Several Bruins slowed by flu bug

BOSTON -- It was a bad night all around for the Boston Bruins.

Not only did their successful retribution on the Penguins' Matt Cooke for his season-ending hit on Marc Savard go for naught with a 3-0 loss to Pittsburgh at the Garden, the flu bug has made its way into the locker room and has wreaked havoc on a half-dozen players so far.

Defenseman Johnny Boychuk did not play because of the illness, but defenseman Dennis Wideman and forward Blake Wheeler were able to fight through it and play a full game. Marco Sturm played, but was taken off the ice after a total of just 14 shifts and 11 minutes of playing time.

"The thing that really didn't help us tonight is the fact we had four or five players really battling the flu," said coach Claude Julien. "We had guys on intravenous before the game. We didn't have the energy, there's no doubt there.

"You could see guys coming back to the bench, hanging their heads with no energy. At the same time we couldn't make plays. It seemed to go hand in hand. I'm not making excuses for our poor outing. It wasn't a very good hockey game. We certainly defended our teammate well, but the other part of the game wasn't there."

With such a short bench, the Bruins recalled defenseman Jeff Penner and forward Trent Whitfield from Providence earlier in the day for emergency purposes, but neither dressed for the game.

Boston defenseman Andrew Ference, who has been out since March 2 with a groin injury, was thrust into action against the Penguins because of the short bench. He played a total of 14 minutes.

"For a guy who hadn't played in a month, I thought he did well," said Julien. "He wasn't any worse than anybody else out there."

Julien gave his players Friday off to rest and get healthy before returning to practice on Saturday in preparation for a game with the Rangers on Sunday afternoon at the Garden.

"We have to make sure that this game woke us up a little bit, and we have to play at least 10 times better than we did tonight," said the Bruins' Milan Lucic.