PITTSBURGH, PA - The Big Bad Bruins came to life on Saturday at TD Garden in a physical 4-1 win over the Washington Capitals. Hitting, checking, fighting, scoring. The charged up game had the B's brand of hockey - and the charged up crowd knew it.
"I think we just needed - I used the word 'emotionally engaged'," Coach Julien told media Sunday morning in Pittsbugh, as he began to describe his Bruins' win over the Caps. "We've kind of been flat lately in regards to that, we were just going out and kind of playing. Yesterday we showed a lot more emotion, that's when our team is better."
"We've got that type of team when our big guys are forechecking and being physical, they turn pucks over and create scoring chances, it just puts a lot of life into our team. I thought yesterday was more to the image of our hockey club."
The Bruins' physical play - and not in regards to the fighting, but the hard checking and hitting game - dictated the game and played a major role in the outcome.
"It's always been a big part of our game, especially when you watch Krech's line out there," Marchand said outside the B's locker room this morning. "If they play that way then they're unstoppable. With Horty and Looch out there, and even Dave gets involved physically, they're a very tough line to stop. You saw it last night, they were everywhere. That played a huge role in that."
The game also saw the Bruins play probably the closest full-game effort they've seen all season.
"Yeah, I think we played more a full 60-minute effort," said Marchand. "We got a lead there early on and stuck with it. We played a full 60-minute effort. Everyone was battling the whole game and we never let up, we never let them back in it. That's what we need out of our team every night."
"It was good to see us play the way that we did, not just our line, I think our whole team played with a lot of emotion and that's what we kind of talked about that was lacking a little bit from our game lately," said Milan Lucic Sunday morning prior to the match-up with Pens.
"You can see on our forecheck, we were hunting the puck down and retrieving it. For our line, I think it all started with that first shift, we played in the offensive zone and finished it off with a big hit by Nathan on Eric Fehr."
Marchand, who engaged Mike Ribeiro for the first fight of the Caps' forward's long NHL career, had a spark of his own in the game.
"It kind of seemed like on those games nothing was really going on for our line and it was just kind of a spur of the moment thing," said the "Little Ball of Hate," but he was praising the physicality from the Krejci line more than his own.
"There's been talk that they haven't played their best, but they've been producing all year," said Marchand. "If you look at the stats, Krech is leading our team in points, Horty's up there in goals, Looch is up there too. I mean they're playing well. We need them to continue to produce every night. We have to do the same, we haven't been as hot lately, we need to step up a little more."
Not long after Marchand spoke, it was Lucic directing the praise towards the pesky winger, as well as his linemate, Nathan Horton and his own physicality against the Caps.
"We're a team that prides itself on sticking up for themselves and sticking up for each other," said Lucic. "When you see guys like that willing to step up and stick up for themselves in that sort of way, when it's an emotional game like that, where it was getting real chippy and knowing that it doesn't have to be the same guys all the time. It's a galvanizing effort."
"They both play with a chip on their shoulder and I think that's what definitely makes them great players."
Saturday's win was certainly a redemption match-up of sorts, following the blown lead in Washington last time around, but today's second game of the back-to-back against Pittsburgh is laced with its own extra motivation.
After holding a 2-0 lead over Sidney Crosby and the Pittsburgh Penguins on Tuesday night, the Bruins saw their cushion quickly evaporate into a 3-2 loss late in the third.
"I think our team is at their best when we're playing with that emotion," said Lucic, before continuing with his big signature smile. "Hopefully that carries over to today because I don't see why we wouldn't have much emotion going into this one after what happened last game."