The Boston Bruins aren’t sitting at the top of the Eastern Conference by accident.

Success starts with defending home ice. The Bruins are 7-0-0 in Boston, making them the only NHL team without a loss of any kind at home this season.

Next up for Boston is a Thursday visit from the Calgary Flames, who enter the finale of a three-game road trip in a 0-4-2 slump. With a win, the Bruins would match their best-ever home start (8-0-0 to begin 1983-84).

“That was a focus from the beginning of the year, having (five of the first seven games in October) at home,” forward Jake DeBrusk said. “We obviously want to be good here. It’s just a matter of trying to get the first goal, getting the crowd into it and just roll over four lines.”

Monday’s 3-1 win over St. Louis was a bounce-back effort as the Bruins had taken just their second loss at Toronto two nights earlier.

The historic start has been amassed without several key players, but another — defenseman Charlie McAvoy — is nearing game action after reuniting with usual partner Hampus Lindholm for Wednesday’s practice.

“McAvoy is checking a lot of boxes,” Bruins coach Jim Montgomery said. “He’ll be playing within a week, I think.”

Mike Reilly being placed on waivers is another sign that McAvoy could return on Thursday.

Connor Clifton has skated alongside Lindholm in the absence of Derek Forbort, who could miss three more weeks after finger surgery.

“We’re very fortunate that we have a deep D-core without McAvoy and Forbort, and they’re playing really well,” Montgomery said. “We can go down to five to try to win a game.”

Goaltender Linus Ullmark has carried the recent load with Jeremy Swayman injured (leg), playing in the last five consecutive games. He has matched the club record for most wins through his first 10 starts.

Five of Calgary’s last six losses were decided by one goal, two in overtime. A back-to-back against the Islanders and Devils began the week.

“At the end of the day, frustration isn’t going to get you anywhere. It’s just going to dig you a deeper hole,” center Nazem Kadri said. “I believe in the guys in here and we’re just going to have to dig in.”

Kadri and Tyler Toffoli scored power-play goals in Tuesday’s 3-2 loss at New Jersey, as the Flames curbed an 0-for-12 drought that spanned five games. Rasmus Andersson assisted on both goals.

The Flames will look to get star forward Jonathan Huberdeau back after he missed Tuesday’s game because his swollen foot could not fit into a skate. He is day-to-day.

Coach Darryl Sutter hopes for more consistency out of Huberdeau, a 115-point scorer last season. However, there is more to get out of the entire team as its skid has immediately followed a 5-1-0 start.

“There are lots of players on our team that haven’t played to their potential yet if that is the prophecy or fulfillment of their skill set,” Sutter said earlier this week.

He is particularly looking for more on defense, where Andersson, Noah Hanifin, MacKenzie Weegar and Nikita Zadorov are logging huge minutes. Andersson averages nearly 25 per game.

“There isn’t one guy in training camp that even took a step towards being a sixth or seventh or eighth defenseman, and we’re playing them now,” Sutter said. “So, it’s time to ripen the apple a bit for them.”

–Field Level Media