Boston Bruins: Stanley Cup Final home-ice disadvantage

BOSTON - JUNE 11: Boston Bruins' David Krejci kneels on the ice at the center of the Bruins logo as he is surrounded by teammates during a practice in preparation for Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden in Boston on June 11, 2019. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images)
BOSTON - JUNE 11: Boston Bruins' David Krejci kneels on the ice at the center of the Bruins logo as he is surrounded by teammates during a practice in preparation for Game 7 of the 2019 Stanley Cup Finals against the St. Louis Blues at TD Garden in Boston on June 11, 2019. (Photo by John Tlumacki/The Boston Globe via Getty Images) /
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The Boston Bruins will face the ultimate challenge in a few hours. It’s that special moment, the NHL season finale – Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final. It doesn’t get any bigger and better than that.

It’s all nice for the Boston Bruins after they survived the elimination threat in St. Louis to force Game 7 at home ice. But so far in the Stanley Cup Final and in the playoffs in general, the home ice has been rather a disadvantage for the Bruins. Why is it like that and how to change it?

Playing and eventually winning Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final is always a memorable experience, especially at home. The Colorado Avalanche (2001), the New Jersey Devils (2003), the Tampa Bay Lightning (2004) and the Carolina Hurricanes (2006) could tell you. But it has been 13 years already since a home team won Game 7 of the Stanley Cup Final.

Good time to change it? Definitely. But for the Bruins right now, it’s all but the Stanley Cup. It’s just another game and the Bruins have to win it. The players and the Head Coach Bruce Cassidy talked about it yesterday. The biggest emphasis is not on how to win the Stanley Cup, but how to win a game. It’s as simple as that.

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The Boston Bruins are 8-3 on the road and 7-5 on home ice in the playoffs. In the past seasons, every team winning the Stanley Cup had the positive home record in the Cup Final. The last team not having a winning record at home during the Stanley Cup Final to win the Cup was the Tampa Bay Lightning in 2004.

Following 15 years, this fate will be repeated. The Bruins can achieve a 2-2 home record and the St. Louis Blues are stuck at a 1-2 home record. The Bruins in 2011 went 3-0 at home in the Cup Final and won the Stanley Cup. But this 2019’s Stanley Cup Final has been something that we haven’t seen in the past 15 years.

The last team to win the Stanley Cup with a losing home record in the Final was the Montreal Canadiens in 1966. The St. Louis Blues can repeat the feat with a win in Game 7 later tonight in Boston. For the Bruins, there is no such option as a losing record at home and winning the Stanley Cup.

The Bruins and the Blues have disputed six games during the Stanley Cup Final. Boston has won twice on the road, same as St. Louis. There will be one final to settle all this down and decide their fate.

In three games played at TD Garden, the Bruins had 100 shots on goal, 13 power plays and just seven goals scored. They are 2-for-13 on the man-advantage. On the other note, the Blues have not scored a power-play tally on the road yet, but have scored seven goals.

In three games played at Enterprise Center in St. Louis, the Bruins had 79 shots on goal, 10 power plays and scored 14 goals. The Blues had seven goals scored and one power-play goal included.

Defensively and in terms of the goaltending, the Bruins have played the same way on home ice as on the road. In both buildings, they gave up seven goals per arena. The problem for them has been their offensive efficiency. Having 21 shots on goal less and three fewer power-play chances and yet coming up with seven more goals than at TD Garden. That’s pretty mindblowing.

Why have the Bruins been able to be so productive on the road and not as much on home ice? On the road, with just three losses in 11 playoff road games, the Boston Bruins have always shown much-needed resiliency, urgency, and simplicity. Playing it simple, just as Brandon Carlo‘s game-winner on Sunday in Game 6.

At TD Garden, at times, the Bruins have been killing themselves with being way too fancy and have caught themselves over-passing the puck on many occasions. Game 7 has to be played like it’s a road game. Because otherwise, the Bruins chances are limited. Defensively, the Bruins have been equally steady in all six games of the Stanley Cup Final and the playoffs in general.

Ever since Game 5 of the first round against the Toronto Maple Leafs, the Bruins have given up three goals in regulation just twice – Game 5 against Columbus and Game 4 against St. Louis just nine days ago.

The offense is the issue for the Bruins. Based on the past 19 games, if they score three goals in regulation, they have 89.47% chance of winning it. If the Bruins score just twice, they have the same percentage of chance of at least not losing the game in regulation. If the Bruins score four times, they have a 100% chance of winning the game. Based on the Final, if the Bruins score three times, they have the 83.3% chance of winning it in regulation.

The biggest emphasis has to be on playing simply for the Boston Bruins. Not to get too ahead in ideas and eventually derail this plan by giving up a ton of goals. Obviously, everybody has to bring his best game tonight.

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What’s easier than winning a game in a simple way? And what’s simpler than winning the Stanley Cup with winning one single game?