Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 24 Preview

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( Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 24 of the AHL season is upon us, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 32-22-8-3 (75 points) and 4-3-1-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. Even though the Baby B’s sit firmly in a playoff spot, with a little help they could move up in the standings if they have a good weekend. With only 11 games left in the regular season, now is the time for our boys in black and gold to make their big push in the playoff standings. The weekend hopes to be fruitful as the Providence club comes home for two games before embarking on another three-game road trip.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, March 22, 2019, when the Belleville Senators invade the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The hockey action continues Saturday, March 23, 2019, when Binghamton Devils roll into town hoping to conjure up a W at the Dunk. After the weekend of home cooking, the Providence Bruins head out on the highway and take on the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins on Wednesday, March 27, 2019, at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. It should be an exciting weekend of hockey that you are not going to want to miss.

Friday, March 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Belleville Senators (HOME)

The Friday showdown will mark the second time the Bruins take on Belleville this season. The Senators are in the North Division, so because of that they only play each other twice a year once at home and once on the road. In the first match-up, the Bruins fell 3-2 getting goals from Connor Clifton and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Dan Vladar was adequate in net turning away 20 of the 23 shots that were fired his way. The Belleville Senators come into the match-up 33-25-3-5 (74 points) and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the North Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other very much because of being in different divisions, but the baby B’s are 1-1-1 against the Ottawa affiliate in that time frame.

As with most games, situational scoring is going to be very important to whoever wins this game. When leading after two periods, the Belleville Senators are 23-0-0-1. Meanwhile, when losing after two periods, the Ottawa affiliate is 5-21-0-2. The Providence Bruins, on the other hand, are 25-3-2-2 when they have a lead after the second period, and a record of 4-18-3 when down after two. Speaking of situational scoring, special teams will also play a major role in the game. The Sens have a power play percentage of 19.2% this is good for sixth in the Eastern Conference. They’ve scored 53 power play goals and 211 goals overall on the season. This means 25.1% of their goals have come with the man advantage. On top of that, they’ve only given up three shorthanded goals on the year. Meanwhile, the Baby B’s have the third-best penalty kill in the Eastern Conference at 85.7% and have scored 10 shorthanded goals, which is fifth in the East.

The Boston affiliate, meanwhile, has a power play percentage of 17.2% which is good for 12th in the East. They’ve also given up the second most shorthanded goals in the East at 13. The Senators’ penalty kill is at 75.9% this is last in the Eastern Conference, and they’ve had eight shorthanded goals. If the Bruins can manipulate these scoring situations in their favor, they will have a fantastic chance of coming out of this game with a victory. With the Belleville hockey club sitting in eighth place in the conference, a win here would absolutely help pad the lead the baby B’s have over them.

Saturday, March 23, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Binghamton Devils (HOME)

The Saturday battle marks the second time the Bruins have played the Devils this season. The first match-up saw the Binghamton hockey club come out on top 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Connor Clifton, Gemel Smith, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Zane McIntyre had a game that he would probably like to forget stopping 17 of the 22 shots that were fired his way. Despite the bad game earlier this year, the baby B’s have had great success against the New Jersey affiliate over the past five years going 13-6-1-1 during that time span including 9-2 at the Dunk.

The Binghamton hockey club has had a rough go of it this year. They skate into the contest 24-35-6 (54 points) and 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the North Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. Team defense will be a major key in this game. The Binghamton Devils have given up 233 goals on the year. This is not only the worst in the Eastern Conference, but it is the worst in the entire AHL. This is 3.58 goals a game that they are giving up. Our boys in black and gold, on the other hand, have given up 181 goals on the season which is 2.76 goals a game. Only three other teams in the East have given up fewer goals on the year.

On the other side of the puck, the New Jersey affiliate has one of the worst offenses in the East scoring 170 goals on the year which is 2.61 goals a game. Meanwhile, the spoked P has scored 196 goals on the year which is 3.01 goals a game. These stats bode well for the Providence hockey club in this game. Despite the tough year, the Devils are 15-1-1 when they are leading after the second period. If the Bruins stingy defense can keep Binghamton from scoring, they have a fantastic chance of coming out on top.

Wednesday, March 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

The Wednesday match-up will mark the sixth time that these two teams have played each other, and Providence has had their way with the Pittsburgh affiliate thus far. The first battle saw the Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 in overtime getting goals from the now departed Martin Bakos, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was superb in net denying 27 of the 28 shots that came his way. The second installment saw the Baby B’s route Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-2 getting goals from the now traded Ryan Donato (2), Martin Bakos, Joel Messner, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 20 of the 22 shots he faced.

The third match-up saw the boys in black and gold win 4-2 getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald, Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Donato, and Jakub Zboril. Goal Zane McIntyre was excellent in net stopping 32 of the 34 shots that were fired his way. The fourth match-up saw the Bruins lost 2-1 in a shootout getting their goal from Chris Breen. Goalie Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 39 of the 40 shots that came his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins fall 2-1 in overtime getting their lone goal from Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 26 of the 28 shots that were fired his way.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come into the game 30-23-7-3 (70 points) and 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games played. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have not only played extremely well against the Pittsburgh affiliate this year going 3-0-1-1, but over the past five seasons, the Baby B’s are 13-6-3-3. A major key for the boys in black and gold will be how their offense plays. The Penguins have given up a total of 185 goals on the year. Only four other teams in the Eastern Conference have given up less. Meanwhile, the Bruins have scored 196 goals this year which is the 11th most in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, the offense is up to that task.

Special teams will also be a key in this game. The Providence Bruins are not only fourth in the Eastern Conference in goals given up with 181, but they are also third in penalty kill at 85.7%. That coupled with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton having the 13th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 17.0% means that if the spoked P can play their game and hold their ground, it bodes well for the overall outcome. Another major key for the Pittsburgh affiliate is whether they outshoot their opponent when they do, they are 18-14-2-2 but are 7-8-4-1 when being outshot. On the other side, the Baby B’s are 9-6-3-2 when being outshot and 21-14-5-1 when outshooting their foe.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Jordan SzwarzThe Providence Bruins Captain has been very good all season. On the year, the veteran forward has found the back of the net 19 times while dishing out 16 assists for 35 total points and a point per game total of 0.60. This includes netting one goal and dishing out five assists for six points in his last seven games. The next goal that the OHL product scores will be his 20th on the year and it’ll be his third season in a row with Providence with 20+ goals on the year. Szwarz would be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history to do that. It’s something to look out for coming up.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald had found himself in the not category last week, but he’s slowly starting to find the rhythm he had at the beginning of the year. At the beginning of the year, the former Boston College Eagle was arguably the best forward for Providence. An injury partway through the season derailed his momentum, but he’s slowly starting to find his stride again. In 51 games he has found the back of the net eight times while dishing out 25 assists for 33 total points and a point per game total of 0.64. This includes netting one goal and dishing out three assists for four points in his last six games played. It’s nice to see the young forward find his scoring touch for the playoff push.

Not

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith has been excellent since coming over to Boston in a trade with Dallas back in December. For a little while, it seemed like the OHL product found himself in the “hot” category every single week. Recently, it seems like the gritty forward has found his first real cold streak of the season. Over Smith’s last nine games he has found the back of the net once and dished out three assists for four total points. Despite the cold streak, in 37 games since joining the baby B’s he has netted 13 goals and dished out 18 assists for 31 total points and a point per game total of 0.83. Hopefully, as Providence gets closer to the playoffs, the young forward will find his scoring touch again.

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has proven to be streaky for Providence this season. Over his past 18 games, he’s registered three points dishing out three assists and has not scored a goal since January 26, 2019. This means the WHL product netted seven goals while dishing out 14 assists for 21 total points and a point per game total of 0.65. Since then his point per game total has plummeted to 0.48 (7-17-24 in 50 games played). Hopefully the gritty forward can find his scoring touch as the baby B’s push towards the playoffs.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn has proven to be very streaky for Providence this season. In 57 games this season he has netted 14 goals and dished out 10 assists for 24 total points and a point per game total of 0.42. Despite this, last weekend he scored his first goal since January 26, 2019. Sometimes, all you need is one to break the floodgates open and go on a scoring streak. I am hopeful that the young speedster is going to do just that and get back on a role. Though, many are disappointed that the young forward hasn’t gotten the opportunity to showcase his skills in Boston, if he sticks with it and continues to work hard it’ll be only a matter of time before that happens.

