BOSTON -- Milan Lucic made his way through a crowd of reporters huddled around his locker in the Boston Bruins dressing room Wednesday night, and the anger was pouring off of him like water and gathering in a pool at his feet.
And the pool was knee deep.
Lucic had just seen his team's season come to a premature end against a Montreal Canadiens team he openly admitted he hated prior to the start of this Eastern Conference Second Round series.
Standing there with cameras and microphones coming at him from every direction to catch his every word, that hate was still there.
In a sense, Lucic's hatred of the Canadiens epitomized why the Bruins lost the series, and why their 2013-14 season will be remembered for winning the Presidents' Trophy and not the Stanley Cup.
Lucic scored one goal, into an empty net, in seven games against Montreal. His center, David Krejci, didn't score any, and his opposite wing, Jarome Iginla, scored three times, once at even strength.
That is one even-strength goal in seven games from the Bruins' top forward line.
As the lack of production and defensive mistakes continued throughout the series, the Bruins consistently spoke of how important it was to simply play their game; if they did, everything would be fine, they said. From Bruins coach Claude Julien down to the players, that was the message: Bruins hockey will beat the Canadiens if they are able to execute it properly.
Not once did anyone on the Bruins admit that maybe, just maybe, something the Canadiens were doing was preventing them from playing their game.
Not until it was too late.
"They played well; you have to give them credit," Bruins defenseman Johnny Boychuk said following Boston's 3-1 loss in Game 7 on Wednesday. "They played well and they capitalized on their chances and now they're moving on."