BOSTON – Good afternoon from the TD Garden where tonight the Bruins will open their 2010-11 home slate with the Washington Captials in the domestic home opener. The Bruins enter the game riding a three-game winning streak, while the Caps will look to bounce back after their loss to the Black and Gold on Tuesday night.
For some of the players, the home opener provides a lot of nervousness. For others, the anxiousness of getting in on the ice in front of a sold out crowd builds up as they day progresses.
But one thing that is common in the locker room is the excitement. And why wouldn’t it be after a 3-1 start?
“It is always exciting to get that home opener and play in front of our fans,” said Bruins coach Claude Julien. “I think the biggest thing right now for our team is to bring the type of game that we’ve brought lately to our home rink. That sometimes is a challenge in itself, but hopefully our guys are ready to do that and build on what we’ve done well and what’s given us success and give our home fans that kind of performance.”
Last year, the Bruins were 18-17-6 at the confines of TD Garden. Fans were voicing their displeasure as the boo birds came out more often then not.
While usually a new season comes new expectations, teams will often say that playing well at home is often one expectation that comes up year after year.
“We had a better record on the road than we did at home and you know that bodes well for your team on the road,” Julien said about his squad last year, who went 21-13-7 away from the Garden. “But we want to give our fans a much better performance than we did last year.”
A couple of players who might help the cause are the newest additions to the Bruins — Nathan Horton and Tyler Seguin. Both players are off to a good start to this young season as their lines have been clicking early and often in the first four games.
Both Seguin and Horton will look to continue their early season success tonight in front of the potential crowd of 17,565 in their Garden debuts.
“I think everyone is finally excited to finally get the year and get our home games started,” said Horton, who came in a trade from Florida along with Gregory Campbell for Dennis Wideman. “We’re excited to play in front of our crowd and feel the energy that’s in this building. It’s exciting and everyone is looking forward to it.”
The No. 2 overall pick in the 2010 Draft is also excited to give Bruins fans their money’s worth. While he’s played in front of the Garden in September for the preseason games (including the rookie games against the Islanders), Seguin will get his first taste of playing in front of a sellout crowd at the Garden (potentially) for the first time in his career.
“I’m excited. I’ve played a couple of preseason games here, but I’m excited to play in front of the crowd,” he said. “It’s a great atmosphere and it’s a lot of fun and being the home opener and all it will be a lot of fun.”
A homecoming of sorts for Carlson
Capitals defenseman and potential Calder Trophy candidate John Carlson will be returning home sort of speak when he hits the Garden ice tonight.
Carlson, who was born in Natick, was able to save 15 tickets for friends and family in the area. Despite a conflict of interest for some, Carlson’s peers will be supporting the red instead of the black and gold.
“It will be pretty electric tonight for the home opener,” Carlson said. “A lot of my friends and family will be wearing Capitals jerseys and they might get ragged on a bit, but its pretty cool and I’m pretty excited.”
The Bruins and Caps will drop the puck at 7 p.m. In anticipation of the home opener, the Bruins will also be hosting “Fan Fest” right outside the Garden beginning at 4:30 p.m.