On the Blue Line

Cooper ZechCooper Zech recently signed a deal with Providence and played in his first professional games. In his first two games, he played around 20 minutes each game and looked very good. The 20-year-old defenseman comes to Providence from Ferris State as an undrafted college free agent. In his freshman season with Ferris State, he was the WCHA (Western Collegiate Hockey Association) top-scoring freshman, the top scoring freshman defenseman, WCHA Rookie of the Year, and the first freshman to lead Ferris State in scoring since 1987-88 netting 8 goals and dishing out 20 assists in 36 games played for the Bulldogs.  The former Bulldog also recorded his first point on Wednesday against Laval getting the primary assist on a goal. After the season he’s had, there certainly are some lofty expectations moving forward. Hopefully, he has a big weekend for Providence.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre has had an up and down season this year. On the year the veteran netminder has a record of 22-10-7 with a 2.51 goals against average and a save percentage of .901. The University of North Dakota alum has been a lot better at home than on the road this season, and when the Bruins went on their crazy point streak, he was a large reason for that. With two games at the Dunk, look for Zane to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins are currently sitting in playoff position by four points. A good weekend and they could pad that standing and possibly move up a spot in those standings. With 11 games remaining the team’s magic number is 20. The magic number is the number of points needed to clinch the playoff spot. The magic number goes down when it earns points either with victory, or overtime/shootout losses. The magic number also goes down when the team with the highest possible point total that isn’t currently in playoff position, loses. This means the baby B’s are sitting in a good position right now and can hopefully make that magic number dwindle down this weekend. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 23 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 23 of the AHL season is upon us, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 31-22-7-2 (71 points) and 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. Even though the baby B’s sit firmly in a playoff spot, they could move up higher in the standings relatively soon. The Providence club sits only three points away from the fifth-place Toronto Marlies. With only 14 games left in the regular season, now is the time for our boys in black and gold to make their push towards the playoffs and climb the standings. This weekend will not be easy, the team embarks on a three-game road trip starting on Friday, March 15, 2019, and it ends on Wednesday, March 20, 2019.

The weekend kicks off when the Providence Bruins take their show on the road and invade the PPL Center in Allentown, Pennsylvania to take on the home team Lehigh Valley Phantoms on Friday, March 15, 2019. The trip continues Saturday, March 16, 2019, when the Bruins skate into Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania to take on the Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The road trip wraps up on Wednesday, March 20, 2019, when the baby B’s head north to Laval, Quebec, Canada to battle the Laval Rocket at Place Bell. With all three teams being below the Providence club in the standings, it has the potential to be a successful trip for our boys in black and gold.

Friday, March 15, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

The Friday match-up marks the fifth time the Bruins have faced the Phantoms this season. In the first meeting, Lehigh Valley beat Providence 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, and Wiley Sherman. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was off his game stopping 21 of 26 shots in net. The second meeting between the two teams saw a much better result for the Bruins. The Baby B’s beat the Philadelphia Flyers’ affiliate 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Austin Fyten (2), Cameron Hughes (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, and Jordan Szwarz, while goaltender Dan Vladar was good in net stopping 18 of the 21 shots that came his way.

The third match-up was another tough outcome for our boys wearing the spoked P. Lehigh Valley beat Providence 3-1. With Providence getting their lone goal from Joona Koppanen with goaltender Dan Vladar continuing his solid road play stopping 17 of the 19 shots that were fired his way. The fourth battle between the clubs saw the baby B’s win 4-2 getting goals from Gemel Smith (2), Trent Frederic, and Joona Koppanen. Goalie Zane McIntyre was fantastic in net turning away 20 of the 22 shots that were fired his way.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms skate into the game 30-26-3-3 (66 points) and 3-7-0 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite the fact they are on the outside of the playoff picture, this game will not be easy for Providence. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 9-12-2-1 against the Flyers’ affiliate including 4-7-1 on the road. It should be a tough test for our boys in black and gold. There are a few keys to victory if the baby B’s plan on bucking the trend and beating Lehigh Valley. The first is getting a lead and holding onto it. The Providence club is 24-3-2-1 when leading after the second period, and the Phantoms are 21-1 when leading after two.

Special teams will also play a major key in who wins this game. The Flyers’ affiliate boasts the best penalty kill in the Eastern Conference at 86.5%. Meanwhile, the baby B’s power play is ranked 14th in the Eastern Conference at 17.1% On the flip-side the Bruins have the second-best penalty kill in the Eastern Conference at 85.7%, and the Phantoms have the fifth-best power play in the Eastern Conference at 19.1%. If our boys in black and gold can keep out of the penalty box, they have a good chance of coming out of the game with two points.

Saturday, March 16, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre / Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

The Saturday match-up will mark the fifth time that these two teams have played each other, and Providence has had their way with the Pittsburgh affiliate thus far. The first battle saw the Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 in overtime getting goals from the now departed Martin Bakos, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was superb in net denying 27 of the 28 shots that came his way. The second installment saw the Baby B’s route Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-2 getting goals from the recently traded Ryan Donato (2), Martin Bakos, Joel Messner, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 20 of the 22 shots he faced. The third match-up saw the boys in black and gold win 4-2 getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald, Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Donato, and Jakub Zboril. Goal Zane McIntyre was excellent in net stopping 32 of the 34 shots that were fired his way. The most recent match-up saw the Bruins lost 2-1 in a shootout getting their goal from Chris Breen. Goalie Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 39 of the 40 shots that came his way.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come into the game 29-23-6-3 (67 points) and 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games played. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have not only played extremely well against the Pittsburgh affiliate this year going 3-0-0-1, but over the past five seasons, the Baby B’s are 13-6-2-3. A major key for the boys in black and gold will be how their offense plays. The Penguins have given up a total of 179 goals on the year. Only four other teams in the Eastern Conference have given up less. Meanwhile, the Bruins have scored 188 goals this year which is the ninth most in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, the offense is up to that task.

Special teams will also be a key in this game. The Providence Bruins are not only fourth in the Eastern Conference in goals given up with 173, but they are also second in penalty kill at 85.7%. That coupled with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton having the 12th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 17.3% means that if the spoked P can play their game and hold their ground, it bodes well for the overall outcome. Another major key for the Pittsburgh affiliate is whether they outshoot their opponent when they do, they are 18-13-2-2 but are 6-8-3-1 when being outshot. On the other side, the Baby B’s are 9-6-3-1 when being outshot and 20-14-4-1 when outshooting their foe.

Wednesday, March 20, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (AWAY)

The Wednesday match will mark the second time the Bruins take on Laval this season. The Rocket play in the North Division, so because of that they only play each other twice a year once at home and once on the road. In the first match-up, the Bruins fell 3-2 getting goals from Mark McNeill and Jeremy Lauzon. Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net turning away 31 of the 34 shots that were fired his way. The Laval Rocket come into the match-up 25-27-6-4 (60 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the North Division and 15th in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other very much because of being in different divisions, but the baby B’s hold a 2-1 record against the Rocket in that time frame.

Special teams will also play a major key in which team comes out on top. The Laval Rocket have the 15th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 16.9%. As I have stated earlier the baby B’s boast the second-best penalty kill in the entire Eastern Conference at 85.7%. On the other side of things, the Montreal affiliate has 14th ranked penalty kill at 78.5%. With the Bruins power play being the 14th ranked at 17.1% this would be a great chance to boost those numbers. Something that will be interesting to watch for is who outshoots who. The Providence hockey club is 20-14-4-1 when they outshoot their opponents. However, the Laval club has a better record when being outshot at 13-9-2-3.

Team defense will also play a major key in the matchup. The Bruins boast of the best defenses in the Eastern Conference giving up 2.79 goals a game. Meanwhile, the Montreal affiliate gives up 2.98 goals a game. Laval also has a goal differential of –21. That means they have given up 21 more goals than they’ve scored. The Baby B’s have a goal differential of +15. This game is going to an interesting match-up against two teams that are not familiar with each other. However, all the stats point to the Providence hockey club coming out on top.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been a scoring machine since coming over in a trade with the Ottawa Senators. In 21 games with Providence, the former Boston College Eagle has netted 14 goals and dished out six assists for 20 total points. That is a point per game total of 0.95. That includes netting six goals and dishing out two assists for eight total points in his last five games. The two-time NCAA champion has been playing so well that he was called up to Boston. Let’s hope the veteran forward keeps up his scorching hot play up in Boston.

Urho VaakanainenUrho Vaakanainen has been playing very well as of late. The young defenseman missed time earlier in the year due to a concussion, but he’s come back strong and is having a good year. In 28 games this year, the Finland native has found the back of the net four times and dished out 10 assists for 14 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.50. That includes netting four goals and dishing out one assist for five total points in his last five games. So far, it’s been a very successful first professional season for Urho. He made his NHL debut earlier in the year before being injured, he helped lead Finland to the World Junior Gold Medal after he returned from injury, and every part of his game looks NHL ready. Let’s hope the young defender can keep it up going forward.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald started out the year having a fantastic season and was leading the team in points for a large part of the year. Injuries derailed what was an excellent season. However, in 48 games he has netted seven goals and dished out 24 assists for 31 points. This is a point per game total of 0.64. Despite this, over his past five games, the former Boston College Eagle has not found the back of the net and has dished out two assists for two total points. The veteran forward also has not found the back of the net since December 1, 2019. Part of that is due to injury, but he still has not scored a goal since coming back. With Carey called up to Boston, hopefully, the gritty forward can pick up some of the offense that will be missing.

