Commentary

Bruins hope to build on momentum

Updated: April 19, 2010, 8:38 AM ET
By Matt Kalman | ESPNBoston.com

BOSTON -- Home is where the heart is, and it's also supposed to be where there's an advantage for NHL teams.

The Boston Bruins in 2009-10, more often than not, didn't make the most of that advantage, as they compiled a disappointing 18-17-6 record at TD Garden. With Monday's Game 3 and Wednesday's Game 4 of Boston's Eastern Conference quarterfinal series with the Buffalo Sabres set to be staged on Causeway Street, the Bruins are hoping they can continue to play as well as they did in their Game 2 victory at Buffalo -- as well as their last two regular-season homes -- and grab control of the series.

"We won the last couple of games [at home], but the other games before too, some of them that we lost, we were dominant in some of those," Bruins coach Claude Julien said of his team's improvement in the last month on home ice. "So it's not that we've played terrible here. We weren't getting results there for a while. But I think our team feels pretty confident in our home building."

The key could be not feeling overconfident. Julien scolded his team for not keeping its emotions in check at the outset of Game 2, as the Bruins were trying to make up for dropping Game 1. They settled down and prevailed to earn a road split. With the Garden faithful sure to be out in full force Monday night, the Bruins are going to have to harness their emotions rather than overdo it and wind up doing something that could cost the club.

"We've got to keep our emotions in check," said winger Milan Lucic. "If you saw the last game, I thought we were a bit overexcited [at the beginning]. If you look two years ago, my first year, we'd play Montreal and get overexcited and over-crazy, where we'd make mistakes and hurt ourselves and that's where I think they beat us eight times in the season there. It's key for us to keep our emotions in check. The crowd's going to be good and we've got to feed off of it more than anything."

"It's an exciting time of year and it takes a little bit of effort to rally your emotions and put the focus in the right areas," added winger Shawn Thornton. "I think it happens to a lot of teams. At least we've been through it, so now we can get going and get the home crowd behind us."

With a playoff spot on the line, the Bruins played well in beating Buffalo and Carolina at TD Garden to close their home schedule. Those two games might have delivered a message through the locker room that winning on home ice can happen just by using the same formula the team used on the road all season.

"It helps us out for sure because it's been a tough year for us at home for some reason," Lucic said. "It seems like throughout the season our game was different on the road than it was at home. I think we've just got to have that same mentality that we do on the road and bring that to home. It's important for us to play well in our own building and try to use the crowd on our side."

Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com.

Matt Kalman

Bruins reporter, ESPNBoston.com
Matt Kalman covers the Bruins for ESPNBoston.com. He has been on the Bruins beat since the lockout for numerous publications and has been covering the Boston sports scene for a decade.

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