Playing on home ice is important to most teams heading into the playoffs. I say “most teams” because there are those rare teams that play better away from home, like the St. Louis Blues—who will be golfing this time next week.
But there are plenty of other teams that will rely on home ice to win most of their games in the postseason.
If the Ottawa Senators have any chance of upsetting their first-round opponent, they will have to be flawless at home.
While the Sens are 4-1-1 in their last six games away from Scotiabank Place, their 18-21-2 away record is among the worst of all playoff teams.
Vancouver’s 19-20-2 record on the road isn’t too bad, considering its NHL-record, 14-game road trip in the middle of the season. But the Canucks are 7-9-3 away from home against teams that have clinched a playoff spot already.
The Colorado Avalanche have struggled in general lately, but their play away from the Pepsi Center has been even worse. They are 4-7-2 in their last 11 away games.
San Jose and Chicago have lost just 14 games at home in regulation this season…combined.
Assuming the Philadelphia Flyers manage to hold onto their playoff spot by beating the New York Rangers on Sunday, they will have to rely on their incredibly irritating fans at the Wachovia Center to get them through the first round.
The Flyers are an awful 17-21-3 on the road and have just two wins in their last 11 away games.
Buffalo Sabres’ head coach Lindy Ruff loves to match up lines, and it shows with Buffalo’s 25-10-6 record at home. But the Sabres are a different team on the road—especially as of late.
In the Sabres’ last 18 games away from HSBC Arena they have gone just 5-10-3.
If any of these teams plan on winning the Stanley Cup this season, they better be near perfect at home—or learn how to play better on the road, quick.