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn has found himself in the not category a few weeks in a row now. That should give you an idea of how cold the streak he’s on is. Even though the young forward may be the most talented of the forward prospects, he cannot seem to buck this cold streak. The OHL product has not scored a goal since January 26, 2019. In his 14 games since then, the speedster has dished out three assists for three total points. Overall on the year, Senyshyn has found the back of the net 13 times and dished out 10 assists for 23 points in 54 games. This is a point per game total of 0.42. The Bruins will need him to bust out of this slump if they plan to go far in the playoffs.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Karson Kuhlman: Karson Kuhlman has had an excellent first professional season for Providence this year. On the year the former University of Minnesota-Duluth Captain has potted 12 goals and dished out 16 assists for 28 total points in 55 games. That is a point per game total of 0.51. He has also recorded a point in three of his last five games for Providence dishing out three assists for three points in that time frame. The young forward has played so well that he earned a call-up to Boston and played well in the five games he played in. The Bruins need the former NCAA Champion to continue his exceptional play on this road-trip to make it a successful one.

On the Blue Line

Jakub ZborilJakub Zboril has had a very good season for the Providence Bruins this season. In 46 games he has found the back of the net four times while dishing out 12 assists for 16 total points. That is a point per game total of 0.34. This is a better scoring pace than last season, while also playing great defense. On top of that, he’s played well against Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre / Scranton this season. In six games against the two teams, he has netted one goal and dished out three assists for four total points. With Connor Clifton getting called up to Boston, the baby B’s will need Zboril to play well on this road-trip.

In Net

Dan VladarDan Vladar has had an up and down season for the Providence Bruins this season. On the year the young goaltender is 9-12-4 with a goal against average of 2.75 and a save percentage of .901. Despite the up and down year, six of his nine wins have come on the road, and both of his shutouts were away from the Dunk. With the next three games coming outside of Providence, Rhode Island I would look for Vladar to have a big road trip.

The Providence Bruins climbed a single spot from eighth in the Eastern Conference to seventh last weekend.  With 14 games left on the Providence hockey club’s magic number is 27. Anytime our boys wearing black and gold win, the magic number is reduced by two points. The magic number is also reduced when the team with the highest possible point total, who also sits outside of the playoff picture fails to record a point. Once the magic number hits zero, your team makes the playoffs. With 28 total points left for the Baby B’s to grab each game is of the utmost importance. Look for the road-trip to be full of some high-intensity hockey. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 22 Preview

BruinsvsBears

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 22 of the Providence Bruins season is here and our favorite team in black and gold skate into the weekend 29-21-7-2 (67 points) and 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and clinging to the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, only two points separate them and fifth place in the Conference standings. This weekend’s slate of games could not have come at a better time. The baby B’s have three games at home with two of the games coming against a team that is ahead of them in the standings. A strong week 22 could help the spoked P leapfrog a few teams in the conference as well as give them a nice cushion from teams trying to claw their way back into the playoff seeding.

The action-packed weekend kicks off on Friday, March 8, 2019, when the Hershey Bears invade Providence, Rhode Island to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The weekend continues Saturday, March 9, 2019, when the same two teams battle it out at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center to find out once and for all which team is the better bear. Finally, the action wraps up on Sunday, March 10, 2019, when familiar adversary the Springfield Thunderbirds swoop into town to take on our boys in black and gold at the Dunk. It is going to be an exciting, jam-packed three days of hockey that you will not want to miss.

Friday, March 8, 2019, (HOME) and Saturday, March 9, 2019, (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears

The Friday and Saturday games will mark the fourth and fifth times that Providence has played Hershey this season. In the first meeting between the two clubs, the Baby B’s beat the Washington Capitals’ affiliate 6-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Jordan Szwarz (2), Cameron Hughes, Anton Blidh, Kyle Cumiskey, and Tanner Pond while goalie Zane McIntyre looked great in net stopping 19 of 21 shots he faced. The second meeting saw the Providence club win 4-1 getting goals from the now departed Cody Goloubef (2), Karson Kuhlman, and Mark McNeill. Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots that were fired his way. The third battle saw the Bruins fall 2-1 getting their lone goal from Karson Kuhlman. Goalie Zane McIntyre was still great in net stopping 17 of the 19 shots that were sent his way.

The Hershey Bears skate into the weekend 32-22-1-3 (68 points) and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Despite being ahead of the baby B’s in the standings, the Capitals’ affiliate could be the perfect opponent to start a win streak against. Over the past five seasons, Providence is 13-7-2-1 against Hershey going 8-2 at the Dunk in that time frame. With both games being at home this bodes well for our boys in black and gold. There are a few keys to the game that if the spoked P can control, they will likely come out on top in both games.

The first key is who is leading after the first and second periods. Hershey is 18-3-0-2 when they are ahead after the first period of action. They are also 24-1-1-2 when leading after two. Meanwhile, when down after one their records dips to 4-12-0-1 and when trailing after the second it falls even further to 5-19. On the other side, the Providence Bruins are 13-5-3 when ahead after the first period and 23-3-2-1 when they are leading after two. When trailing after one, their record dips to 5-14-2 and when down after two periods it dips even further to 4-17-2. Getting a lead early and holding onto it will be a major key into winning both games.

The other major key to the game will be team defense. The Providence Bruins have one of the best defenses in the entire Eastern Conference ranked third in goals against with 165 in their 59 games played. This means they are giving up 2.79 goals a game. On the other side of things, the Hershey Bears are ranked sixth in the Eastern Conference in goals against with 171 in their 58 games played. This is 2.94 goals given up per game. The big difference is that despite their record, the Capitals’ affiliate has a goal differential of –15. This means they’ve given up 15 more goals than they’ve scored on the season. To give you an idea of just how bad that is the baby B’s differential is +25. A combination of the Bruins’ stingy defense and the Bears’ mediocre offense bodes well for our boys in black and gold this weekend.

Sunday, March 10, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Sunday match-up marks the 12th time the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from now-departed Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while current goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net.

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The next installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced. Part five of the season series was a good one for the boys in black and gold. The Bruins beat the Thunderbirds 4-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre continued to play well as he turned away 19 of the 22 shots he faced.

The sixth part in the season series saw the Panthers’ affiliate beat the spoked P 3-2 in overtime. The Baby B’s were able to get goals from Gemel Smith, and Cameron Hughes with Dan Vladar giving a tremendous effort in net stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced. The seventh showdown saw the boys in black and gold win 2-1 in a shootout getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, and Trent Frederic netted the winning shootout goal. Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots he faced. The eighth throw-down between the two clubs saw the Providence hockey club win 3-2 getting goals from Mark McNeill, Gemel Smith, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stopping 22 of 24 shots that came his way.

The ninth meeting saw the Thunderbirds win 5-1 with the Bruins getting their lone goal from Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre had a rough game in net stopping 21 of 26 shots that were fired his way. The 10th battle between the Providence Bruins and the Springfield Thunderbirds saw the baby B’s fall 4-2 getting goals from Paul Carey and Emil Johansson. Goalie Dan Vladar turned away 28 of the 31 shots that were fired his way. The most recent chapter of the long season series saw the Bruins come out on top 5-2 getting goals from Paul Carey (2), Urho Vaakanainen (2), and Connor Clifton. Goalie Zane McIntyre stopped 27 out of the 29 shots that came his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the weekend home and home series 24-24-6-5 (59 points) and 3-6-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Despite having a rough season against the Panthers’ affiliate this year, the Baby B’s have played well against them over the past five years going 22-12-3. They also have almost identical records at home and on the road in that time frame. This bodes well for the weekend series. Defense again will play a major role in who wins this game.

The Thunderbirds have scored 193 goals in the 59 games they’ve played this season which is 3.27 goals a game their problem is they’ve given up 194 goals in that time frame as well which is 3.28 per game. Providence’s defense, on the other hand, is quite good giving up only 2.79 goals a game. Their offense is no slouch either scoring 3.05 goals a game. The other big key is again who had the lead after two periods. Despite their position in the standings the club from Springfield Massachusetts is 19-1-1 when leading after two periods and 0-22-1-2 when down after two periods. Meanwhile, the Baby B’s are 23-3-2-1 when leading after two and 4-17-2 when trailing after the second period. It should be an exciting game that you do not want to miss.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been very good for Providence since coming over in a trade with the Senators in January. Since the trade, the former Boston College Eagle has played in 18 games finding the back of the net 11 times and dishing out five assists for 16 total points. This is a point per game clip of 0.88. To top it off the two-time NCAA Champion has six points in his last seven games, netting five goals and dishing out an assist during that time frame. The veteran forward needs to continue his hot play if the Bruins hope to have a good weekend.

Jordan SzwarzJordan Szwarz has been great for Providence this season. The captain has found the back of the net 18 times while dishing 13 assists for 31 total points in the 52 games he’s played in. This is a point per game clip of 0.59. To top it off, recently he has scored five points in his last seven games netting three goals and dishing out two assists in the time frame. The OHL product is just two goals away from 20 on the year. Once he reaches that mark, he will be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history to have 20+ goals in three separate seasons. Be on the lookout for that.

