They say home is where the heart is. After a flat, 4-0 defeat to the last-place Islanders at the TD Garden on Monday, many Bruins fans are probably wondering; “Where is the heart?”
With the loss, the B’s have once again dipped under .500 at home, now sporting a 10-11-0 record at the Garden. As bad as that may sound, consider these facts: only three teams, Detroit, Colorado and Arizona, have fewer home wins than the Bruins do so far this season. All the while, they are only scoring 2.5 goals per game while giving up slightly more at a 2.7 goals per game clip.
How and why are the Bruins struggling on home ice? It’s really not that easy to explain. As matter of fact, it seems as if the personnel is having a hard time understanding it all.
“It’s disappointing,” head coach Claude Julien said after the game. “We should have a better home record.”
Before the game, Julien tried to offer somewhat of an explanation, saying that the Bruins could be getting a bit to fancy with their game at home and not being focused enough prior to those home games.
“It’s about bringing your road game to home and that’s what we’re trying to do,” Julien said, “So, whether it’s trying to be too fancy or not, it’s probably about our whole game preparation and focus and everything else.”
Though Julien may not have had much to say about the home struggles, a few players did try to explain their frustrations.
“The result is certainly not what we’re looking for,” forward David Backes said. “We just established ourselves back to .500 at home and wanted to make this a tough place for anyone to come into and we just didn’t bring it tonight and it’s unacceptable on all of our parts.”
“I try to talk about it all the time, you need to bring that emotion and work ethic every night. Doesn’t matter if it’s road or home,” echoed Tuukka Rask, who was pulled in the second period after allowing three goals on 15 shots. “On the road we seem to do that every night. At home for some reason, we play a good game, an emotional game and then we lack it in the next one and the results are what they were tonight. It’s like a broken record; we have to fix it. Or otherwise it won’t be good.”
But the Bruins players and coaches were not the only ones illustrating their annoyance with their home performances. After the horn sounded to end the second period, the Garden crowd, whom, despite the team’s recent struggles have soldout every game this season and now 315 in a row, showered the team with boos as they headed to the locker room down 3-0. The boo-birds would also return in the third period during a horrendous power-play midway through the period that concluded with Jason Chimera salting the game away with a shorthanded goal to put the Islanders up 4-0.
Zdeno Chara certainly could not blame the fans, taking it upon himself and his team for why the fans reacted the way they did.
“It’s obviously frustrating,” Chara stated postgame, “We let them down by our effort.”
For years, Boston was a city that opposing teams dreaded coming to. But thus far, the Garden has been anything but intimidating. As solid as the B’s have been on the road, where they currently stand at 13-8-5 as they head into to Detroit on Wednesday night, the play, effort and results have almost been the complete opposite on Causeway Street.
For a team that is barely hanging on to a playoff spot and with teams behind them possessing several games in hand, the B’s lack of home-cooking for the second straight season could be a recipe for disaster.