On Tuesday night, the Vegas Golden Knights routed the Florida Panthers 9-3 in game five of the Stanley Cup Final, securing the franchise’s first title in their sixth season in the league. Former Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy and two former players were on the team that got it done.
Cassidy led the Golden Knights to NHL immortality in his first season behind the bench after the Bruins brass fired him following their first round loss to the Carolina Hurricanes. He guided the team to a 51-22-9 record, giving them 111 points and the top seed in the Western Conference.
In the playoffs, they dispatched the Winnipeg Jets in five games in round one, the Oilers in six in round two, and the Dallas Stars in six in the conference finals. They continued to be a machine in the Stanley Cup Final, running the Panthers out of the building in five games, going 16-6 in their run to the cup.
After taking over for Claude Julien in Boston, Cassidy compiled a 245-108-46 record behind the Boston bench, helping the team to win the President’s Trophy in the 2019-2020 season that stopped dead in its tracks in March of 2020.
He also led them to the Stanley Cup Final in 2018-2019, where they lost in seven games to the St. Louis Blues. No matter how you slice it or how you feel about his tenure in Boston ending, Cassidy was the right coach at the right time for the Bruins when he took the reigns.
It wasn’t just Cassidy on the list of Bruins connections. Forward Reilly Smith spent two seasons in a Bruins uniform, playing in 82 games in 2013-2014 and 81 games in 2014-2015 after coming over from the Stars along with Loui Eriksson as part of the Tyler Seguin trade.
During Smith’s tenure with the Bruins, he potted 33 goals and 58 assists, averaging 15:03 of ice time in 163 games before being dealt to the Panthers along with Marc Savard’s contract for the late Jimmy Hayes.
This past season, Smith scored 26 goals and had 30 assists for the Golden Knights, playing in 78 games in his sixth season with the team. He was one of the original members of the team after being traded to Vegas in the expansion draft.
In the playoffs, Smith was a depth contributor for the Golden Knights. He played all 22 games, scoring four goals and adding ten assists, with a +9 rating over an average of 16:46 of ice time per game.
Another former Bruin that just won the cup was none other than Phil Kessel. The 35 year old started his NHL career with the Bruins, playing three seasons with the team before being dealt to the Toronto Maple Leafs in exchange for three draft picks, which became Jared Knight, Tyler Seguin, and Dougie Hamilton.
Kessel scored 66 goals and had 60 assists in a Bruins uniform, debuting in 2006-2007 and being traded following the 2008-2009 season. He suited up for 222 games in the Black and Gold and played all 82 regular season games for the Golden Knights this season.
In his only season with the Golden Knights, Kessel scored 14 goals with 22 assists and had a -7 rating in the 82 games he played in the regular season. He was mostly a healthy scratch for the playoff run, but did get in four games, scoring no goals but had two assists. This marks the third time Kessel has won the Stanley Cup after winning it in back-to-back years with the Pittsburgh Penguins.
Congratulations to Cassidy, Smith, and Kessel on winning the Stanley Cup with Vegas, and may you have good luck in the future as well!