’m glad I didn’t hear it tonight,” he said. “No, the streak -- really it’s irrelevant to me. It’s just nice to come in and play well.”

After the game, Bergeron went over to the visitors’ dressing room and had an extended conversation with Cassidy.

“We were just sharing some thoughts on each other and our time together. It means a lot to me,” Cassidy said. “I have a tremendous amount of respect for pretty much every guy in that locker room. They played hard.”

While Monday’s game was a little bit of a snooze fest early on, especially for the Bruins, it felt like a playoff atmosphere by the end. With the Bruins possessing the best record in the whole league and the Golden Knights having the best in the Western Conference, it’s hard not to dream at least a little bit about the possibility of a Boston-Vegas Stanley Cup Final.

“I would like to be here in the spring,” Cassidy said when asked about the possibility. “Wouldn’t that be nice, eh? Two good hockey teams that are trending that way. A lot’s gonna happen between now and then, I’m sure.”

Featured Image Photo Credit: USA TODAY Sports