BOSTON – The Boston Bruins emerged from a hardfought first-round playoff series convinced that the resilience they showed will help them avoid a repeat of last season’s epic second-round flameout against the Philadelphia Flyers.

Boston squandered a 3-0 series lead to Philadelphia last spring, allowing the Flyers to become just the third team in NHL history to accomplish such a comeback.

The Bruins earned a rematch this year by downing archrival Montreal in the first round, rallying from 2-0 down in the series and 3-1 down in Game 4 before winning a Game 7 after losing two leads.

That performance has Bruins General Manager Peter Chiarelli confident that his team isn’t carrying any baggage from last year’s collapse against the Flyers going into Game 1 on Saturday in Philadelphia.

“I wouldn’t think it would be too much harder than this past series,” Chiarelli said Thursday. “This past series had a terrific amount of hype for a number of reasons and the common denominator for me was the players more or less were calm in their own way for all the series.

“You’d see some frenzies here and there, but they were able to respond after those frenzies and settle things down. I like the way they handled that frenzy and I anticipate the typical playoff environment to this series. Of course, there’s history there from last year.”

History hasn’t been a problem for this Bruins team.

The franchise had never won a playoff series after trailing 2-0. The Bruins’ last three seasons had ended with Game 7 losses. And no team had ever won a seven-game series without scoring a power-play goal (the Bruins were 0 of 21 against the Canadiens).

“We stressed it going into this series,” Chiarelli said of his team’s poise. “You see this quiet confidence and you try and bottle it and have them do it and display it. Maybe that’s (the reason for success) because I thought we showed it.

“Listen, this was a tightly fought series and it could have gone either way. I’ve got to give credit to Montreal because they just kept going. Having said that, we were in three overtime games and we won those three. That’s like the highest pressure point in a playoffs, and we managed to win those three.”


RANGERS: New York will play an exhibition game in the Czech Republic in September, facing HC Sparta Prague as part of the NHL’s push into Europe.

The game will be played Sept. 29 at Tesla Arena. Rangers General Manager Glen Sather called Sparta Prague “one of the most storied franchises in Europe.” The club has been around for more than 100 years.

The Rangers will open their 2011-12 season with two games in Stockholm, against the Los Angeles Kings on Oct. 7 and the Anaheim Ducks on Oct. 8. NHL teams will play four regular-season games in October, in Berlin, Stockholm and Helsinki.


HART TROPHY: Corey Perry of Anaheim, Daniel Sedin of Vancouver and Martin St. Louis of Tampa Bay are finalists for the Hart Trophy given to the NHL’s MVP.

The league announced that the three forwards were the top vote-getters in balloting by the Professional Hockey Writers Association after the regular season.


CANUCKS 1, PREDATORS 0: Roberto Luongo stopped 20 shots as the host Canucks started their best-of-seven series with Nashville by earning a win. Chris Higgins scored the lone goal.