WASHINGTON, D.C. The Bruins arent hunkered down in a bunker incapable of observing whats going on in the playoffs around them.
While the Penguins-Flyers and Senators-Rangers playoff series have been flowing with hatred from the drop of the first puck and they have the suspensions to show for it the Bruins know that goals arent the only things missing from their series with Washington.
Both the Bruins and Capitals have had brief dalliances with nastiness: Alex Ovechkin cross-checking Dennis Seidenberg in the face and Jay Beagle butt-ending David Krejci in the mouth off a center-ice face-off come to mind.
But the Bruins and Capitals seem to be on their best behavior for the most part, and that isnt necessarily playing to Bostons strength. The Bs have been renowned for their intimidating ways and ability to instill fear in their opponents.
Emotional catalysts in Milan Lucic and Brad Marchand both have been fairly quiet through the first two games of the series.
Claude Julien said hes watched many of the other games from a tactical standpoint and also from the standpoint of being a hockey fan. He admitted that perhaps the Bruins-Capitals has another notch it can reach in bone-rattling intensity.
This is a time of year where you watch everything you can. You stay up late at night watching because its interesting. You dont just watch it for reasons of homework. Its a great time of year to be watching hockey, said Julien. Obviously theres a lot of intensity in some of those series, and its about rivalries. It gets amped up to the point where its borderline with some of the rough stuff.
I tip my hat to the refs. When you watch from a spectators view then you see how tough it is. To come out there and try to identity who is shorthanded and who is a culprit isnt easy. I know that in some ways our series hasnt been as physical . . . it may or may not become that physical. But were aware that discipline is a big key in this series, and I think both teams understand that.
Krejci clearly has felt the intensity of the series. He got stitches above his mouth where Beagles stick ripped his face open, and that's not to mention the with a 120-pound pane of glass that bonked him on the head after Game One.
Now Krejci isn't one to really mix things up physically, but even he knows the Bruins can reach down for another level of emotion. He knows that some of the cute, soft forward play should transform into something much harder and more unforgiving.
I think its been intense. We try to put on the skates and go out there. Some series are tougher than others, but at the end of the day you want to get the win, said Krejci. You dont care how; you just dont get the results.
People talk a lot about the Philadelphia-Pittsburgh series and maybe theyre overlooking ours. Im sure there were some cheap things there, but whatever. Its playoff hockey and teams are doing whatever they can to be the winning team.
What the Bruins dont want is a repeat of three years ago. Boston couldnt get their hate on against the Carolina Hurricanes until it was too late in the series. Theres always appeared to be a blueprint for victory if an opponent can keep the sleeping Black and Gold giants from waking, and the Capitals are following that strategy to perfection while selling out for everything in the defensive zone.
With accusations that the Bruins are playing too cute and perhaps a tad soft in the offensive zone, there may not be much more Mr. Nice Guy coming from the Boston end of things as they enter a hostile environment on the road.
And thats a very good thing.