BOSTON — Hit or be hit. No one on the Canes believes in that adage more than Tuomo Ruutu.
If the second-round playoff series against the Bruins is going to be ultra-physical, the forward is fine with that. If they want to skate, that's fine, too.
"They're a really physical team," Ruutu said today. "For sure, it's going to be physical.
"I think there's some physicality to our team as well, but most of all we have some quickness. I think we can use that to our advantage."
Ruutu, in the playoffs for the first time, led the Canes this season with 228 hits and ranked 10th in the NHL. In Game 4 of the New Jersey series, he had seven hits.
But Ruutu also absorbed some big hits. Midway the third period of Game 7, he was smashed to the boards by the Devils' Patrik Elias and was motionless for a few moments before being helped up and slowly skating to the bench.
"Everybody can have their opinion about that hit but I saw it on the tape and I thought it was kind of dirty," Ruutu said. "I was lucky not to be injured but it looked kind of nasty — face-first into the boards."
Asked if he was briefly knocked out, Ruutu smiled and said, "When you get a hard hit to the head you feel it. After I got to the bench I felt fine, which is good.
"I'm all right. Maybe I'm a little dumber but all right."
Ruutu, who scored his first playoff goal in Game 7, doesn't play dumb when it comes to discussing the Bruins, the top seed in the East. They're big and they're good.
"You look at their forwards, they're skilled and they're pretty fast," he said. "They've pretty much got both — they're tough and physical but they have speed and they can score goals.
"We need to concentrate on what we do. We know they're good, they're physical, they're quick, they're skilled. But I think if we play the style we've been playing late in the regular season and in the playoffs and even get a little better, I think that's the way to beat them."