Last season, the Boston Bruins didn’t beat the Montreal Canadiens once in eight meetings during the regular season but still pushed the Habs to seven games in a spring playoff series.
So now that Washington has taken three out of four games from the Bruins — after yesterday’s 4-3 overtime win at TD Banknorth Garden — some are speculating that might give the Caps a competitive edge should the two squads, who are No. 1 and 2 in the Eastern Conference, meet in the postseason.
Bruins head coach Claude Julien shot that down in a hurry after his team’s loss.
“I’ve heard them say that they think they’re in our heads. They do a lot of talking and they obviously don’t do a lot of research,” said Julien, whose team was only outscored, 11-8, by the Caps. “Because as I mentioned, I don’t think that really rattled us last year against Montreal when it came down to playoff time. So it’s a totally different thing. The one-goal games could’ve gone either way. So if anything, it’s two good teams going at each other. By all means, I don’t think that they scare us to that point.”
There’s no telling what media outlets Julien frequents and where he picked up on the trash talk from the Caps. The best I could find was this quote in Saturday morning’s Washington Post from Caps forward Brooks Laich:
“If we win (today), now we’re 3-0-1 against them for the season. Maybe they finish ahead of us, maybe they don’t.
“But now they’re wondering, you know, ‘We can’t beat those guys.”
Whether that’s the quote that ticked off Julien, I don’t know. But he should know that after his team’s win, Washington head coach Bruce Boudreau was diplomatic about any advantage his team may now own.
“I don’t think it gives us any advantage but it does give us the thought that over four games so far we’ve been able to compete with maybe the best team in the league,” he said. “They’ve always had a couple of injuries, we’ve always had one or two guys out, so if it gets down to the (conference) finals, which is the only place where we might meet them, if we’re lucky enough to get there, it would probably be a good series.”