BOSTON, MA - There's no place like home.
"Madhouse on Madison" lived up to the hype at the United Center in Chicago, with a rousing Blackhawks' fanbase that cheered their way through a powerful national anthem and kept up the tempo throughout both Games One and Two.
But, there's nothing better than a home game at TD Garden for the men in the spoked-B, playing in front of the Boston faithful. As the series shifts back to the Hub for Games Three and Four with each team having won one game apiece, the Bruins are looking forward to using their home-ice advantage.
"Well, there's no doubt you're a lot happier at home than you are on the road, right?" said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien, following the team's pregame skate at TD Garden prior to Game Three.
"But we've got a great crowd here. Our fans have been great."
Coach also gave props to Chicago's crowds, before acknowledging he knows tonight's crowd will not disappoint.
"What can you say about the Chicago fans for them? Let's give credit where credit is due. It's pretty awesome when you go into that building and listen to them."
"Our fans are very capable of doing the same thing. We may not hold as much in our building, but the decibels will be just as good as it was at the United Center."
The United Center holds 22,000-plus fans, while TD Garden's sellout crowd comes in at a "quaint" 17,565. It doesn't make a difference for the B's though - they know how loud it gets.
"It’s always a lot of fun to be in your hometown and play in front of your crowd, especially the Final where everything is so crazy," said Brad Marchand. "You saw how Chicago was. It was still fun to be in an atmosphere like that but we are very happy to be home."
"With everything that’s going on, it’s tough not to get caught up," Marchand cautioned, on the B's making sure they stay poised and controlled, with the emotion of playing at home.
"You just try to use it to your advantage. It is a tool, it is a weapon that you can use when you are at home and try to feed off of the momentum of the crowd. Hopefully we can do that."
Defenseman Johnny Boychuk is obviously happy for the home-cookin' as well.
"Of course. You’d rather play at home. Of course, it’s going to be important for us to come out and win this first game," said Boychuk.
When the Bruins came home to TD Garden in 2011 for Games Three and Four, they were in an 0-2 hole, and ended up outscoring Vancouver 12-1 in the process to even the series at 2-2.
The B's definitely want to take advantage of home ice again, especially with the series knotted at 1-1 this time around, and the chance to take a 3-1 series lead when it shifts back to Chicago for Game Five.
"That’s ultimately the goal, to win both games. If you want to come out with a split at home, you’re crazy," said Boychuk. "We’re going to need to be at our best because we know they’re going to be coming out hard. They’re a phenomenal team."
"This time of season, I think it is going to be a good atmosphere, fanwise," said Daniel Paille, who remembers what the crowd was like in 2011 for the Final. "But for us, I think we should be all the more reason to be pumped up and really play well like we did [in 2011]."
Shawn Thornton has been a Bruin since 2007 - and he has never stopped appreciating the home crowds of Bruins fans.
"Obviously, I think ever since I’ve been here the crowd's been unbelievable," said Thornton. "And we’ve had the same core group of guys around for the last six years, so I think that we appreciate this building and we like playing in here."
"We’ll be able to feed off of our crowd a little bit more," he said, of the home-ice advantage, before acknowledging that's not all the Bruins will need to defeat Chicago tonight. "Just because we’re home doesn’t mean that it’s going to be easy. It’s going to be a tough game. We’re going to have to bring everything we have."
"It's going to be pretty cool. It’s been awhile in the playoffs so I’m really looking forward to it," said center David Krejci.
"All we are focusing on now is to have a good start. The first period’s going to be really big. We are playing at home in front of our fans. I’m pretty sure they are going to be great again so we just have to get out and start."
The strong start will be a point of emphasis for the B's, especially after their slow start to Game Two in Chicago. But the team that powers through the full-60 will more than likely, come out with the victory.
"At the end, whoever wants it more is going to win," said Dennis Seidenberg, in the locker room prior to Game Three. "In here, everyone seems to feel good and ready to play in front of our fans."