By Joe Haggerty
BOSTON The Bruins got back to work on Tuesday morning after a lost evening in New York City, where they allowed five consecutive goals -- three in the third period -- and blew a three-goal lead to the Rangers.The game -- fortunately or unfortunately -- brought back memories of a blown 3-0 lead in Game Seven against the Philadelphia Flyers last season, not to mention the blown 30 series lead, and the Bs were picking up the pieces at practice at Ristuccia Arena.Coach Claude Julien distanced himself a bit from the players, whom he maintains strayed from the game plan once they got ahead, and said they'll either finally learn their painful lesson or repeat their mistakes again in the playoffs . . . to disastrous results.There's little question that Boston's effort, with its playoff position assured, wasn't what it should have been.
Thats what happens when you dont respect the game plan, and start playing your own game, said Zdeno Chara. We knew the Rangers werent going to give up because they needed the points. They deserved the win because they were a much hungrier team in the second half of the game.Its a lack of focus and a lack of discipline to respect the game plan. I hope were not coasting. Certainly we have to address that and we did that during practice.The Bs could have pushed for the top seed in the East and sent a thumping message to the Rangers, whom they might just see in the first round of the playoffs -- but none of that happened. Now, with their third seed all but assured and three games left against the Islanders, Senators and Devils, the Bs have to focus on getting back on message and avoiding any more fire-drill chaos in their defensive end once the playoffs arrive.That means curbing Tomas Kaberle of the instinct to anticipate cycles in the corner that never happen, and vacating the net with the enthusiasm of a dog chasing after a thrown tennis ball when it's his responsibility to guard the front.That also means some poise from Tim Thomas to stay in his net and battle rather wandering too far out when he senses his defense breaking down around him.I think we need to learn as a group from the incident against the Rangers, said Julien. Part of it is that you need to respect the game plan for 60 minutes, and we didnt do that. Hopefully we learned a valuable lesson from here until the end of the season and beyond that you cant get too comfortable. "We got comfortable and you could see the level of play slipped a little bit, and before you knew it the damage was done. You have to respect the game plan for 60 minutes. Thats what has made great teams great in the past.It should have been the same lesson learned once the Bs were up 3-0 on the Philadelphia Flyers last season, but apparently class is still in session with these Bruins.We should have never believed that the game was over once we got up 3-0, said Julien, something he could have said during the Philly series last season. If its a lesson learned then itll be a positive thing down the road. If its not then itll come to haunt us because it will happen again. Shawn Thornton practiced without the half-shield off his mask, and said he was hoping to play against the Islanders Wednesday night at TD Garden after missing the last two games with a 40-stitch gash over his right eye.Well figure it out tomorrow. Hes day-to-day and that hasnt changed, said Julien. Well make a determination of whether hes ready to get back into the lineup or night. Chara said following practice that he realized Ryan Callahan was injured after sliding over to block his booming slap shot in the final minutes of New Yorks come-from-behind win over the Bruins. Callahan was diagnosed with a broken ankle on Tuesday morning, and the Bs defenseman voiced concern for a player he respects greatly.Callahan is a top-six guy, yet he still plays with so much heart and grit. You dont see many guys that throw their bodies around to block shots like that, said Chara. He plays the game so hard. You have to respect a guy like that. I heard after the game that hed probably broken a bone, so I just hope that hes okay long term. Every Bruins player was healthy and accounted for on the practice ice, and Michael Ryder was skating with Chris Kelly and Rich Peverley a sign that perhaps Ryder will be getting the nod in the playoffs when combined with 8 minutes of ice time with no power play reps for Tyler Seguin.Ryder is getting better, said Julien. Hes got to continue to work hard. Hopefully hell be a good playoff performer for us because he has been in the past. His stats have been pretty decent. If were going to have some success then were going to need Michael Ryder to be good for us.