Providence Bruins Opening Weekend Preview

Leachy(Photo Courtesy Of Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe  |  Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

“I’m Back!!!!!”

Yes, that’s right, its finally here, the time we have all been waiting for, Providence Bruins Opening Weekend. Tonight, the Baby B’s first regular season game will be on the road hosted by the Hartford Wolf Pack, but never fear — AHLtv is here! Thanks to the AHLtv free weekend offer everyone can watch the very first regular season game of the year even though it’s away.  If you crave more than televised hockey and need to be live and in person, Saturday night is for you. The Providence Bruins host the home opener against the Laval Rocket, and there are seats still available. So, come and join me as we cheer on the Baby B’s in their fight against the Baby Habs. That is going to be fun.

Wolfpack(Image Courtesy Of Hartford Wolf Pack)

Friday, October 5: Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

Tonight’s matchup against Hartford should be interesting as the stats for the past season show a fairly even split. Last season the Wolf Pack finished 6th in the Eastern Division two behind our fourth-ranked Bruins. Hartford had 11 fewer marks in the win column than the Bruins overall, but they draw level when you consider they have the home field advantage here. Providence has a 50% away win percentage and Hartford matches that with their home ice win percentage. Last season the Bruins took away 6 W’s in the 10 meetings, one of which came in overtime and a second in a shootout. With a record as tight as this, I am sure both teams will be giving it their all this evening. An additional point of interest to tonight’s matchup is former P-Bruin Rob O’Gara, now a member of the Wolf Pack, who will be skating against his old teammates for the first time.

Laval Rocket(Image Courtesy of Laval Rocket)

Saturday, October 6: Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (HOME)

Saturday’s game against the Laval Rocket looks to be a bird of a different feather. Laval came in last in their division, their conference, and the league this previous season.  While we do not share a division (they are North, and we are Atlantic), we do share a conference so the comparison there is Providence Bruins coming in at 6th and 7th with 45 Wins and Laval coming in at 15th and 30th with 24 Wins (conference and league respectively).  We have beaten Laval both times we played them last season and this week does not look to be any different. However, this does NOT mean we sit back and take it easy. If we get lazy and get sloppy, that is when we lose … just ask the Patriots after their loss to the Lions. (I mean the Lions, really?!? This coming from a girl born and raised in Michigan.) Seriously though, even with overwhelmingly positive odds, the boys will need to keep their heads up,  their sticks down and remember to use their hockey sense. Former Bruin of the night for Saturday is Kenny Agostino. Now a Rocket, it will be Kenny’s first time skating in Providence without the Spoked-P.

Providence Bruins(Image Courtesy Of Providence Bruins)

Sure to be absent on the ice this weekend are David Broll and possibly Colby Cave. Broll is out for at least four weeks due to hand and wrist injuries sustained in his brawl last weekend against Springfield. Cave is out for a personal matter and is questionable for a Saturday return. Other question marks lie with Cody Goloubef and Jesse Gabrielle who have both been nursing upper-body injuries but have been seen skating before practices this week.

No official word on starting line-ups for tonight or tomorrow, but best guesses are we will see lines similar to what Mark Divver has tweeted out for practice lines this week.  Mark, a journalist at the Providence Journal, has been keeping an eye on practice all week and reported the practice lines this week as of yesterday like this:

Fitzgerald-Swartz-Cehlarik

Hughes-JFK-McNeill

Kuhlman-Frederic-Senyshyn

Blidh-Koppanen/Pond-Fyten

On the blue line, I would look for Wiley Sherman, Jakub Zboril, and Connor Clifton to make a solid showing this weekend. The defensive pairings Mark suggested we might see tonight are: Breen-Zboril / Lauzon-Clifton / Johansson-Sherman. The netminder situation is a little more solid.  With two very strong goalies and the plan to rotate them throughout the season, Jay Leach suggested we will see McIntyre in net tonight, and I would imagine that means Vladar manning the pipes on Saturday.

Two goalies(Image Courtesy of Jen Stasio Coombe)

If you are concerned that this year is going to be lackluster, let me assure you it will be far from that. Last season, McIntyre served up 7 shutouts and is only 2 shutouts away from tying the Providence career record highs of Tim Thomas and Hannu Toivonen at 11. Let’s not stop there though, with only 7 more wins Zane will overtake the franchise record of victories in net, currently held by John Grahame at 67. Because naturally, we like things to come in threes, the third record set this season could be by Jordan Szwarz.  A 20-goal season will make Jordan one of only 5 Bruins in Providence history to have three 20+ goal seasons. There is a lot to look forward to. It should be a fun and exciting season, and we are looking to kick the weekend off right. So, remember to tune in tonight and turn up tomorrow to see our Providence Bruins battle it out to make a deep run for the Calder Cup.

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