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Bruins looking for help in playoff quest

Boston feeling good after slump but won't make it unless someone loses

by Dan Rosen @drosennhl / Senior Writer

BOSTON -- The Boston Bruins worked so hard to accomplish so little Thursday. That's what happens when you have to rely on help from others. That's what happens when a team fighting for a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs goes into a late-season slump.

As good as the Bruins were in a 5-2 win against the Detroit Red Wings at TD Garden -- and they were dominant -- they still need help to get into the playoffs because their 2-7-1 stretch from March 15 through Tuesday has a chance to be their undoing.

The point earned by the Philadelphia Flyers in a 4-3 overtime loss to the Toronto Maple Leafs on Thursday kept the Bruins from retaking control of their playoff fate.

All Boston needed was for Toronto to hang on in the final minute of the third period. Philadelphia scored the tying goal with 57.4 seconds left.

Video: Bruins Forward David Krejci Arena Cam Interview

Talk about a buzzkill in Boston. Now, despite defeating the Red Wings, the Bruins need help.

They can start by defeating the Ottawa Senators on Saturday. But if the Flyers win Saturday (hosting the Pittsburgh Penguins) and Sunday (visiting the New York Islanders), and the Red Wings defeat the New York Rangers in regulation or overtime Saturday, the Bruins won't make the playoffs.

"Well, that's the way it is," Boston coach Claude Julien said. "I said that before and I'm not going to change my tune here: We created that situation, so now we've got to live with it, take care of business the best we can, and still continue to hope for some breaks."

Maybe it's easier for the Bruins to believe they'll get them now than it was earlier this week, when they lost 2-1 in a shootout to the Carolina Hurricanes. That was Boston's eighth loss in a 10-game stretch that started with three regulation losses in California and bled into regulation losses to the Rangers and Florida Panthers.

Video: DET@BOS: Eriksson tips in pass for 30th his goal

The Bruins, though, mustered up the chutzpah to talk a big game before taking the ice Thursday.

Defenseman Torey Krug finished his pregame comments with the words "once we get into the playoffs." Forward Brad Marchand mentioned the intense focus, confidence and belief he sensed in his teammates.

At the time, it was hard to believe them.

It's not as if the Bruins were overwhelmed in that 10-game stretch, but they had several issues. They scored 10 goals in the first seven games and lost six of them in regulation. They scored 10 in the next two but picked up two points. They got one against Carolina. It was brutal.

Video: DET@BOS: Marchand rips home one-timer from Krug

Turns out Krug and Marchand were on to something, because the Bruins never gave the Red Wings a puncher's chance.

David Pastrnak scored 1:25 seconds into the game. Marchand added to that 1:19 later. Boston had two goals before Detroit had two shots.

"With what we've been going through here, that gave our guys some confidence and loosened them up," Julien said.

Krug made it 3-0 with a power-play goal at 5:02 of the second period; he hadn't scored in the previous 54 games. Detroit quickly got one back, but the Bruins dashed any hopes the Red Wings had of a comeback by scoring twice in the first 45 seconds of the third period.

Video: DET@BOS: Pastrnak opens scoring with breakaway goal

Boston outshot Detroit 11-2 in the third period and 34-15 for the game. As stated above, it was a dominant effort, and a reminder of what the Bruins are capable of when they follow the system, play fast, and stay with a defense-first approach.

"Our gaps were awesome," Krug said. "The only reason we were able to do that is our forwards backchecked like crazy. It was just a committed defensive effort."

In the offensive zone, Boston had players going to the net, taking away Detroit goalie Jimmy Howard's eyes as they looked for tips, deflections, anything they could get a stick on. The Bruins had defensemen pinching down the wall, taking risks at opportune times.

"It's so important that we bottle that up and bring the same kind of game here on Saturday," Julien said. "We want to give ourselves a chance."

A chance is all they have. It's more than what 13 other teams have, but for the Bruins, it seems like it should never have come to this.

And, to that end, so what.

Video: DET@BOS: Stempniak nets rebound to pad lead

Maybe they should have defeated the Hurricanes at home Tuesday, or scored more than one goal on their 40 shots in a 2-1 loss at the New Jersey Devils on March 29. Maybe their 17-17-3 home record is the biggest reason they need help to get into the playoffs.

All of that is hot air, talk-radio chatter. It will matter this weekend if the Bruins don't get in. It won't matter if they do.

They need help. That's their reality. It was going into Thursday and it is coming out. The only thing that has changed is the Bruins now have a reason to feel good about themselves, but even that means so little at this point.

They have themselves to blame. They need someone to thank.

"We'll take whatever help we can get," Krug said.

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