The Boston Bruins and the Toronto Maple Leafs will face off for Game 7 of their first round series in the 2019 Stanley Cup Playoffs on Tuesday after the Bruins were able to secure a huge win in Game 6. Not only were the Bruins able to lock it down in Toronto and prolong the series but they now force the Leafs into a Game 7 situation where they will have to win on the road and in a hostile building.
Home ice, or home field, or home court advantage has long been a factor in the sporting world and you usually associate having that advantage with an increased chance of winning. As a result there is often a perception that winning at home is easier for professional sports teams and, although there are some notable exceptions to this rule, that perception is usually backed up by reality.
That may not be the case for the Boston Bruins in this series however as not only have the Maple Leafs been able to play well on the road in this series, but they have arguably been the better team at TD Garden, the Bruins home arena, in the first round. Now there could be any number of factors that would cause such a trend, sheer coincidence being one of them, but it seems like the Bruins might actually be at a disadvantage on their home ice in this series. You do not just have to take my word for it either as on Sunday Boston Bruins star forward, and Game 6 hero, Brad Marchand provided some insight on why the Bruins might be struggling in their home arena.
Your first thought would perhaps be some type of psychological block or hurdle that the team has not been able to overcome, but actually according to Marchand there may be some tangible, physical, components to this disadvantage. Marchand admitted to the National Hockey League's own Dave McArthy that the Bruins have struggled on home ice, but pointed to the ice itself as a reason for why the Leafs have been so successful in Boston.
"They've played really well in our building so far this series and the ice has been terrible there so we might as well play with a tennis ball, skate around and see who can bounce one in the net," said the Bruins agitator.
It seems likely that the Bruins and the Leafs will be facing more of the same in Game 7, and with recent history in mind that could favor the Maple Leafs.