Julien: Been a 'hard, clean, physical series'

Julien: Been a 'hard, clean, physical series'
May 10, 2013, 3:00 pm
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(Associated Press)

BOSTON -- The Bruins and Maple Leafs certainly have their share of cuts, bumps and bruises from four intensely physical playoff games leading into Friday night’s Game 5 at TD Garden.

Milan Lucic has a giant stitched up gash above his right eye with the proper shiner that’s swollen his eye half-shut, and Chris Kelly is sporting his own stitched up cut underneath his right around with the swollen cheek after catching a high stick. While they’re clearly painful, they are also playoff badges for a group of Bruins players that have been through these battles many times over the last six seasons.

Wade Redden has a less obvious injury following Wednesday night’s overtime win, but will actually miss Game 5 against Toronto.

Clearly, the Leafs are in the same boat with defenseman Mark Fraser likely done for the series after needing surgery to repair broken bones in his face following a Lucic shot off his forehead. The body checks have been up and the physicality has been a good barometer for which team is truly bringing it that night, but Claude Julien was pleased that nobody has gone over the edge in the series.

“It’s been physical, there’s no doubt about that,” said Julien. “I think everybody realizes that it’s been a hard, clean, physical series. There haven’t been many cheap shots, or there weren’t that many cheap shots so far. That’s the way both teams have played.

“As much as there’s a serious competition here, there’s also a mutual respect between the two teams and respect that both sides are playing hard right now. I think our team has played well and hard, and so have [the Leafs]. That’s why they’ve been tight games through the series.”

The closest things to dirty hits would have to be the Andrew Ference check to Mikhail Grabovski’s head and the Dion Phaneuf hit that finished high on Daniel Paille – and who can forget about the James van Riemsdyk spears to the “privates” of Brad Marchand – but that’s pretty standard for a Stanley Cup playoff series.

It remains to be seen if that changes for the series’ first elimination game on Friday night with the Bruins holding a commanding 3-1 lead over the Leafs.