Bruins Headed Home with Chance to Earn Playoff Buffer

On Saturday morning I was asked by a colleague to predict the score to Saturday night’s Bruins-Stars game. I told him it could go either way – that it could be a 6-0 Stars blowout, or it could be a 4-2 Bruins victory, depending on which Bruins team showed up. Nobody expected a 7-3 final to go Boston’s way.

Boston’s gutsy victory on Saturday tipped the ship on a road trip that was up for grabs. Rather than coming away with six of twelve possible points on the longest roady of the season, the B’s were able to secure eight out of twelve points on the road, capping it off with a win that nobody saw coming.

Now, the B’s are headed back to more familiar territory, as they prepare for six home games in their next seven match-ups.

Boston’s successful road trip has bumped them up to the #2 spot in the Atlantic Division, sitting five points behind the Panthers in first place, and just two points ahead of Tampa Bay and Detroit, who sit tied for 3rd as far as points go. Now, Boston is looking at a golden opportunity to create some wiggle room in the standings with six of their next seven games at the Garden.

However, this situation may not benefit Boston as much as it would another team. The Bruins are the only Eastern Conference team that is currently in a playoff spot that has a losing record at home (12-14-3). Needless to say, playing in Boston is not what it used to be.

While Boston’s 20-7-3 record on the road has earned them their position in the standings, their home record will need to improve if they hope to do anything worthwhile this season. This upcoming streak will be the perfect chance to get that underway.

That being said, Boston is up for a couple of difficult games with some extremely competitive teams.

Boston’s first home game (Monday) will be played against a lackluster Columbus team, who lost all hopes of a playoff bid long ago. However, after working through Columbus (who, I might add, Boston had better beat if they hope to have a good homestand), the B’s will be tested.

Boston is set to face Pittsburgh, Tampa Bay, Calgary, Chicago, and Washington at home, playing every other night as they have been, and will continue to do for the early portion of March. Boston’s rigorous schedule (Pittsburgh and Tampa Bay are both playoff teams playing pretty well of late, Washington is the league’s #1 team and Chicago is, well, Chicago) will be made even more difficult as fatigue sets in with games clumped so closely together. Of course, the team’s home record this season may make you even more concerned.

However, it does give Boston a golden opportunity to turn around their hometown fortune, and give themselves a little bit of a buffer when it comes to the standings as well. With playoff hockey a month and a half away, it’s time for Boston to prove that they deserve to sit atop the Atlantic Division standings. TD Garden is the place to do it.