BOSTON -- After a miserable February in which the Bruins went 5-7-1 and were shut out five times, they thought they might have found their game with a dramatic 4-3 overtime win over New Jersey on Thursday. But the Bruins couldn't harness the momentum from that win and lost 3-2 to the Islanders on Saturday, despite a solid overall effort.
The Bruins haven't strung together back-to-back wins since Jan. 10 (Winnipeg) and Jan. 12 (Montreal). Goalie Tuukka Rask suffered what very well could be a serious injury Saturday, but the Bruins are not making excuses or feeling sorry for themselves as they head to New York for a big Eastern Conference tilt with the Rangers on Sunday afternoon. It's all about perseverance and not dwelling on the past.
"You have to," Bruins coach Claude Julien said when asked if the team has remained upbeat during this stretch of sub-.500 hockey and injuries. "This time of year is not the time to start hammering down on guys. I think, we say the way it is, there's times we're not happy with our game, and we'll show it, but at the same time, you always have to build on the positive.
"Tonight, we had scoring chances -- we had more than they did, we outshot them. I thought we were the better team out there, and the thing that hurt is the end result. I don't care where they are in the standings; they play well. They're a good team, a good young team, and today, they skated well. This is, it's a heavy schedule for us, and we're going into our fourth game tomorrow against a really good team, and four games in six nights, so we're going to be challenged again in all areas, and we've just got to suck it up and battle through it."
The Bruins haven't beaten the Rangers this season, getting blanked 3-0 in their last game, Feb. 13 at Boston. While the Bruins know that Sunday could be a statement game, they're treating each one that way from now until the playoffs.
"I think every game right now is a big game," forward Tyler Seguin said. "It's that time of the season now where we need our team to get hot again and get some consistency going into the playoffs. I don't think we can go into the playoffs and just snap your fingers and be a good team, so we need to lead up to it and find our game."
As for how they can beat the Rangers, the Bruins know that they must get shots through to the net and then figure out a way to beat the current Vezina Trophy favorite in Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist.
"That's the big thing with the Rangers, they block everything and don't really care what body parts they do it with," Seguin said. "We know that and we've seen it so it's just about getting pucks through and facing one of the best goalies in the world. We know we have to get a guy in front and make sure we poke in those loose pucks."
With Rask and Daniel Paille -- who suffered an undisclosed injury in the third period and didn't make the trip to New York -- joining defenseman Andrew Ference (lower body), Nathan Horton (concussion) and Rich Peverley (knee) on the injury list, the Bruins are going to have to rally together more than ever to dig down deep to find their game again. It will have to start against the best team in the East.
"It's difficult when key guys are out of the lineup, and we've had key guys out of the lineup in the past few seasons and it's given an opportunity for other guys to step up," forward Milan Lucic said. "We're not pointing fingers at anyone, I think it's a group effort.
"Everyone has to step up a little bit more and do a little bit more and try to fill that void."