The Boston Bruins have been downright terrible at TD Garden and this is not a new problem.
It’s been two years of this for the Bruins and it continued last night as they dropped their fifth game in the past six. This time it was the Anaheim Ducks who bested them by a score of 4-3 on home ice.
The four games prior to the one last night summed up not just this season but last season as well; in two straight games at TD Garden, the Bruins got beat by the last-place Colorado Avalanche 4-2 as well as getting smoked by the 11-11 “Don’t make a wish on them”-Toronto Maple Leafs 4-1 (they’re 14th in the East, by the way).
In the next game, at Bell Centre, the Bruins pulled off a 2-1 win in overtime against the third place rival Montreal Canadiens. They then traveled to Pittsburgh to play the red-hot Penguins and battled extremely hard but eventually lost 4-3 in overtime.
They can beat one of the best teams in hockey in the hardest place to play in, yet they can’t beat the worst team in hockey in their own building. That’s become commonplace for the Bruins.
In the Eastern Conference, the Bruins rank 8th overall which would mean that if the playoffs started today, they’d just be able to shimmy in. Their record is a solid 16-13-3 which amounts to a respectable 35 points. Even though Tuukka Rask is pretty much responsible for all 35 of those points, it’s still pretty good.
However when it comes to their home record, the Bruins rank 13th in the East at 7-8. They are tied for second-most home losses in the league. Last year, the Bruins finished the season with a home record of 17-18-6 — almost identical to the record they currently have. 17-18-6 was good for 14th in the East in that category.
On the other hand, the Bruins’ record on the road this year is good for 2nd in the East at 9-5-3. Last year’s record on the road: 25-13-3 — also good enough for 2nd in the East.
What should put a scare in Bruins fans is that the B’s didn’t make the playoffs last year and the home v. away stat last year is identical to the one they have this year. Though they’ve only played 32 of 82 games thus far, the sample size is still accurate enough to be taken into consideration.
Also, every team who made the playoffs from the East last year was also in the top-8 in home records, too.
There is no stat for why the Bruins perform so terribly on home ice. Some have looked at them possibly trying to put on a show for the home crowd and that’s when I counter with “Don’t you think that after almost two years of this, someone in the organization would notice this, point it out, and put a stop to it?”. Are the Bruins intimidated by their own fans and the expectations put upon them? B’s fans have never been slow to openly criticize players and ownership so that could very well be a viable option. The Bruins should be blocking out the noise but that doesn’t mean that they aren’t.
Coach Claude Julien needs to simply sit his players down and show them last year’s overall record next to their one at home. He must slam home the fact that if they had one more win at TD Garden last year, they would’ve made the playoffs; if their home record was much more improved, they would’ve been one of the best teams in hockey.
He needs to plant this in his players’ heads now so come April, we aren’t looking back at games in December and asking these hypothetical “what if”s.