BUFFALO -- In Lindy Ruff's world, sugary coatings are for losers.
And if the Philadelphia Flyers had to be reminded that the Buffalo Sabres coach has no trouble saying what's on his mind, they got it loud and clear Thursday.
The bad blood between the clubs that started to seep out of Game 4 of the Eastern Conference quarterfinal has spilled off the ice and, with the best-of-seven series tied 2-2, they're now officially seeing red.
Ruff was ticked with the view of Flyers captain Mike Richards, who told reporters that the Buffalo players "get away with murder out there" after the Sabres' 1-0 win Wednesday night at HSBC Arena.
"They are really doing a lot of whining," Ruff said of the Flyers. "I did not hear any whining when they had 10 power plays in Philly and I did not hear any whining when the power plays in the first game were lopsided. But all of a sudden there is all of this whining about we're getting away with murder?
"That's a bunch of crap. That's for the media, for the officials to read, that's for 'Here, let's get the next call.'
"Let's just play. We're just playing. There has not been one word about the officiating out of us. But if they want to cry about the officiating, or whine about different calls, go ahead."
With Game 5 looming Friday night at the Wells Fargo Center, the Flyers, it should be noted, have had 21 power plays in the best-of-seven series. That's two more than the allegedly murderous Sabres, who have been blessed with a man advantage on 19 occasions.
Richards, playing through a bad cold, undoubtedly was upset after he was assessed a five-minute major for elbowing the Sabres' Patrick Kaleta near the end of the second period of Game 4. It probably didn't help that he had a glorious chance to tie the game late in the third period, only to see Sabres netminder Ryan Miller sprawl and get his paddle on Richards' attempt.
Miller, who is the first NHL goalie to record two 1-0 shutouts in the same series since Miikka Kiprusoff of the Calgary Flames against the Detroit Red Wings in 2004, figured Richards' words amounted to simple posturing.
"Murder, huh?" Miller said with a chuckle. "He is just trying to start spinning something. He is a smart guy. He has been around a lot and has been through a lot of these battles.
"He knows some attention needs to be drawn to something. I think he is just trying to draw it away from himself. That elbow is something we are trying to stay away from, and he threw it. I know it was Patty Kaleta and he has a reputation, but Patty had not hit him yet, so we don't know what Patty was going to do. He got an elbow in the face.
"I think it is a big smokescreen and Mike is trying to throw everyone off his trail."
Could be, but there's nothing wrong with a large dose of off-ice spice. Washington Capitals coach Bruce Boudreau was a lightning rod for New York Rangers fans Wednesday night after he spoke the truth about decrepit Madison Square Garden and he managed to live through it.
Ruff, we figure, should expect some sort of similar reaction from the Philly fans, who have few peers when it comes to nastiness.
There's one certainty facing the Sabres and Flyers, who now enter into a best-of-three.
"Some games you're going to get the calls, and some games you don't," Sabres forward Nathan Gerbe said. "It's the way it is in the series. It goes both ways."