Not

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn may be the most talented of all the Bruins forward prospects. Despite this, the young winger has proven to be a streaky player since coming to Providence, and right now he’s on a cold streak that’s as cold as the ice he skates on. The OHL product has netted 13 goals and dished out nine assists for 22 total points in the 51 games he has played in. This is a point per game total of 0.43. This is considerably less than his OHL days of 0.91 (114-63-177 in 195 games played). To top it off, he has scored just two points in his last 11 games dishing out two assists. He has not scored a goal since January 26, 2019. Hopefully, the speedster can find his offensive game and turn the corner this weekend.

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has had a good season for Providence overall. In the 46 games that he has played in the gritty forward has found the back of the net seven times while dishing out 16 assists for 24 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.52. Even though the WHL product has been good overall this season, he’s been on a big cold streak recently. He has recorded just two points in his last 14 games dishing out two assists. McNeill hasn’t found the back of the net since January 26, 2019. Hopefully, the veteran forward can turn things around and have a great weekend.

My Players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith has been excellent overall for Providence this year. In 31 games since being acquired from Dallas in a trade, the young forward has found the back of the net 12 times while dishing out 16 assists for 28 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.90. To top it off he has been especially good against Springfield and Hershey this season. In 11 games against the two teams this year he has found the back of the net three times and dished out eight assists for 11 total points. That means 39% of the points he has scored with the Bruins have come against this weekend’s opponents. Look for him to have a good week 22.

On the Blue Line

Urho VaakanainenUrho Vaakanainen has had a great first professional season despite missing time due to a concussion. In 25 games with the Providence Bruins, the young defender has found the back of the net two times while dishing out 10 assists for 12 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.48. This is much higher than his Liiga days in Finland of 0.21 (7-16-23 in 109 games played). As well as his offensive game is coming along, the WJC Gold Medalist’s defensive game has been just as impressive. He looks like he’s already NHL ready despite being only 20 years of age. Last weekend the young defenseman scored his first two professional goals. Look for him to continue his play and have a good weekend.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre has played well for Providence overall this year. At the turn of the new year, it was his fantastic play in net that helped solidify the backend of the Bruins’ defense. As good as his play has been, the veteran goalie has been better at home this season and been especially good against Hershey. In the three games against the Capitals’ affiliate, the netminder’s stats are 2-1 with a goals against average of 1.68 and a save percentage of .922. With all three games being home and two of them against Hershey, look for him to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins come into the weekend clinging to that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. This weekend is the perfect one to gain some ground and pad their position in the standings. All of the weekend’s games are at home, and on top of that, the Providence club is playing teams they should beat. I would look for the Bruins to nab at least four of six points. This could help them leapfrog a team or two in the standings. Anything else would be a total loss for the weekend. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 21 Preview

PBruinsvSpring

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 21 is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into the weekend 28-20-7-1 (64 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference clinging to that final playoff spot. This past weekend the Baby B’s had an up and down one getting three out of a possible six points going 1-1-1. Even though the boys in black and gold are sitting in that last playoff position, they are only three points behind the fifth-place Marlies of Toronto. That means a lot of ground can be made up in a short period of time. Let’s hope they start to make up that ground this weekend.

The jam-packed three-game weekend starts out on Friday, March 1, 2019, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into Providence, Rhode Island to invade the Dunk. The weekend continues Saturday, March 2, 2019, when the Bruins take their show on the road to battle the home team Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. Finally, the weekend comes to a close on Sunday, March 3, 2019, when the Springfield Thunderbirds fly into Providence, Rhode Island to take on the Baby B’s at the Dunk. It is going to be an exciting weekend of must-see hockey.

Friday, March 1, 2019 Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (HOME)

The Friday match-up will mark the fourth time that these two teams have played each other, and Providence has had their way with the Pittsburgh affiliate thus far. The first battle saw the Bruins beat the Penguins 2-1 in overtime getting goals from the now departed Martin Bakos, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was superb in net denying 27 of the 28 shots that came his way. The second installment saw the Baby B’s route Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 5-2 getting goals from the recently traded Ryan Donato (2), Martin Bakos, Joel Messner, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stoning 20 of the 22 shots he faced. The most recent match-up saw the boys in black and gold win 4-2 getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald, Peter Cehlarik, Ryan Donato, and Jakub Zboril. Goal Zane McIntyre was excellent in net stopping 32 of the 34 shots that were fired his way.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come into the game 26-22-5-2 (59 points) and 4-4-1-1 in their last 10 games played. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have not only played extremely well against the Pittsburgh affiliate this year going 3-0, but over the past five seasons, the Baby B’s are 13-6-2-2. A major key for the boys in black and gold will be how their offense plays. The Penguins have given up a total of 164 goals on the year. Only six other teams in the Eastern Conference have given up less. Meanwhile, the Bruins have scored 172 goals this year which is the 11th most in the Eastern Conference. Hopefully, the offense is up to that task.

Special teams will also be a key in this game. The Providence Bruins are not only second in the Eastern Conference in goals given up with 157, but they are also second in penalty kill at 86%. That coupled with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton having the 11th ranked power play in the Eastern Conference at 17.6% means that if the spoked P can play their game and hold their ground, it bodes well for the overall outcome. Another major key for the Pittsburgh affiliate is whether they outshoot their opponents when they do, they are 17-13-1-1 but are 4-7-3-1 when being out-shot. On the other side, the Baby B’s are 9-5-3 when being out-shot and 17-13-4-1 when out-shooting their foe. It should be an exciting game of hockey and one that the Bruins could easily win.

Saturday, March 2, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, March 3, 2019 (HOME)

The weekend series will mark the 10th and 11th times the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from now-departed Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while current goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net.

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The next installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced. Part five of the season series was a good one for the boys in black and gold. The Bruins beat the Thunderbirds 4-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre continued to play well as he turned away 19 of the 22 shots he faced.

The sixth part in the season series saw the Panthers’ affiliate beat the spoked P 3-2 in overtime. The Baby B’s were able to get goals from Gemel Smith, and Cameron Hughes with Dan Vladar giving a tremendous effort in net stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced. The seventh showdown saw the boys in black and gold win 2-1 in a shootout getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, and Trent Frederic netted the winning shootout goal. Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots he faced. The eighth throw-down between the two clubs saw the Providence hockey club win 3-2 getting goals from Mark McNeill, Gemel Smith, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stopping 22 of 24 shots that came his way. The most recent chapter in the long season story saw the Thunderbirds win 5-1 with the Bruins getting their lone goal from Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre had a rough game in net stopping 21 of 26 shots that were fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the weekend home and home series 22-23-6-5 (55 points) and 2-7-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Despite having a rough season against the Panthers’ affiliate this year, the Baby B’s have played well against them over the past five years going 21-11-3. They also have almost identical records at home and on the road in that time frame. This bodes well for the weekend series. Defense again will play a major role in who wins this game.

The Thunderbirds have scored 182 goals in the 56 games they’ve played this season which is 3.25 goals a game their problem is they’ve given up 186 goals in that time frame as well which is 3.32 per game. Providence’s defense, on the other hand, is quite good giving up only 2.80 goals a game. Their offense is no slouch either scoring 3.07 goals a game. The other big key is again who had the lead after two periods. Despite their position in the standings the club from Springfield Massachusetts is 17-1-1 when leading after two periods and 0-21-1-2 when down after two periods. Meanwhile, the Baby B’s are 22-3-2-1 when leading after two and 4-16-2 when trailing after the second period. It should be an exciting home and home series to end the weekend.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith makes his way into this category for another week, and he is on fire. He has netted a goal in each of his last three games and has scored points in 11 of his last 13 games. The 24-year old forward has netted six goals and dished out nine assists for 15 total points in that time frame. Since being traded from Dallas in December, the OHL product has been on the Bruins best players. In 28 games played he has potted 12 goals while tallying 15 assists for 27 total points. That’s almost a point per game player. Hopefully, he keeps up his scorching pace this weekend.

Lee StempniakLee Stempniak has had a long successful career in the NHL scoring 203 goals and dishing out 266 assists in 909 games. That’s a point per game total of 0.52. The veteran forward was in Providence on a player tryout and played well in the four games he’s played in. In those games, he has netted two goals while also dishing out two assists for four total points. The former Dartmouth College Captain recently signed a contract with Boston and will likely spend the rest of the year in Providence barring any injury. Hopefully, the veteran forward can continue his solid play for the Baby B’s this weekend.

Not

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has proven to be streaky for Providence this season. On the year he does have stats of 7-16-23 in 43 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.53. This is a bit lower than his AHL career of 0.56 (96-120-216 in 386 games played), as well as his WHL days of 0.88 (97-146-243 in 276 games played). Despite having a decent year, the gritty forward has only registered two points in his last 11 games dishing out two assists. The WHL product also hasn’t scored a goal since January 26, 2019. Hopefully, the McNeill can find his scoring touch this weekend.

