In the wake of the Montreal Canadiens' decisive win in their Stanley Cup semi-final series, the reaction of the Philadelphia Flyers can be summed up as, okay, now you've really made us mad.
The Flyers admitted Friday the Canadiens, bolstered by their raucous fans at the Bell Centre, beat them at their own game. They were the ones beating the Flyers to the puck or knocking them off it. And, worst of all, they were the ones initiating and winning the intimidation game.
"They beat the other two teams [Washington Capitals and Pittsburgh Penguins] because they kind of intimidated them and went after them," Flyers goaltender Michael Leighton said. "That's what they did to us [Thursday]
"They had a couple guys who were mouthing our players all game and were in our face. That's the last thing we should be worried about. We feel we obviously have a tougher team than them, so that's something we can't get caught up in."
Leighton was referring to Canadiens forwards Mike Cammalleri and Maxim Lapierre. Cammalleri upset the Flyers by sticking his tongue out at their own pest, Daniel Carcillo.
They also took umbrage at Canadiens coach Jacques Martin for sending out his top power-play unit for a two-man advantage late in the game that produced a goal with 31 seconds left which made the score 5-1.
Carcillo is hardly a candidate for the NHL's Lady Byng Trophy. But there he was Friday registering his outrage at Cammalleri's somewhat juvenile insult and accusing him of only acting tough in his own backyard because he had 21,273 screaming friends behind him.
"It's embarrassing, it's embarrassing," Carcillo said, evidently forgetting his own hammy dying-swan routine earlier in the playoffs in an attempt to convince the referees a phantom high stick was a lethal assault.
Carcillo also thought Cammalleri's gesture was "weird."
"He's a homer and we knew that coming back here he would have jump and Lapierre would have jump and we just weren't very good," Carcillo added.
Aside from vowing to take back the physical edge in Game 4 on Saturday afternoon to prevent the Canadiens from tying the series, the Flyers plan to get their own Katzenjammer Kid back in the lineup. Winger Ian Laperrière, who has been out with a brain contusion since the first round, is expected to play on a line with Blair Betts and Darroll Powe. He may be a Montreal native but by the end of the game on Saturday, the Flyers expect Laperrière to be the most hated man at the Bell Centre.
"He talks a lot, in the dressing room and on the ice," Flyers centre Daniel Brière said of Laperrière. "He's tough to play against. He's a great penalty killer; he finishes his checks."
Flyers forward Simon Gagné offered a more graphic tribute: "He's a player made for the playoffs. He blocks shots with his body but also with his face."
By the end of Thursday's game, the Flyers and Canadiens were engaging in long scrums after whistles. The Flyers admitted they lost their composure. In winning back the physical aspect of the series, Brière said, they have to be careful not to get carried away.
"I think as the series moves along there is more and more hate from each side," he said. "Things like that are bound to happen at some part.
"We have a lot of guys who are good in that department that as well. We have to be careful not letting the guys who are doing that to take control of the game, take control of the emotion on our team."
However, the Flyers will go into Saturday's game with a simmering anger. Flyers captain Mike Richards said they will not easily forget the slight of the Canadiens rubbing it in with that late power-play goal.
"I'm not sure what they were trying to do," he said. "Obviously, score is the first thing. Maybe stick it to us a little bit because we were running around a bit. But karma sometimes comes back to you, too, at some point.
"Hopefully, we can use that bitter taste in the mouth from them trying to do that and channel it into energy that we can use in a positive way."