Heading into the second round series between the Boston and Montreal, the favoured Bruins were doing plenty of talking through the media to spur up the hatred.
Now with the series tied at one after two exciting games in Boston and headed to what promises to be a raucous Bell Centre, the Canadiens jumped into the fray with some verbal barbs of their own on Monday.
After being stonewalled by Canadiens goalie Carey Price in Game 1 - when he made 48 saves to help his team steal one with a 4-3 double overtime win - and then finding themselves down 3-1 halfway through the third period of Game 2, the Bruins scored three goals in 5:32 to take a 4-3 lead en route to a 5-3 win.
Following the game, Bruins defenceman Dougie Hamilton and Torey Krug told the media they believed they've solved the Canadiens' gold-medal winning netminder.
"I think we've definitely noticed that when he's screened, he's looking low," said Hamilton who scored first in the three-goal outburst late in Game 2. "He gets really low, so it seems like we score a lot of goals up high when we have net front presence. I don't know if we're really trying [to do that], but we've definitely noticed that. When we can get our shots through their defenceman – especially the ones trying to block it -- we have a really good chance of getting it in."
"It seems like almost all of the goals so far have gone to the upper half of the net," added Krug.
Following practice on Monday, the Canadiens were quick to brush the Bruins' analysis of Price aside, with head coach Michel Therrien claiming it was just another example of his counterpart Claude Julien and the Bruins trying to get under the skin of an opposing goalie.
Early in the 2013 Stanley Cup Final, the Bruins scored frequently on the glove side of Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford and weren't shy about telling the media that they were exposing Crawford's weakness.
Ironically, Crawford's goalie coach then was current Montreal goalie coach Stephane Waite and Therrien believes the Bruins are playing the same mind games as the series switches to the Bell Centre.
"Well we all remember last year and Stephane Waite remember it more than anyone else that they make the same comments when they went into the playoffs and the Stanley Cup final with the Chicago Blackhawks and talking about about Corey Crawford," Therrien pointed out Monday. "That's part of their game and their thinking. They try to put pressure on the other team with the media."
Price seemed to find Hamilton's and Krug's comments almost comical. He pointed out that shooting high through traffic in front of the net is a common objective of most teams and players.
"I've seen a lot of scouting reports on lots of goalies throughout the league and that's pretty much the scouting report on everybody," Price said. "It's the same for Tuukka [Rask], it's the same for Ben Bishop and it's the same for Corey Crawford. So it's a pretty irrelevant comment I thought."
Price was then asked if this was just another example of the Bruins trying to wage a verbal war through the media.
"Sure. I don't know," Price said laughing. "I guess. But like I said, they can try it but it's going to be no different.
Like I said, that's essentially how most goals are scored this time of year in this league so that's essentially a generic comment."
During Game 2, the Bruins took a bench minor due to Julien expressing his displeasure with some calls against his team and what he felt were a lack of calls against the Canadiens. When asked about his team's ability to rally for the win, the Bruins bench boss took what appeared to be a little jab at the officiating.
"I think especially the way it happened - we had that tough second period and at the start of the third, they got that other power play goal, but the way we just battled back through, I felt, a lot of crap that we put up with today, was pretty indicative of what our team's all about," Julien said. "It just shows that if you focus on the things you need to focus on, there's a pretty good team that can accomplish a lot."
The 'crap' part didn't go unnoticed by Therrien and on Monday he called his counterpart out.
"It's the same thing with Claude. He's not happy with all that ‘crap,'" he said. "I thought they got away with a lot of things as far as I'm concerned, but they try and influence referees. That's the way they are. That's not going to change. That's the way they like to do their things. But for us, we're not paying attention to those things. We all know what they're trying to do but it doesn't affect us at all."
Therrien went on to say his team isn't going to focus on more retaliation through the media but rather to stay focused on their game plan on the ice.
"We want to play hard and honestly we all understand the discipline is really crucial," he said. "Whatever comments they make on us, I'm not a coach that's going to start making comments the other way. It's never been my philosophy. I don't like that. They can say whatever they want. It's their choice. But we know what we have to do to get success."
That may very well be true, but the Canadiens made it clear Monday that they also don't plan to let every verbal jab from the Bruins go unheeded.
James Murphy is a freelance reporter who also writes for NHL.com, the Boston Herald and XNsports.com. He covered the Boston Bruins/NHL for last 11 seasons writing for ESPNBoston.com, ESPN.com, NHL.com, NESN.com, the Boston Metro, Insidehockey.com and Le Hockey Magazine. Murphy also currently hosts the radio show "Murphy's Hockey Law" heard Saturdays 9-11 AM ET on Sirius/XM NHL Network Radio and 4-6 PM ET on Websportsmedia.com. In addition to that, he is a regular guest TSN 690 in Montreal and Sirius/XM NHL Network Radio as well as a hockey analyst on CTV Montreal.