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn is one of the most talented players on the Providence Bruins roster. His potential is sky high. However, since coming to Providence, he has proved to be a very streaky player. Currently, on the year, he has netted 13 goals while dishing out nine assists for 22 total points in 48 games played. That is a point per game total of 0.45. This is much lower than his OHL days of 0.91 (114-63-177 in 195 games played). To top it off in his last eight games played he has dished out two assists for two total points and hasn’t scored a goal since January 26, 2019. The young forward can be dynamic and has shown flashes of brilliance. Hopefully, he can find the back of the net a few times for the Bruins this weekend.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Zach SenyshynDespite being on a cold streak, Senyshyn is one of my players to watch this weekend. He has played well against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and Springfield this season. In 11 games against the two clubs this season he has netted four goals and dished out two assists for six total points. That means that almost a quarter of his goals have come against these two teams this season. On top of that, I believe that the young forward is extremely motivated to do well. He really wants to see a call-up to the big club and Boston. I have a feeling we may see the beginning of a hot streak this weekend.

On the Blue Line

Jakub ZborilJakub Zboril is having a pretty good season for Providence. Not only playing good defense, but he has potted four goals and dished out 11 assists for 15 points in 37 games this year. That is a point per game total of 0.40. This is much higher than his pace last season which was 0.27 (4-15-19 in 68 games played). On top of that, the young defenseman has registered a point in three of his last five games netting a goal and dishing out two assists for three points in that time frame. I would look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan VladarDan Vladar has had an up and down season this year but has also had the short end of the stick for part of it. He is 8-11-4-2 with a 2.73 goals against average, and a save percentage of .902. Having six games end in overtime or shoot out loss is a lot of tough luck. The young goaltender has played better on the road than he has at home this season. So, he is likely to only play one game barring any injury, but I would look for him to have a good game and bring home two points for Providence.

The Providence Bruins have had a rough couple of weeks since their 12-game point streak was snapped. They dropped a few spots in the Eastern Conference but remain right in the middle of the playoff picture. That being said, with the two teams they face this weekend below them in the standings, this is the perfect time for them to pad their playoff spot and possibly gain grown on teams ahead of them in the standings. I would look for the Baby B’s to get at least four out of six points. Anything less would be a major missed opportunity.  We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 20 Preview

BruinsvBridge

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 20 is upon us, and the Providence Bruins come into it off the heels of their toughest weekend since the calendar turned to 2019 at 27-19-6-1 (61 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division, and they are clinging to that eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. Last weekend was tough with the Baby B’s losing two of three games. It’ll be interesting to see how the boys in black and gold bounce back. I always say you can truly see the make-up of a team when they falter at some point during the season. If they can bounce back quickly, you know you have a special team, and if they don’t, it’s probably not their year. With all of that being said, there is an exciting weekend of heart-pounding hockey ahead that you do not want to miss.

The exciting hockey action starts out on Friday, February 22, 2019, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers cross enemy lines and invade the Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island. The weekend continues when the Providence Bruins take their show on the road to take on the Hartford Wolfpack at the XL Center in Hartford, Connecticut. Finally, the weekend wraps up with some more home cooking when the Hartford Wolfpack make their way to the Dunkin Donuts Center. It’s going to be a jam-packed weekend of must-see hockey. Hopefully, the Baby B’s can turn their play around from the last couple games and grab at least four points this week.

Friday, February 22, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The weekend match-up will mark the 10th time that these two teams have met, and all the games have been closely contented games with five of the seven games going to overtime or shoot-out. The first game of the season series saw the Sound Tigers beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime with the spoked P getting goals from the recently departed Colby Cave (2), and Jakub Zboril with goalie Dan Vladar playing well turning away 30 of 34 shots he faced. The next meeting saw the Providence club win 5-2 getting goals from Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, Trent Frederic (2), and the now departed Jan Kovar. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked good in net stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced.

The third meeting between the two clubs saw Providence breakout offensively winning 6-1 getting goals from Cameron Hughes (3), Zach Senyshyn (2), and Trent Frederic. In net, Dan Vladar was superb stopping 28 of the 29 shots fired his way. The next three meetings the Eastern Conference foes would play ended up going to overtime. The first of those ended up going the Sound Tigers’ way 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Jan Kovar, Anton Blidh, Jakub Zboril, and Ryan Donato. Zane McIntyre was in net for the contest, and he was a little off his game stopping 20 of the 25 shots that were fired his way.

The next meeting between the two teams had the puck bounce the Bruins way as they won 2-1 in overtime getting goals from Wiley Sherman, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced. The sixth game of the season series saw the Baby B’s fell in overtime 4-3 getting goals from Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik, and Kyle Cumiskey with goalie Dan Vladar stopping 13 of 17 shots he faced. Part seven of the season series saw the Bruins fall 4-3 in a shoot-out getting goals from Jordan Szwarz, Mark McNeill, and Zach Senyshyn while goalie Dan Vladar stopped 12 of the 15 shots that came his way.

The season series continued on Friday, February 8, 2019, when the Providence Bruins beat the Sound Tigers 2-1 getting goals from Captain Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton. Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent in the net stopping 25 of the 26 shots that were fired his way. The most recent game of the season series was the very next nice and it saw the Baby B’s fall to Bridgeport 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Emil Johansson and Cameron Hughes. Net-minder Dan Vladar played admirably in net stopping 22 of the 25 shots that came his way. It’s been an exciting season series, and game 10 should not disappoint.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the game 30-18-5-2 (67 points) and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins had an up and down season against the Islanders’ affiliate this year going 4-1-3-1. However, over the past five years, the Baby B’s have seen success against the Bridgeport club going 24-17-5-3 including 16-6-2 at home in that time frame. This bodes well for the weekend match-up. Major keys to this game will be special teams and getting a keeping a lead early.

The Sound Tigers have the eighth-ranked power play in the Atlantic Division, and 13th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 17.4%. Meanwhile, the Islanders’ affiliate has the fifth-ranked penalty kill in the Atlantic Division, and ninth-ranked in the Eastern Conference at 80.7% On the flipside the Providence Bruins have the fifth-best power play in the Atlantic Division and the 10th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 18.0%. Their penalty kill is much stronger boasting the best in the Atlantic Division as well as the Eastern Conference at 86.3%. In terms of grabbing an early lead and keeping it, the Sound Tigers are 14-3-3-1 when leading after the first period and 15-2-4-2 when leading after two. The Baby B’s are 11-5-2 when leading after one, and 21-3-2-1 when leading after two. It should be a closely contested game between the two clubs.

Saturday, February 22, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, February 23, 2019 (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolfpack

The weekend home and home series will mark the ninth and tenth times the two teams have faced off this season. The first match-up saw the Wolf Pack beat the Bruins 4-2 with Providence getting goals from Austin Fyten and Mark McNeill while goalie Zane McIntyre was pulled in the first period after stopping 7 of 10 shots faced. Dan Vladar finished the game turning away all 8 shots he would see. The second meeting between the two teams saw a better result with Providence winning 4-3 in overtime. The Baby B’s got goals from Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, and Cody Goloubef (OT GW), and goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 15 of 18 shots faced.

The third leg of the season series saw the Pack come out victorious, winning 4-3. The Providence club got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Dan Vladar had a busy game stopping 26 of 30 he faced. In game four these two clubs both fought hard, but Hartford came out on top 4-3 in overtime. The boys wearing the spoked P got goals from Karson Kuhlman, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Kyle Cumiskey. Goalie Zane McIntyre turned away 18 of 22 shots faced in the losing effort. In the fifth meeting this year the New York Rangers’ affiliated blanked Providence 3-0. Goalie Dan Vladar played well in the game stopping 30 of 33 shots faced.

More recently, the sixth meeting of the year could not have gone better for the spoked P, winning the game 5-1. The Bruins got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Emil Johansson, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked excellent in net stopping 15 of 16 shots he faced. The two teams seventh battle royale saw the Baby B’s score in bunches winning 6-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, Karson Kuhlman, Anton Blidh, Mark McNeill, and Chris Breen. Zane McIntyre was up to the challenge in net for Providence stopping 15 of 18 shots he faced. The most recent throw-down saw our boys in black and gold win 5-2 getting goals from Paul Carey (3), Karson Kuhlman, and Connor Clifton. Goaltender Zane McIntyre was fantastic in net turning away 23 of the 25 shots that were sent his way.

