BOSTON– Many of the Bruins players were donning shirts that read “Make every game a home game,” beneath their pads Saturday night. But perhaps they might want to reconsider after looking at how they have played in many of their home games.
In Thursday night’s game, Bruins head coach Claude Julien said his team lost its legs in the last period against the Canadiens, and from the looks of tonight’s game, it doesn’t seem like they have been able to find all of them yet. In their past two games (both of which were at home) the Bruins have been outshot, outscored and outplayed by opposing teams. Take a broader look at the whole season, and you realize that that seems to be a growing trend when the Bs stay in the confines of Boston.
The Bruins have yet to find a real niche at TD Garden, much to the chagrin of fans and to the Bruins themselves. Their record at home remains a dismal 2-4-1, and fans even resorted to booing their team in the last parts of the game.
“We’ve got to come out and establish the game plan that we kind of prepare for and, especially on home ice, we have to establish that,” Bruins captain Zdeno Chara said. “Right now we’re kind of struggling with that to get that jump and that pressure we create sometimes on the road on quite a consistent basis.”
Not only were they sluggish, but even the aspects of the game they were able to pull off looked uninspiring. Passes bounced off the tape, there was barely any transition game, and the forecheck was stopped before it even started.
But it seems silly to say that when, in other games on the road, the Bruins have none of those problems, or, when they do, they are corrected immediately.
One of the highlights of the game however came at the hands of 42-year old Mark Recchi–literally.
In the third period, in an effort to infuse emotion into his team, Recchi dropped the gloves, for the first time in nearly six years, against Senator Chris Campoli. His efforts yielded no offensive rewards, but his team recognized his efforts and what he tried to do. Though Recchi is nearly 16 years older than Campoli, neither the odds, nor the age of himself or Campoli ever crossed his mind.
“I don’t think about that when I’m on the ice ever,” Recchi said. “I still think I’m 25 and I still act like it, I try to anyways.”
That fighting major put Recchi over the 1,000 minute in penalties for his career and he’s one of thirty NHL players ever to record 1,000 points and 1,000 PIM.
The Bruins will play the next three of four games at home and will need to find a way to step up their game if they are going to create a true home ice advantage for themselves. Young players like Milan Lucic and Nathan Horton have to continue to produce and excel on the ice. Horton hasn’t registered a point in his last four games at home, despite his explosive start.
Saturday night’s loss also marked Tim Thomas’ first loss of the season. Though he only let up two goals, it was enough to credit him with a number in the loss column.
The first goal came in the first period where Thomas was screened in front by a number of players–teammates and Senators alike. The shot came from the blueline off a clean faceoff win for the Senators and went to the back of the net before Thomas even knew where the puck was.
“Obviously it’s a terrible feeling as a goalie when you can’t find the puck,” Thomas said. “I couldn’t even find out who had the puck on that one. Like, it just disappeared behind bodies and by the time I saw it, it was past our last defenseman in the air.”
Taking in everything that needs to be fixed before Monday, the Bruins have a lot on their plate, and Julien hopes the problem is something that can be easily fixed and not one that’s a lingering pest for his team.
“We were just a bad team tonight,” Julien said. “Probably looked more like the team that played that first game in Prague.”