As if the Bruins moving on to the second round wasn’t good enough news, here’s some even better news: TD Garden should be at close to full capacity whenever the Bruins host their first second-round game.
If you live outside of Massachusetts, you could be forgiven for being out of the loop: a week or so ago, the state announced that all of its COVID-19 restrictions, including mask mandates and capacity limits, will be rescinded on May 29.
(Some industries, like healthcare, are excluded, but most businesses fall under the circumstances described above.)
This is due +50% of Bay Staters being fully vaccinated against COVID-19, with nearly 65% of the state having at least one dose; it also helps that the neighboring New England states are also doing excellently with their own vaccine rollouts.
Considering that tonight is May 23 and the earliest the Pittsburgh Penguins - New York Islanders series could end is May 26, it’s safe to say that the Bruins’ first Round 2 home game will take place after those restrictions have been lifted.
The Bruins, for their part, are prepared.
The team released a statement tonight, saying:
In accordance with City and State guidelines, the Boston Bruins will be permitted to return to near full capacity beginning on May 29, 2021. In accordance with NHL guidelines, all guests at TD Garden will continue to be required to wear masks and follow the Play it Safe Protocols until further notice.
The “near full” part likely reflects the assumption that the City of Boston may ask teams to not go full-capacity right away; something like 90% may be preferred.
Still, there are several days for the team, the city, and the state to suss out the final details.
The take-home point is this: while the 4,000ish fans at the Garden acquitted themselves just fine in the first round, the Bruins should have a much more decided home-ice advantage whenever they host a game in Round 2.