The Hartford Wolfpack came into the weekend series 21-25-5-3 (50 points) and 2-5-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s have had an up and down season against Hartford this year going 4-3-1. Despite this, the Providence club has enjoyed some success at home against the Rangers’ affiliate over the past five seasons going 21-13-4-2 overall. Getting a lead early on, and keeping it is going to play a major factor in this game. The Bruins are 12-5-2 when leading after one period, and 21-3-2-1 when leading after two periods. At the other end, the Wolf Pack are 10-2 when leading after one period and 13-2-2-2 when leading after two periods. If our boys in black and gold can grab a lead early and hold onto it, they stand a fantastic shot at coming out of the weekend series with four points.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Jakub ZborilJakub Zboril has had a good year so far for the Providence Bruins despite some injury. The QJMHL product has played in 34 games for the Baby B’s already matching last year’s goal total of four while also dishing out nine assists for 13 points. This is a point per game total of 0.38 which is higher than his last year total of 0.27 (4-15-19 in 68 games played). To top it off he has four points in his last 6 games played finding the back of the net once and tallying three assists in that time frame. He has done all of this while playing good defense. Hopefully, the young defenseman can keep up his play this weekend.

Gemel Smith: It seems like Gemel Smith is on the hot category for the Bruins every week, but that just shows how good the young forward has been since coming over in a December trade with Dallas. In 25 games with the Baby B’s the OHL product has netted nine goals and tallied 14 assists for 23 total points. That is a point per game total of 0.92. That is much higher than his OHL days of 0.77 (89-114-203 in 264 games played). To top it off he has registered a point in eight of his last ten games finding the back of the net three times and dishing out eight assists for eleven total points in that time frame. It’s safe to say that we should look for him to have a good weekend.

Not

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been very good for Providence since coming over in a trade with Ottawa. He has netted six goals while tallying four assists for ten total points in 12 games. However, the former Boston College Eagle and two-time NCAA Champion have hit a cold spell only netting one goal and dishing out one assist for two points in his last six games. Hopefully, the veteran forward can find his stride this weekend.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Fitzgerald has had a good year for the Providence Bruins potting seven goals and dishing out 21 assists for 28 total points in 40 games played. That is a point per game total of 0.70. The former Boston College Eagle had a point per game total of 0.87 (66-66-132 in 152 games played) during his NCAA days. Now, he did recently come back from an injury that saw him miss about a month, but since coming back from injury, he has only tallied two assists and hasn’t scored a goal since December 1, 2018. Hopefully the young forward can snap out of it and have a good weekend for Providence.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Cameron Hughes: Hughes has had an excellent first full season with Providence netting 13 goals and dishing out 15 assists for 28 total points in 52 games played. That’s a point per game total of 0.53. He’s played especially good against the two Connecticut teams Bridgeport and Hartford. In 17 games played against the two teams, the former University of Wisconsin Captain has found the back of the net five times and dished out six assists for eleven total points. That means 39% of the points he’s scored have come against these two teams. Look for him to have another big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Kyle Cumiskey: Cumiskey has had a very good season since coming over to Providence mid-season. The veteran defenseman has netted three goals while dishing out 13 assists for 16 total points in 28 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.57. The WHL product has been especially good against Bridgeport and Hartford in 11 games against the two teams this year he has found the back of the net two times while tallying eight assists for ten total points. That means an eye-popping 62.5% of the points he has scored have come against these two teams. Look for the gritty defenseman to have a big weekend for the Baby B’s.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: McIntyre was on an insane hot streak. He had won 13 starts in a row before having a bad game and losing Sunday against Springfield. The veteran goaltender has really solidified the goalie position for Providence as well as being an anchor for the defense has a whole. He is a big reason why the team is in a playoff spot. I would look for him to have a bounce-back weekend after losing his win streak.

The Providence Bruins are currently sitting in the eighth and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference after having their first rough weekend in six weeks. Despite this, the Baby B’s remain only five points out of the fourth-place spot in the Eastern Conference. This weekend is an excellent chance for the boys in black and gold to gain some ground in the East. With two of the three games this weekend coming against a team that has a worse record I would look for the spoked P to at least grab four out of a six possible points. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 19 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 19 of the Providence Bruins season is upon us, and our favorite AHL team has a jam-packed weekend ahead. The spoked P comes into the game 26-17-6-1 (59 points) and 8-1-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. This past weekend the boys in black and gold saw their 12-point streak come to an end, but they followed that up with an impressive shutout against the Syracuse Crunch. Hopefully, that is the start of another long point streak. Let’s get into what is on tap for the Baby B’s this weekend.

The Bruins have a weekend full of home cooking ahead. It all starts out on Friday, February 15, 2019, when the Toronto Marlies come into town for their only game at the Dunk this year. The weekend action continues Saturday, February 16, 2019, when the Charlotte Checkers come to town to finish up the season series between the two clubs. Finally, the Dunkin Donuts Center is sure to be rocking on Sunday, February 16, 2019, when familiar foe the Springfield Thunderbirds make their way to Providence. It’s going to be a great weekend of fast-paced, exciting hockey that you do not want to miss.

Friday, February 15, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Toronto Marlies (HOME)

The Friday match-up marks the second meeting between the two hockey clubs this season. The Marlies are in the North Division, so because of that the Baby B’s only play them twice during the year. Once at home and once on the road. The first meeting between the two clubs saw the Bruins blank the Maple Leafs’ affiliate 5-0 getting goals from Jordan Szwarz, Zach Senyshyn (2), Karson Kuhlman, and Anders Bjork. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away all 35 shots he faced. Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have had some good success against the Toronto hockey club with a record of 4-2-1 overall and 2-1 at home. This bodes well for the spoked P on Friday night.

The Toronto Marlies come into the game 25-17-5-3 (58 points) and 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the North Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. There are going to be a few major keys to this game. The first thing is playing total team defense. Like the Bruins’ last opponent, the Syracuse Crunch the Toronto hockey club scores goals, a lot of goals. In their 50 games played they’ve scored 176 goals. That’s a whopping 3.52 goals a game. Now the reason why total team defense is going to be key for the Baby B’s is that the Maple Leafs’ affiliate has eight players with a point per game total of 0.58 or higher. This means you have shut down more than just one line. Luckily for the Boston affiliate, they have excellent team defense giving up 137 goals in 50 games which 2.74 goals a game.

Another major key to the game will be special teams. The Toronto Marlies boast the top-ranked power play in the North Division and the second-ranked in the entire Eastern Conference at 23%. Meanwhile, the Providence Bruins are equipped with the second-ranked penalty kill in the Atlantic Division as well as the entire Eastern Conference. This plays back into the first key I touched on which was team defense being essential to shutting down the Toronto Squad. Finally, it’s imperative that the Baby B’s have a lead when the second period ends. When leading after two, the spoked P is 20-3-2-1, and the Toronto affiliate is 18-0-1-1. Being on the right side of these battles Friday night will almost guarantee a victory for the boys in black and gold.

Saturday, February 16, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME) 

The Saturday match-up will mark the eighth time these two teams have faced each other, and things haven’t gone the Providence club’s way. In the first installment of the season series, the Carolina Hurricanes’ affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-3 with the Bruins getting goals from the now departed Jan Kovar, Trent Frederic, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie, Dan Vladar had a rough night in net turning away 20 of the 24 shots he faced. The second meeting did not yield better results for our boys in black and gold as the Checkers won 3-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Ryan Fitzgerald while goalie, Zane McIntyre played valiantly stopping 17 of 20 shots in the loss.

The third match-up between the two clubs saw the spoked P finally break through winning 2-1. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik and Jordan Szwarz. Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 25 of the 26 shots that were fired his way. The fourth installment between these two teams the Baby B’s fell in OT to Charlotte 3-2 getting goals from Jordan Szwarz and Trent Frederic. Zane McIntyre was great in net again, turning away 44 of the 47 shots he faced, and he pitched in with the rare goalie assist.

The fifth meeting between the two clubs saw the spoked P beat the Hurricanes’ affiliate 5-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Trent Frederic (2), Gemel Smith, Paul Carey, and Karson Kuhlman. Zane McIntyre was very good in net turning away 24 of the 27 shots he faced. In the six games of the season series, The Bruins beat the Checkers 2-1 in overtime getting goals from Ryan Donato, and Cameron Hughes (OT GW). Goalie Zane McIntyre was superb in net stopping 28 of the 29 shots he faced. The last grudge match saw the Baby B’s beat Charlotte 1-0 in overtime getting their game-winning goal from Gemel Smith. Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net turning away all 37 shots he faced.

The Charlotte Checkers come into the game 32-13-6-1 (71 points) and 2-4-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division as well as the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s have had success against Charlotte not only this year but over the past five seasons. This year the spoked P is 4-2-1 against the Carolina affiliate and 6-4-1 over the past five seasons. Some major keys to this match-up are scoring early and keeping that lead. The Checkers are 16-3-1-1 when leading after the first period and 21-0-0-0 when leading after two periods. Meanwhile, our boys in black and gold are 12-5-2 when leading after one period and 20-3-2-1 when leading after two periods. Another major key is out-shooting the opponent. Both teams have great records when out-shooting the team they’re playing the Providence hockey club is 17-11-3-1 meanwhile the Charlotte team is 15-9-4-1. The season series between the two teams has been grueling, and the final game of the series will be nothing short of that.

