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It might be time to worry about the Bruins

Marty Turco, Tim Thomas

Boston Bruins goalie Marty Turco, left, is replaced in goal by Tim Thomas during the first period of an NHL hockey game against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Tuesday, March 13, 2012, in Tampa, Fla. (AP Photo/Mike Carlson)


In case you haven’t noticed, times are tough for the defending champs these days. The Boston Bruins are mired in a funk of sorts that reminds people of the Stanley Cup hangover they started the year off with, but this one is different.

Just once since mid-January have the Bruins won consecutive games (on March 6 and 8 against the Leafs and Sabres) and they’ve been bitten rather cruelly by the injury bug of late. Nathan Horton, Rich Peverley, Adam McQuaid, and Tuukka Rask are all injured in some form while others have dodged their own issues lately.

After seeing Marty Turco and Tim Thomas get bombed on by the Lightning last night, there’s something really wrong with the Bruins and coach Claude Julien tells’s Joe Haggerty that their big problem now is fatigue.

“The thing that keeps coming up right now – and the thing I can sense – is that fatigue is setting in,” said Julien of a team that has played a lot of hockey over the last two seasons. “It’s the biggest challenge I have now. We’re not playing well and you’ve got the fatigue factor, too.”

Being tired isn’t an excuse fans want to hear, nor is it one that other teams will accept when going up against them. Being the defending champs means everyone is coming after you every night, tired or not. The injuries stink, but again, all teams deal with them.

Whatever the root of the problem is for Boston, they have to get it figured out soon. The Ottawa Senators are just two points behind them for the Northeast Division lead entering tonight’s game against Montreal and with how consistent they’ve been, it’s possible the Bruins could wind up on the road in the first round.