BRIGHTON, Mass. – The Bruins have played just three of their first 10 games at TD Garden this season, so they’re excited about a little bit of home cooking starting Saturday night against the New York Rangers on home ice.
The Bruins have the Saturday night date against the Blueshirts, and a Monday night divisional showdown with the Buffalo Sabres, as three of their next four games on home ice with a trip to Montreal mixed in for good measure. So, the Bruins will get their chance to start building up their home ice record this season where they’re 1-2, and have been outscored by a 10-4 margin in three Garden dates thus far this season.
One thing is clear: the B’s don’t want a repeat of last season where they were one of the NHL’s worst teams on home ice (17-18-6) and that lack of emotion and focus at home ended up costing them a potential playoff berth.
“We’ve had a lot of games on the road here early on. We’ve to start establishing our home record here, and making it a tough place to play,” said Jimmy Hayes of his Bruins, who will be facing the hottest offense in the NHL with the Rangers averaging 4.1 goals per game through their first 11 games of the season. “Tonight isn’t a bad night to start that.”
Perhaps part of the change this season at home will come from morning skates being held at Warrior Ice Arena in Brighton rather than on the Garden ice. Traditionally, the Bruins have skated on game day morning at the Garden, but Claude Julien said perhaps spending those mornings at the new practice facility will get the players a little more amped for home dates this season.
“We’ve got everything that we need here. Guys are comfortable. At the same time there’s a lot of stuff going on at the Garden, construction and all of that stuff. It’s much easier for everybody to just come here,” said Julien. “No matter where we are everybody goes after the morning skate, so just coming here [to the Warrior Arena practice facility] we feel this is the best venue for us to utilize. I know a lot of teams around the league do the same thing.
“We’ve got everything we need here to prepare for the game, and let’s go to the rink for game time and get excited about going to the Garden as well. Hopefully we play the way we can.”
There’s also clearly an “old school” view that NHL teams should hold morning skates in the building where the game is being played and the new fad of skating at the practice facility is one without any real team benefit. Clearly, the Bruins will get to make their own decision this season skating in the mornings at Warrior Arena, and then spending the evenings attempting to author better performances on home ice.