So far this season, whenever the Boston Bruins visit an opposing teams arena for a game of hockey, they bring with them a sense of confidence, a feeling that they’re going to march right into enemy territory and leave with two points. They have the record to back that up as well, opening the season with five straight road wins, and currently have an away record of 6-2-0. If the season was based on those statistics alone, the Bruins would be in a great position at this stage. Unfortunately for them, it isn’t. For a team with a great road record, you’d at least expect them to defend their home ice, but at TD Garden, home of the Bruins, it’s been a completely different story.
For opposing teams, coming into Boston used to be one of the toughest places to visit and leave with a win. For several years TD Garden has been a fortress and the Big Bad Bruins would protect it at all costs. To back that up, over the past five seasons, at home, the Bruins have accumulated a regular season record of 113-66-22 at TD Garden. That right there is Stanley Cup winning form. However, this season the B’s have struggled immensely at home, and their 2015-16 record on home-ice is a shocking 1-5-1. The Colorado Avalanche added to that with a comeback 3-2 win over the Bruins last night, heaping more misery on Boston.
It all started so well for the Bruins, like many match-ups this year they came out of the gates flying with a fast paced, aggressive style of game. They had the Avs pinned back from the outset. Scoring two quick 1st period goals. B’s captain Zdeno Chara netted the first just 1:12 into the 1st with a half slap-shot from the point that beat an already down and out Reto Berra. The Bruins were then gifted a power-play, where centre Ryan Spooner scored his 4th goal of the year after former Bruin Carl Soderberg turned the puck over after failing to clear the zone. Spooner took advantage of the mistake and buried the second with 5:51 gone in the opening period. The first six minutes saw Boston dominate. But that was the only time they did.
Soderberg quickly made up for his mistake by pulling one back mid-way through the 1st, after winger Blake Comeau’s drive behind the net drew three Bruins players, enabling him to deliver a perfect cross-ice pass to Soderberg who placed one past Tuukka Rask with ease. It seemed as if the 1st period was going to finish up 2-1, but with just 30 seconds left in the 1st, Francios Beauchemin’s wrist shot from the point took a funny bounce and lobbed Rask, tying the game at 2-2 and filling Colorado with an abundance of confidence. The way that goal ended up in the net, it was never going to be the Bruins’ night.
As soon as that tying goal went in and the 2nd period began, you could clearly see that the Avs found their feet and started to heap the pressure on the mistake prone Bruins defense. With players like Matt Duchene and Nathan MacKinnon, the Avalanche are known as one of the best skating teams in the NHL, and as the game progressed they certainly started to prove it. Using hustle, speed and power, they were able to beat the Bruins to every loose puck, winning all the one on one battles, and eventual notching the winning goal with 6:49 gone in the 3rd. It was Duchene with the game winner, as Bruins D-man Kevan Miller stubbled and lost the puck to Mikhail Grigorenko who’s cross-ice feed set Duchene up for his 3rd goal in just two games.
Apart from the first six minutes of the game, this was another lacklustre performance from the Bruins, who have struggled to keep leads this season. It almost looked as if they were coming of the second game of a back-to-back. Unfortunately, they couldn’t use that excuse. They simply didn’t play a great game of hockey, and that led to another home loss, their 6th this year. Even with the crowd behind them, the Bruins still can’t seem to play consistent hockey at home.
Could it be the pressure? The Boston faithful still expect big things from their team despite the league’s expectation of them being a lot lower this season. There’s a lot of young players on the roster, and it could be a possibility that the fans boos and jeers could get inside the heads of certain players, and end up having a negative effect on their on-ice performances. Credit, the Bruins have faced tougher opponents at home, but that shouldn’t matter when you have your home crowd behind you. That should be enough to rally you to a better performance.
Last nights game was the start of the Boston Bruins’ longest home-ice stretch of the season, where they play five straight at TD Garden. This is the perfect opportunity to gain some momentum at home in front of the faithful, because without the consistency of winning on your own ice, the playoffs with continue to remain a distant memory.