After getting booed off the ice following their 11th loss in 12 home games, the Bruins will try to avoid getting swept in the season series by the sputtering Rangers on Sunday afternoon.
Boston (31-27-12) is one of the worst home teams in the NHL, going 14-14-6 after posting an Eastern Conference-best 29-6-6 record last season.
Those struggles have the Bruins trying to fend off the Rangers (31-31-9) and Atlanta for the final playoff spot. They’ll visit the Thrashers on Tuesday and have lost all three meetings with New York, falling 3-1 at home in the most recent matchup Jan. 9.
“I don’t know what’s going on this year at home,” left wing Milan Lucic(notes) said. “It just seems we don’t have the same approach as we do on the road. This last stretch of the season, the destiny is in our hands.”
Fans expressed their dissatisfaction Thursday following a 3-0 defeat to Pittsburgh. Coach Claude Julien noted a number of players battling the flu, while getting revenge on the Penguins’ Matt Cooke(notes) for a hit on Marc Savard(notes) in the last meeting March 7 may have become a distraction.
Savard is out for the season with a concussion.
“I don’t think you can ever be satisfied because you’ve lost your top goal scorer for the rest of the year,” Julien said. “How can you be satisfied that you beat them up? I don’t think there’s anything that’s going to make things right.”
Marco Sturm(notes), the Bruins’ leader with 21 goals, is one of the ill players identified by Julien. The left wing was limited to 11:14 of playing time against the Penguins, as his point drought reached four games.
“We gotta rebound here and obviously we’re being told by a doctor that we should keep players away from each other if we don’t want things to spread around,” Julien said. “It’s a must win on Sunday.”
Sturm has one goal in 14 games against the Rangers.
Boston’s power play is also stalling, going 1 for 16 in six games after the injury to Savard, who has scored six of his 10 goals with the man advantage.
The Rangers, who last swept a season series from Boston in 2006-07, have dropped six of eight after falling 4-3 to St. Louis at home Thursday.
“It is very disappointing to be in this position, but we have to stay positive and try to turn this thing around,” said Henrik Lundqvist(notes), who is 2-3-2 with a 3.16 goals-against average in his last seven games.
Lundqvist is 13-3-2 with a 1.36 GAA and four shutouts against the Bruins.
The right wing has one goal and one assist against Boston this season.