SAN JOSE - Brad Marchand made it look easy.
After Patrice Bergeron won a faceoff in the defensive zone during 3-on-3 overtime, Torey Krug flipped the puck up through center ice to Marchand, who had a straightaway towards Sharks netminder Martin Jones.
Forehand, backhand, five-hole, and the Bruins were flying down to Anaheim from San Jose with two points and a four-game win streak.
"They have a lot of plays, Krug, Bergy, and March," Cassidy smiled of the chemistry among the trip. "So I suspect it was [a set play]. March does like to sneak away when we have good possession, and him and Krug, they have good chemistry, so it worked out well for us."
The win put the Bruins on a four-game win streak, and kept Cassidy undefeated as interim head coach.
"Listen, the guys, they responded to the change," said Cassidy. "Everyone has their own reason why. I'm just glad that they have and recognized that if we want to play until the late spring, then we had to win our share of games, and so far we've been able to do that the last four. As long as the Bruins take care of themselves, all we can do is control our environment."
The Bruins were back in action after six days off without a game because of the bye week, while San Jose was heading on its own bye week after the game.
"I thought, for a team that was off, we started clean for the most part and got sloppier as the game wore on, so I don't know if our legs got heavier and it affected our hands and our brain, but you're playing against a good hockey club that can force some turnovers," Cassidy assessed.
"But we got through it, and certainly had chances to put it away - I thought both goaltenders played well, and we were able to get the winner eventually."
Ryan Spooner gave the Bruins the start that they wanted, when he scored with 8:55 to go in the first period, notching his ninth of the season.
Frank Vatrano sent a feed up to the right point, where Adam McQuaid fired towards the hash marks. Jimmy Hayes handled the puck and spun around, letting a quick shot off towards the goal.
When the shot careened off the end boards, Spooner easily slid the puck around the left post and over the goal line. Hayes picked his 100th NHL point with the assist.
"They've done a nice job since we put them together - they've responded well," Cassidy said of the Spooner line with Hayes and Vatrano that has been together for the past four games. "They want to play, they want to be part of it and we've asked them to play to their strengths offensively, and be responsible defensively, and I think the effort's been there at both ends of the ice."
"It's not always going to be perfect, but even Ryan at the end, won a big face-off in overtime and they made a play off the rush and could have ended it, so try to put them in areas where they're important parts of the game and see if they can handle it, and I think they have so far."
The Bruins had to kill one penalty in the first period, when Zdeno Chara was sent to the box for cross-checking.
With just over five minutes to play in the period, Tuukka Rask shut the door on Tomas Hertl in tight, keeping the Bruins up by a goal, and able to kill off the penalty to Chara.
The Bruins got their first man-advantage midway through the second period, but weren't able to get much towards the net, and the Sharks took over momentum.
Rask pulled out the stops to hold of the Sharks, and then it looked the Bruins might take a 2-0 lead when David Pastrnak and David Krejci sped up ice with a 2-on-1 rush. Pastrnak faked the shot and fed Krejci, but the centerman couldn't finish the move.
Brent Burns rang the post with just over 4:00 to go in the middle frame, but it was only a matter of time.
During 4-on-4 action towards the end of the period, Patrick Marleau had a wide open net from the left circle and fired in the easy tally to make it a 1-1 game with 2:23 on the clock. The Bruins ended up being outshot 16-9 in the frame.
After a 4-0 shutout of Montreal before the bye week, Rask's shutout streak ended at 100:14.
Thanks to Marchand's winner, Rask was rewarded for his strong effort between the pipes.
The Bruins have two days off from game action on Monday and Tuesday, before facing the Ducks in Anaheim on Wednesday and the Kings in Los Angeles on Thursday night. They'll cap off their four-game road trip in Dallas on Sunday.
"It's always good to get the first one, because you can snowball from there," said Cassidy. "Coming off the break, we do get two days before we play Anaheim, and we catch them a bit, it will be their third in four days."
"So the schedule - earlier in the year, we seemed to take some of those hits in terms of being the fatigued hockey club - and now maybe we're getting the good end of it," Cassidy said. "So, good for the guys, we'll enjoy a couple of days and get back to work on Wednesday."