Despite what many “experts” predicted, the post-lockout NHL has not seen a dip in attendance this season. Packed houses, loud fans and successful teams have made for some pretty raucous buildings throughout the league.
Bruins fans will proudly tell you TD Garden is the toughest building to get a victory in throughout the league. However, cities like Chicago, Montreal and Pittsburgh are among those others likely to make a claim to that title.
The Blackhawks are an impressive 54-25-7 at the United Center since the beginning of the 2010-11 season. Chicago has also been the No. 1 team in attendance in two of the last three seasons. The Blackhawks used home-ice advantage to assist them in lifting the 2010 Stanley Cup, going an impressive 8-3 at home during the playoffs.
Up north, the Montreal Canadiens also hold one of the best home-ice advantages in the NHL due to the intense crowd at the Bell Centre. Considered by many to be the loudest crowd in the league, the Habs have ranked in the top two in attendance each of the last three seasons. With 21,273 fans chanting and singing, “Ole, Ole,” it can be pretty daunting for opponents.
Pittsburgh has made its case for the toughest place to play thanks to the Penguins’ 57-27-4 record since the beginning of 2010-11. The Pens have averaged 100 percent attendance over the last three seasons and also sported a 9-2 record at home during their Stanley Cup run in 2009.
Vancouver makes a case for the best home-ice advantage due to the team’s record and attendance. The Canucks are 59-21-10 at home since Oct 2010, and they have also had perfect attendance since that time. Opposing players may want to avoid the penalty box at the Rodgers Arena, too. The ever-annoying “green men” have been harassing players in the box for almost three years now.
The youngest home-ice advantage on this list belongs to the Winnipeg Jets at the MTS Centre. Winnipeg was 23-13-5 at home in their first season back in NHL, and have sold out every game since returning to the league. With the Jets playing in the Southeast Division, their arena also provides a special disadvantage to the Lightning, Panthers, Hurricanes and Capitals. After all, those teams must travel across two time zones just to take on an opponent in their own division.