BOSTON -- If the Boston Bruins hadn't lowered the boom on their first-round Stanley Cup playoff opponent in Game 2, this series could have taken an ugly turn for the team with the best record in the NHL.
Fortunately for the Bruins, they played with more bite and more fight, and that physical presence led them to a 4-1 win over the Detroit Red Wings on Sunday at TD Garden.
In Game 1 on Friday, the Bruins were hesitant with their physical game. They lost puck battles and were outworked in the corners and along the walls for the majority of the game, and it resulted in Detroit beating Boston, 1-0.
The Bruins wouldn't use their four-day layoff as an excuse for their inability to create that physical style of play in Game 1, but they stressed the need to emphasize their physicality prior to Game 2 and it was much more noticeable as they evened the series at one game apiece.
"It's important for us to really grasp what we did tonight and really bottle that up and know that's what it's going to take to beat this team," Bruins coach Claude Julien said. "They're labeled an eighth seed, but let's not kid ourselves."
With the reputation as a speedy, crafty and finesse team, the Red Wings entered the series knowing they couldn't match Boston's size and strength. Detroit's calm mentality worked to its advantage in Game 1.
That game plan was even evident during on the off-day on Saturday. After Bruins forward Milan Lucic was fined $5,000 for spearing Red Wings defenseman Danny DeKeyser in the groin area, Detroit downplayed the situation, saying it was just part of the game. Neither Red Wings coach Mike Babcock nor DeKeyser would say anything that might get the Bruins riled up.
Detroit knows if it allows Boston to get is anger up, it won't bode well for the Red Wings.
"I don't know if anyone wants to piss us off," Bruins forward Shawn Thornton said prior to Sunday's game. "It shouldn't matter. We've got to play our game no matter what they've got on the other side. That means bringing emotion and intensity. We've got to be physical but we've got to play the game too, so I don't think that changes. It's playoff time, we should just be playing our game.
"You don't need that. Everyone talks about it because of the way we're built that we play better when we're a little pissed off, but playoff hockey, if you can't get yourself going there's something wrong. You shouldn't need a ton of animosity to motivate yourself this time of year."
The Bruins obviously needed more bite to their game because they brought more of it en route to their Game 2 victory. Boston won many more of the puck battles and made sure they produced more teeth-shattering hits than it did in Game 1.
Bruins forward Brad Marchand was chirping and getting into the face of Red Wings veteran Pavel Datsyuk, who scored Detroit's lone goal in Game 1. Boston's David Krejci was using his stick a bit more to jab at the opponent. Lucic was his normal nasty self.