Sunday, February 17, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME) 

This game mark the ninth time the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from now-departed Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while current goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net.

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The next installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced. Part five of the season series was a good one for the boys in black and gold. The Bruins beat the Thunderbirds 4-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre continued to play well as he turned away 19 of the 22 shots he faced.

The sixth part in the season series saw the Panthers’ affiliate beat the spoked P 3-2 in overtime. The Baby B’s were able to get goals from Gemel Smith, and Cameron Hughes with Dan Vladar giving a tremendous effort in net stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced. The seventh showdown saw the boys in black and gold win 2-1 in a shootout getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, and Trent Frederic netted the winning shootout goal. Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots he faced. The most recent throw-down between the two clubs saw the Providence hockey club win 3-2 getting goals from Mark McNeill, Gemel Smith, and Zach Senyshyn. Goalie Zane McIntyre was great in net stopping 22 of 24 shots that came his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 21-20-6-4 (52 points) and 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s have had a good amount of success against the Panthers’ affiliate over the past five years with a record of 21-10-3 and 4-3-1 this season. Defense again will play a major role in who wins this game. The Thunderbirds have scored 170 goals in the 50 games they’ve played this season which is 3.33 goals a game their problem is they’ve given up 171 goals in that time frame as well which is 3.35 per game. As I stated earlier the preview, Providence’s defense is quite good giving up only 2.74 goals a game. Their offense is no slouch either scoring 3.30 goals a game. The other big key is again who had the lead after two periods. Despite their position in the standings the club from Springfield Massachusetts is 16-1-1 when leading after two periods and 0-18-1-1 when down after two periods. It should be an exciting game to end the jam-packed hockey weekend.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Zane McIntyre: The recent point streak the Providence Bruins went on, and their climb in the standings was in large part thanks to McIntyre. The University of North Dakota alum has been excellent recently. Over his past 11 games, the veteran net-minder is 11-0-0 turning away 241 of the 260 shots that came his way for a save percentage of .927 and goals against average of 1.70. It cannot be overstated how he has played recently. It seems like he took the quote “new year, new me” to heart and really turned around not only his season but the Baby B’s season as well.

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith has been nothing short of excellent since coming over to Providence. The gritty forward was acquired from Dallas in December and after three games with the big club in Boston, was sent down to Providence. Since then the OHL product has played in 22 games for the Baby B’s netting nine goals while dishing out 12 assists for 21 total points. That is a point per game total of 0.95 which is higher than his OHL days of 0.77 (89-114-203 in 264 games played). To top all of that off, he has registered a point in six of his last seven games in which he has found the back of the net three times and tallied six assists for nine total points.

Not

Kyle Cumiskey: Cumiskey has been pretty good for Providence since joining the team. However, the veteran defenseman is on a bit of a cold streak. The WHL product has only registered a point in one of his last six games dishing out two assists in that time frame. He also hasn’t found the back of the net since December 15, 2018. Despite the cold streak, he still is scoring at a point per game clip of 0.55 (3-13-16 in 29 games). This is higher than his AHL career of 0.48 (25-97-122 in 253 games played) as well as his WHL career of 0.45 (12-67-79 in 177 games played).

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has proven to be streaky for Providence this season. On the year he does have stats of 7-15-22 in 37 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.59. This is slightly higher than his AHL career of 0.57 (96-119-215 in 380 games played) and lower than his WHL days of 0.88 (97-146-243 in 276 games played). Despite this, the gritty forward has only registered one point in his last six games. The Baby B’s offense has still been clicking recently; however, with Kuhlman getting called up to Boston, Providence will need someone to pick up the mantle in the scoring department. McNeill could help do that.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Jordan SzwarzSzwarz has had a good season for Providence this year. The Baby B’s Captain has netted 15 goals while dishing 11 assists for 26 total points in 43 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.60. This is right on par with his AHL career of 0.59 (105-135-240 in 407 games played), but lower than his OHL days of 0.78 (82-122-204 in 262 games played). On top of that, the gritty forward has been especially good against Charlotte, Springfield, and Toronto this season. In 15 games against those teams this season he has found the back of the net six times while dishing out four assists good for ten points against them this year. That means 38% of his points have come against these three teams. Look for the Captain to have a big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Urho VaakanainenUrho Vaakanainen has been good in limited time for Providence this season. The young defenseman has only played in 16 games with the Baby B’s because earlier in the year he was called up to Boston and in his second game with the big club, he got an elbow to the head leaving him concussed. After recovering from the injury, he then played for Finland in the World Junior Championships where he helped lead his team to the gold medal. Not only has he played well since returning to the spoked P, but three of his eight assists on the season have come in the four games against Springfield he’s played this season. Look for the future star to have a good weekend.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: I know it was stated earlier in the preview how good Zane has been for Providence, but he’s been so good that the numbers bear repeating. He was won his last 11 games that he’s played in while stoning 241 of 260 shots faced in that time frame. That’s good for a save percentage of .927 and goals against average of 1.70. He has also been especially good at home this season. With all three of the weekend games being played at the Dunk look for the veteran net-minder to continue his scorching hot play.

The Providence Bruins had their 12-game point streak snapped last Saturday night. However, they followed that up by shutting out one of the best offenses in the AHL the very next day when they beat Syracuse. That shows the heart of this team. It is very easy after losing a long point streak to let things snowball in the wrong direction. Instead of letting that happen, the Baby B’s had one of their best games of the season right after. The three games the boys in black and gold play this weekend are winnable. The toughest one coming Saturday when they take on Charlotte. I would expect the Bruins to secure at least four points this weekend continuing their hot play. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Anders Bjork

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Photo Courtesy of NHL.com

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Anders Bjork was drafted in the fifth-round (146th overall) in the 2014 NHL Draft. The young forward was projected to go in the fifth or sixth round, so the Bruins drafting him here was not a stretch by any means. When a player is drafted in the middle or later rounds, not a lot is really expected of him. It is one of those things where if the player turns out to be useful great, and if not that’s okay too. Coming into the draft the Mequon, Wisconsin native was overlooked by a stronger forward class. However, he did possess strong offensive instincts, vision, creativity, and puck handling skills. Bjork’s major areas of concern were his defensive game and playing away from the puck. He had obvious holes in his game there, but those were overlooked, and the Bruins drafted him. Now that we know the when and why let’s get into what Anders has done since being drafted.

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Photo Courtesy of UND Athletics

The 2014-15 season was Anders Bjork’s first at the University of Notre Dame. The Fighting Irish play in the grueling Hockey East Conference so it would be a good test for the young forward to see how he measured up. During his freshman season, the Wisconsin native had a promising year in which he netted 7 goals while dishing 15 assists for 22 total points and a +/- rating of –3 in 41 games played. That is a point per game total of 0.53. For a fifth-round draft pick playing in one of the tougher conferences in the NCAA, having a season like that was something the Bruins were happy with. Despite the successful first season in college, the speedy forward was being overlooked as a prospect. There were other forwards in the system that had a higher profile, but he was determined to show his worth to not only Boston but the rest of the NHL.

Something that was important to Bjork during his sophomore campaign was building upon his freshman season and putting his name on the prospect map for the Bruins organization. In 2015-16 the young Fighting Irish forward did just that. In 35 games played the slick winger potted 12 goals while tallying 23 assists for 35 total points and a +/- rating of +28. This means he was scoring at a point per game clip of 1.00. Bjork was able to really show off his offensive skills during this season. His ability to create in space, and get others involved in the offense were highlighted during the year. The Boston front office really started taking notice of their young prospect during this season. It was a good year to build on going forward.

As the 2016-17 season started, it brought added expectations and change for Bjork. It was his junior year at Notre Dame, and he was given a leadership role with the Fighting Irish when they added the “A” to his sweater. The newly appointed alternate Captain took that role and skated with it. The skilled winger took a giant leap forward and had a monster year. In 39 games he found the back of the net 21 times while also dishing out 31 assists for 52 total points and +/- rating of +17. That is a point per game clip of 1.33. Boston was extremely pleased with this season and the young forward shot up prospect rankings everywhere. Not only that, he was named a Hobey Baker Award finalist which is the award given to the best hockey player in the NCAA. It was a season which caused wild speculation about the possibility of the Fighting Irish star forgoing his senior year to sign an entry-level contract with the Bruins.

After much deliberation, Anders Bjork decided to sign a three-year entry-level contract before the 2017-18 NHL season. The Notre Dame Alum had a strong pre-season. The Bruins organization was really impressed with his speed, his shot, and his puck handling ability. They were so impressed that he started the year with the big club in Boston playing alongside David Pastrnak and David Krejci. The then-rookie started out on fire scoring seven points in his first 11 games. That’s when the season took a tough turn. He went on a cold streak which caused him to be sent down to Providence for a few games to work on his offense.

