(Nick Wass/AP)

Karl Alzner’s taunt of Milan Lucic in Game 3 was the type of thing that can only fuel a playoff rivalry: A typically mild-mannered defenseman gets fired up and chirps a rough-and-tumble opponent after a post-wistle fracas.

After video clips and animated GIFs of Alzner wiping away faux tears made the rounds online during the Capitals’ scheduled off day Tuesday, the blueliner had a chance to clarify the motion’s meaning on Wednesday.

Alzner said he was reaction to the Bruins’ complaints about the officiating, not calling Lucic a crybaby.

“We all know he’s one of the toughest guys in the league. It was more just a lot of guys complaining about calls out there, and there’s nothing we can do about the calls once they’re made,” Alzner said. “I think a lot of people took it the wrong way. Things happen in playoffs that sometimes you go a little too far. It’s just funny that it got caught on camera and everything. It was more than it was meant to be. Guys get intense and heated and I’m sure he understands.”

So what did he say after that scrum?

“The words were just, ‘Stop complaining.’ That’s all it was,” Alzner said. “Just stop complaining about the calls because it happened for both of us. You do your best not to complain, but you get frustrated.”

Alzner and Lucic are both British Columbia natives, they played both with and against each other when they were kids, though they aren’t particularly close friends now. The Capitals defenseman made it clear he – of 63 penalty minutes in 215 NHL games – wouldn’t want to tangle with Lucic, who has 525 penalty minutes in 359 NHL games.

“He’s got to be top 10 toughest guys, pound for pound, in the league. Everybody knows that,” Alzner said. “He would not be a guy that I would fight.”

More on the Capitals:
It’s gloves off in the NHL as playoffs turn violent
— Wise: NHL fails to control intimidation tactics
Capitals, Bruins exchange verbal barbs