BOSTON — Home cooking has not been particularly tasty for the Boston Bruins this season.
While coach Claude Julien’s club has been perfect away from TD Garden thus far, it has yet to earn a victory on home ice, dropping three games in regulation and another in overtime. It’s a trend the Bruins will look to reverse Tuesday, when they welcome the Arizona Coyotes to town.
“It doesn’t matter right now,” Julien said Monday of his team’s poor home-road splits. “To me, (Tuesday) is what matters. Hopefully, we can build on that last game and how we played, and bring that to our home rink and make sure we start getting some wins here. I think that’s really important. It’s nice to see we’re doing well on the road, but we also know how important having a good home record is, as well. We’re going to work on that (Tuesday).”
The 3-3-1 Bruins are one of just six NHL teams without a home victory this season. They lost three in a row at the Garden to open the season — all thumpings by squads that entered Monday with a combined 19-4-3 record — before rebounding with consecutive road wins over the Colorado Avalanche and Coyotes.
Then came a frustrating 5-4 overtime loss to the Philadelphia Flyers at home, followed by Boston’s most impressive showing to date: a 5-3 takedown of the New York Islanders in Brooklyn.
A review of those seven contests reveals a simple, yet puzzling fact: The Bruins have looked like a far better team away from Causeway Street.
“I think we’ve had some rough outings here,” Julien said. “I think our puck management has cost us a lot of games when you look at the goals that were scored against us here in our home building. So, we’ve got to clean that up. … I think if we can cut down on some of those mistakes, and if you look at our record, I think we’re 3-0-1 in our last four games. We lost the first three home games that we played, and they were the first three games of the season, so you’d like to think that you’re trending in the right direction.”
Building leads has not been an issue for the Bruins at home — or, for that matter, on the road — but maintaining them has. Boston owns an even 5-5 goals scored/allowed differential in the first period of its four home games, but that number drops to 4-6 in the second period and 2-9 in the third period and overtime.
“I think it’s a bit of, I guess, a coincidence,” forward Ryan Spooner said. “I think for us, our games on the road, we’ve played a solid three (periods). Here, I think our first periods have been not bad, and in the second period, it’s kind of gone downhill a little bit. So, we definitely need to work on that.”
The Bruins play just two of their next seven games in Boston (Tuesday against the Coyotes and next Tuesday against the Dallas Stars) but will kick off a season-long five-game homestand Nov. 12 against the Avalanche.
Thumbnail photo via Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports Images
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