BRIGHTON, MA — Though their NHL-record home winning streak finally ended with Bruce Cassidy’s return to Boston earlier this week, the Boston Bruins are still a formidable 14-0-1 on home ice this season after a shootout defeat.
Boston’s home dominance is well established and it’s something the Boston Bruins players easily recognize as an advantage they’re looking to push hopefully until Stanley Cup playoff time. The B’s are a little less bulletproof on the road this season with a 6-3-0 record this season that’s still very good, but there was an ugly early season road loss to the Senators and a game in Florida where the Panthers flat out beat them on their own ice.
Certainly there are individual numbers to pick on. David Krejci is a minus-3 on the road this season and has just nine shots on net in the six games but has still been a point-per-game player with three goals and seven points in six road games this year. AJ Greer is also a minus-3 in eight games on the road this season and will be a healthy scratch on Wednesday night against his former Colorado Avalanche club with Craig Smith replacing him in the B’s lineup.
Some of it is clearly about getting fresh bodies in the Boston Bruins lineup, but B’s head coach Jim Montgomery scoffed a little at the idea that the B’s are still looking to form a team identity on the road.
“I think we have [an identity on the road],” said Montgomery. “We have a veteran that knows how to play on the road. We haven’t scored as much on the road as we have at home, but that’s probably normal. But I think we’ve had a couple of back-to-back games on the road where we’ve managed [the game] well like in Columbus, and then we went into Buffalo and came back home.
“I think our game doesn’t change. That’s what I like that our identity is the same where we check hard and try to make plays.”
🎥 Coach Montgomery on the key to avoiding a second straight loss tonight in Colorado: "You've got to start well here. It's the beginning of a good road trip for us. The first 10 minutes here are really important. They always have been." pic.twitter.com/tlgFvPtAuj
— Boston Bruins (@NHLBruins) December 7, 2022
The Boston Bruins are actually averaging four goals game in the nine road tilts this season – and an NHL-best 3.96 goals per game overall – so they are actually scoring just as well on the road as they are at TD Garden.
Certainly, it’s going to feel a little different as the Boston Bruins have played only three road games since Nov. 7 entering Wednesday night’s game at Ball Arena, followed by road tilts in Arizona and then another visit with the Vegas Golden Knights this weekend. But the long West Coast trips also allow the Bruins players to bond more tightly away from home without some of the usual away-from-the-ice distractions during long homestands.
“I think when you trust what your process is and what you are as a team,” said Foligno. “That’s, honestly, a recipe for success on the road. You don’t get flustered by the momentum shifts or the crowd or what’s going on. You know you’re a good team and you know when you get to your game that that’ll take over a lot of times. I think for us it’s just continuing that.
“I think we felt that way at home. We’ve done that on the road as well already this year. We really believe in what we’re trying to accomplish and trying to get better and still don’t think we’re quite where we want to be. It’s exciting for our group, with the success we’ve had, to put it into a road trip that’s against some really good teams and get to our identity really quick.”
Clearly there are more tests for a Black and Gold group that’s been among the best in the NHL this season and is now getting the absolute best from every team they’re playing on a nightly basis given the epic start they’ve authored this season.