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History at stake for Bruins, Flyers

WILMINGTON, Mass. — Now the Bruins know how the Flyers felt the past week. Win or put away the skates for the season.

Like the Flyers after they lost the first three games of their Eastern Conference semifinal, the Bruins are determined not to let three straight losses affect them in tonight's Game 7. Neither team has leeway anymore.

The Bruins showed calmness and spoke confidently after a nearly hour-long practice Thursday. Barely 12 hours earlier, that practice became necessary with the Flyers' 2-1 Game 6 win.

"They've had their season on the line the last three games, and they've had an extra gear that we didn't match," defenseman Dennis Wideman said. "Now our season's on the line, so, hopefully, we have that extra gear."

Only three teams in NHL, NBA and Major League Baseball history have won a seven-game series after losing the first three: the 1942 Maple Leafs, the 1975 Islanders and the 2004 Red Sox. The Flyers are the first NHL team since those Islanders to even force a Game 7 after trailing 3-0.

"You have to embrace it. You have to welcome that challenge," Flyers forward Danny Briere said. "If we win (tonight), it will be really special. If we don't win, it won't mean much."

The Bruins played well for much of Game 6, but their checklist for the finale is long: get off to a better start, put more traffic in front of goalie Michael Leighton, forecheck better, pounce on rebounds and spread out their offense in the attacking zone to minimize blocked shots.

"We're approaching (tonight's) game with lots of confidence," Bruins center Patrice Bergeron said. "We know we're a good team. … We're not scared at all."

The Flyers must play with the same sense of desperation they had in the past three games.

"I don't think there's a whole lot of momentum in the series," Flyers and former Lightning defenseman Matt Carle said. "I think we're going to approach this almost like Game 5. That was a do-or-die game at the time, but their desperation level will be right up there with ours."

Montreal riots: Forty-one people were arrested in the mayhem after the Canadiens' Game 7 victory over the Penguins in the East semifinals Wednesday. Some stores were looted, and police fired tear gas at hundreds of bottle-throwers. Those arrested were charged with breaking and entering, theft, assault and public mischief, police chief inspector Sylvain Lemay said. Police estimated as many as 50,000 people took part in celebration outside the downtown arena, where fans watched on giant screens as the game was played in Pittsburgh. The scene was not as chaotic as it was two years ago when cars were burned and stores were trashed and looted after the Canadiens beat Boston in the first round of the playoffs. There also were riots after Montreal's Stanley Cup victories in 1986 and 1993.

Coyotes-'canes trade: Phoenix traded the rights to forward Jared Staal, 19, to Carolina, where his brother Eric is the captain, for a fifth-round pick in next month's draft. Jared, who played in the Ontario Hockey League this season, also has two other brothers in the league: Penguins center Jordan and Rangers defenseman Marc. Jared was a second-round Coyotes draft pick in 2008.

World championship: Defending champion Russia beat Belarus 3-1 in Cologne, Germany, to sweep its three group matches. Alex Ovechkin scored his third goal of the tournament, and Capitals teammate Semyon Varlamov had 19 saves in his first action for Russia. Slovakia secured second place in Group A with a 5-1 win over Kazakhstan.

In Group C, Sweden lost 2-1 to the Czech Republic but won the group. Combined with Norway's 5-1 over France, the result gave Sweden, the Czechs and Norway spots in the second round.

"Coming into the second round, we've got to prove to ourselves that we can win the hard games," said Swedish and Lightning defenseman Victor Hedman, who played 21:02 (second on the team behind former NHL defenseman Magnus Johansson), had four shots and was even for the game.

France lost all three games and joins the United States, Italy and Kazakhstan in the relegation round.

History at stake for Bruins, Flyers 05/13/10 [Last modified: Thursday, May 13, 2010 10:57pm]
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