WILMINGTON, Mass. – There won’t be any gimmicks this last week of the NHL regular season, as the Bruins try to earn the points they need to get into the playoffs and play two of their final three games at TD Garden.
Home-ice has been unkind to the Bruins, who have a 16-17-6 record on Causeway Street, compared to a 20-13-7 record on the road. But head coach Claude Julien doesn’t plan to reach into the trusty bags of coaching tactics to have his team stay in a hotel or pretend it’s on the road in order squeeze some points out of the Garden dates with Buffalo and Carolina coming up Thursday and Saturday, respectively.
He’s confident just a couple goals and better focus will allow the Bruins to better enjoy some home cooking.
“We’ve thought about all that, trust me,” said Julien when asked about ways to break his team from its home-ice doldrums after practice at Ristuccia Arena. “Right now, I think it’s a matter of, I like our attitude right now. We’re battling through with four Ds, more or less, logging all the ice time, and we’re battling through in a positive way and hopefully by Sunday it’ll be for all the right reasons.”
That attitude has to translate into confidence and focus for the Bruins to have a chance. The league’s worst offense seems to struggle regardless of venue. The Bruins’ overall goals-per-game average of 2.35 is the same home and away.
“I think right now, it’s a matter of let’s not think too much about it,” said Julien. “Let’s just think about what we need to do here to win these last three games. We can hit ourselves over the head with the fact that we’re having trouble burying pucks and all that stuff and scoring, or we can just stay focused on the stuff we need to stay focused on and hopefully the rest of those things will take care of themselves.”
“I guess talking about it doesn’t help, honestly,” the coach continued. “Inside that room, we need to stop talking about that stuff and just really focus on what we need to do here. They hear it, they see it, it’s a constant reminder. And at one point, you look at the opportunities we missed, if guys weren’t squeezing the dust out their sticks right now – their graphite sticks – I’m sure that we’d have a few more goals. Maybe sometimes they need a little bit of space or need to stop being reminded and just go out there and play and focus on what you have to do as an individual and as a team.”