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Playoff Exit to Washington in the Past

by Caryn Switaj / Boston Bruins

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WASHINGTON, D.C. - The 2011-12 season didn't end so well for the Bruins, who were shocked at their early first round exit from the playoffs thanks to an overtime goal from Washington's Joel Ward, after heading in as the defending Stanley Cup champs.

"Again, it’s sports; for sure it’s a tough one, but that’s the way it is," Captain Zdeno Chara had wrestled out following the Game 7 loss to the Washington Capitals on April 25, 2012, with a quiet, disappointed locker room surrounding him.

Fast forward to March 5, 2013, and while at the time, the loss was backbreaking, it's hardly a blip on the B's radar now, as they prepare to face off against the Capitals for the first time since that night.

"It’s been so long now, that I haven’t even thought about it until now," Daniel Paille said following the B's morning skate at the Verizon Center. "I think most of the guys realize what happened last year and are over it."

"We have been waiting for this opportunity to start the season again," Paille added, on the new season series that kicks off tonight.

While the B's are keen on staying in the moment within games and from match-up to match-up, and it would be easy for them to have already put last season's loss in the past, you'd have to think that there might be even a tiny bit of extra motivation, right?

"I think if there’s motivation there, [it's] because of who’s on that team, and how good they can be," the always even-keeled Paille told me. "I think that’s all we think about at this point."

While Tuukka Rask was not between the pipes in that series, he acknowledged there might be an extra spark between the two squads.

"I guess, at some level. Not for me, I didn’t play," said Rask, matter-of-factly, at any increased motivation for his teammates and himself. "They kicked us out of the playoffs, so it creates some kind of battle between the two teams."

With the puck about to drop on the new series, the B's are hoping to get off to a good start against a Caps team that has had their numbers the past few years.

Washington took the 2011-12 season series 3-1-0, and has won three of the past four season series against Boston, earning an 11-4-2 record in the last 17 regular-season meetings between the two teams. Not to mention the four wins in the playoff series to close the door on 2011-12 for the B's.

"It’s been a long time – it feels like a long time, believe it or not," Coach Julien told media prior to tonight's match-up. "But, nonetheless, there’s something there for both teams. It’s how we ended our season last year, against them. Certainly would like to have a better outing."

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