Bruins must focus on strong end of regular season

Published on NewsOK Modified: April 24, 2013 at 3:05 pm •  Published: April 24, 2013
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Boston fans and players have mourned, observed moments of silence, and heard rousing chants for the city and its teams.

Even so-called hated rivals have turned down the trash talk and turned up the tributes for the Bruins. The Philadelphia Flyers were the latest team to pitch in with charitable contributions and video clips of marathon first responders and other rescue personnel.

But once you get past the stirring national anthems and cathartic moments, hockey has become the hard part for the Bruins.

In danger of losing the Northeast Division lead, the Bruins have dropped five of six games, including a 5-2 loss to the Flyers on Tuesday night. They have had mental lapses while allowing ugly goals and too many turnovers for a team with hopes of winning a second Stanley Cup in three seasons.

Whatever the reason for the ill-timed slump, coach Claude Julien has seen enough, though the Bruins can still salvage a strong postseason seed.

"We're running out of time here to get this stuff going," Julien said. "You always hope that it's some sort of wakeup call. But the way the season has gone, you're questioning whether it will or not."

The Bruins (27-13-5) sit in second place in the Eastern Conference and lead the division. But the Bruins and Montreal (27-14-5) both have 59 points. New Jersey beat Montreal 3-2 on Tuesday night. With three games left for Boston, and two for Montreal, the race for second will come down to the final week.

The Bruins are trying to give their fans a reason to cheer for their play on the ice.

"It hasn't been easy, mentally," Julien said. "But everybody has to get back to work. For us to use that an excuse, it would not be a good excuse. We should be using it the other way. We should be thriving on it instead of using it as a crutch."

The Flyers saluted Boston in the Bruins' first road game since the Boston Marathon bombings. The Flyers showed a message on the video board that read, "From One Tough Town to Another." They also had video images of four blue-yellow ribbons that said, "Boston Strong," on each faceoff circle.

"I had goosebumps the whole time the video went off," Flyer coach Laviolette said. "To hear the Philadelphia fans as passionate as they are about the city of Philadelphia and Philadelphia sports, start yelling for Boston as the videos are going on, that was touching as well. I don't think it's just a Boston thing or the Boston people rallying around. I really think it's one of those moments in time that gets captured by a country or gets captured by our world and it's bigger than the city itself."

The 50/50 raffle that usually supports Philadelphia charities went to onefundboston.org. The Flyers raised $85,595 Tuesday night, and team president Peter Luukko and general manager Paul Holmgren presented a check for $42,978 to Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli and president Cam Neely.

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