WILMINGTON, Mass. — In a season full of question marks, the Boston Bruins have done very little to answer their growing concerns while playing at home.
Through their first six games at TD Garden, the Black and Gold have compiled a 1-4-1 mark and have been outscored, 26-20. Their issues seem to escalate from the defensive end to their forecheck when playing in front of the 17,565 in attendance on Causeway Street.
On the road, however, the Bruins have been quite successful going 6-2-0 in eight games. Whether it’s bonding or just easing the pressure away from home, the B’s have found an interesting, and, so far successful niche outside of TD Garden.
Following a tough three-game road trip where they went 1-2-0 against the Capitals, Canadiens and Islanders the Bruins return with a five-game home slate ahead of them — beginning Thursday night against the Colorado Avalanche.
“I think when we get at home we need to continue to play the same kind of game,” Brad Marchand said following Tuesday’s practice. “I think we shouldn’t be doing anything fancy and shying away from the gameplan.”
The recipe for the Bruins’ road success is their bread and butter: a strong forecheck, solid defense and getting pucks in deep to establish their zone time. For whatever reason, the Black and Gold haven’t been able to follow that same formula at home and have played too cute on both ends of the ice.
With the upcoming homestand, Patrice Bergeron and company are focused on this important stretch just before Thanksgiving.
“I think it’s really important. We have a lot of home games coming up, and it’s definitely something that we need to work on,” Bergeron said about re-establishing their identity on Causeway Street.
“The thing I’ve noticed the most is that we simplify our game when we’re on the road. Maybe we just need to come home and bring that same kind of style, which is to move the puck forward and having a good transition. Creating chances is certainly going to help, but I also think it’s about simplifying our game.”
Of their six home games this season, the Bruins have had a lead in five of them. Their only win, however, came in a 6-0 shutout over the Arizona Coyotes to sweep the two-game season series. On Thursday, the Bruins will look to sweep another season series against the Avalanche. The B’s won the first meeting soundly out in Denver, 6-2.
Against the last place team in the Central Division, the Bruins have a good opportunity to get the homestand off on the right foot.
“I think we’ve seen our team play well at home, but only in spurts,” said head coach Claude Julien. “I think, for the most part, our team has been really, really good this year at starting off games. But the fact is, we’ve let our game slip at times, and it doesn’t take much for other teams to get themselves back into it or make us pay for it. So I think the home situation that we’re in right now with the home stretch is going to be about extending those good stretches and making it last as long as we can. But that’s all about consistency.”