The former Hobey Baker finalist spent nine games in the AHL netting two goals and dishing out two assists for four total points and a +/- rating of –1. After those nine games, the Wisconsin native was called back up to the NHL, and in his first game back he had his rookie season cut short when he suffered a shoulder injury which would require season-ending surgery. His rookie season ended with stats of 4-8-12 in 30 games played. Despite getting injured and being streaky, the former Fighting Irish forward showed flashes of great offensive ability proving he can be a middle to top-line scorer in the league.

Coming into this season, Bjork was healed from his shoulder surgery and had a solid training camp coming off an injury. The second-year forward started the year playing sparingly spending most of his time playing on the third line. As a result of the Notre Dame alum was sent down to Providence to work on his game. While in the AHL, Bjork was playing well in 13 games he netted one goal and dished out nine assists for 10 total points and a +/- rating of -3. In his last game played something awful happened, and the Wisconsin native re-injured his shoulder and needed season-ending surgery for the second year in a row. While in Boston he managed to play in 20 games finding the back of the net one time and dishing out two assists for three total points and +/- rating of -1.

Anders Bjork has had a tough first few professional seasons of hockey. Having back to back shoulder injuries to cut short a season makes it hard to grow and develop as a hockey player. Despite this, I think that the skilled forward can be a very good second or third line wing in the NHL. He has shown flashes of great offensive ability both in his rookie year in Boston and playing this year in Providence. I believe that having surgery early when he did, and training and getting healthy for the 2019-20 is the best move the young winger could have made. I think next season we will finally see a fully healthy and fully motivated Anders Bjork and we are going to love what we see.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 18 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

The Providence Bruins come into the weekend 24-16-6-1 (55 points) and 8-0-1-1 in their last 10 games this is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s are currently riding an 11-game point streak which has seen them go 9-0-1-1. This has catapulted them from near the bottom of the conference to right in the thick of things in the playoff picture. This weekend proves to be another tough test for our boys in black and gold. They have three games this weekend, and the two teams they play against are both ahead of them in the Eastern Conference standings.

The weekend action all starts on Friday, February 8, 2019, with a return home when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade the Dunk. The weekend continues Saturday, February 9, 2019, when the Bruins return the favor traveling to Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the home team Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. Finally, the exciting weekend wraps up with some more home cooking as the Syracuse Crunch make their first trip to the Dunkin Donuts Center on Sunday, February 10, 2019. These are going to be three games you do not want to miss.

Friday, February 8, 2019 (HOME) and Saturday, February 9, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The weekend home and home series will mark the either and ninth time that these two teams have met, and all the games have been closely contested games with five of the seven games going to overtime or shoot-out. The first game of the season series saw the Sound Tigers beat the Bruins 4-3 in overtime with the spoked P getting goals from the recently departed Colby Cave (2), and Jakub Zboril with goalie Dan Vladar playing well turning away 30 of 34 shots he faced. The next meeting saw the Providence club win 5-2 getting goals from Cameron Hughes, Colby Cave, Trent Frederic (2), and the now departed Jan Kovar. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked good in net stopping 25 of the 27 shots he faced.

The third meeting between the two clubs saw Providence breakout offensively winning 6-1 getting goals from Cameron Hughes (3), Zach Senyshyn (2), and Trent Frederic. In net, Dan Vladar was superb stopping 28 of the 29 shots fired his way. The next three meetings the Eastern Conference foes would play ended up going to overtime. The first of those ended up going the Sound Tigers’ way 5-4 with the Bruins getting goals from Jan Kovar, Anton Blidh, Jakub Zboril, and Ryan Donato. Zane McIntyre was in net for the contest, and he was a little off his game stopping 20 of the 25 shots that were fired his way.

The next meeting between the two teams had the puck bounce the Bruins way as they won 2-1 in overtime getting goals from Wiley Sherman, and Ryan Fitzgerald (OT). Goalie Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 29 of the 30 shots he faced. The sixth game of the season series saw the Baby B’s fell in overtime 4-3 getting goals from Anton Blidh, Peter Cehlarik, and Kyle Cumiskey with goalie Dan Vladar stopping 13 of 17 shots he faced. Most recently, the Bruins fell 4-3 in a shoot-out getting goals from Jordan Szwarz, Mark McNeill, and Zach Senyshyn while goalie Dan Vladar stopped 12 of the 15 shots that came his way. It’s been a crazy season series thus far, and I would look for it to continue that way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the game 26-17-4-2 (58 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Our boys in black and gold have had an up and down season against the Islanders’ affiliate this year going 3-0-3-1. However, over the past five years, the Baby B’s have seen success against the Bridgeport club going 23-16-5-3. This bodes well for the weekend series despite having more success at home than on the road. Major keys to this game will be special teams and getting a keeping a lead early.

The Sound Tigers have the eighth-ranked power play in the Atlantic Division, and 13th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 17.4%. Meanwhile, the Islanders’ affiliate has the fifth-ranked penalty kill in the Atlantic Division, and ninth-ranked in the Eastern Conference at 81.0% On the flip-side the Providence Bruins boast the second-best power play in the Atlantic Division and the fifth-best in the Eastern Conference at 20.1%. Their penalty kill is even stronger ranked second-best in the Atlantic Division as well as second-best in the Eastern Conference at 86.6%. In terms of grabbing an early lead and keeping it, the Sound Tigers are 13-3-2-1 when leading after the first period and 13-2-3-2 when leading after two. The Baby B’s are 11-5-2 when leading after one, and 18-3-2-1 when leading after two. It should be a closely contested home and home series with the two clubs.

Sunday, February 10, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Syracuse Crunch (HOME)

The Sunday afternoon contest marks the first time these two teams have played each other this season. The Crunch come into the game 28-13-2-1 (59 points) and 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the North Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other much because they are in different divisions, but the Bruins have a record of 1-3 against the Crunch in that time frame. Something that does bode well is that they are 1-1 at home in that time frame. Also, the Lightning affiliate is 10-8-2 on the road this season which is much worse than their home record of 17-5-0-1.

The Syracuse Crunch score a lot of goals. It is going to take a total team effort defensively to keep them off the score-sheet, and team defense is going to be a major key for the Bruins if they want to win. Despite only playing 44 games the Tampa Bay affiliate has scored 166 goals. That’s an eye-popping 3.77 goals a game. Luckily, for the Baby B’s they boast one of the best defenses in the Eastern Conference giving up 132 goals in 47 games played which is 2.80 goals a game. Another reason why I said it would take team defense to beat the Crunch is that you can’t stop just one guy or even one line from scoring and be okay. They have nine players with a point per game total of at least 0.71 and six of those players have at least 30 points on the year. It should be an exciting game from the Dunk.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Ryan Donato: Donato was sent down to Providence early last week before the team’s two games against Charlotte. The young winger promptly scored a goal and got an assist in his first game back. The former Harvard University forward has registered a point in six of his last nine games with Providence with stats of 6-4-10. He did have a stint in Boston mixed in there but has been excellent for the Baby B’s when with the club. In 12 games he has netted six goals and dished out five assists. That is a point per game total of 0.92 which is very close to his NCAA days of 1.07 (60-44-104 in 97 games played).

Paul Carey: The veteran forward has been excellent for the Providence Bruins since being acquired from the Senators in mid-January. Over his last five games he has netted four goals and tallied two assists, and in nine games with the Baby B’s he has a point per game total of 1.00 (5-4-9). Overall on the season the former Boston College Eagle and two-time NCAA champion has a point per game total of 0.93 (5-22-27 in 29 games). This is significantly better than his college days of 0.59 (45-41-86 in 147 games played).

Not

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson: The young forward was also sent down to Providence at the same time Ryan Donato was early last week. The former Boston University Terrier did register an assist in his second game back in the AHL but has not registered a goal in his last nine games with the Baby B’s and has only dished out three assists in that time frame. Forsbacka Karlsson was someone who the Bruins had hoped would take a big step forward this year, and thus far it’s been less than inspiring. On the year he has a point per game total of 0.41 (1-4-5 in 12 games). This is much less than his NCAA days of 0.81 (24-39-63 in 78 games played).

Jordan SzwarzThe Bruins’ Captain hasn’t registered a goal since January 19, 2019. That is a five-game goal-less streak. He has dished out three assists in that time frame, but the Baby B’s need him to start scoring more goals if they want to continue their hot streak. On the year the OHL product has a point per game total of 0.60 (14-10-24 in 40 games played). This is higher than his AHL career of 0.59 (104-134-238 in 404 games played) but is lower than his OHL days of 0.78 (82-122-204 in 262 games played).

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Cameron Hughes: Hughes has had a good first full season thus far for Providence. The former University of Wisconsin Captain has a point per game total of 0.55 (11-15-26 in 47 games played) and has been especially good against Bridgeport this season. In seven games against the Islanders’ affiliate, the young forward has potted four goals while dishing out three assists for seven total points. That means a little more than a quarter of his point total has come against the Sound Tigers. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Kyle Cumiskey: The veteran defenseman has played well for the Baby B’s this season. Cumiskey has a point per game total of 0.56 (3-11-14 in 25 games). This is up from his career AHL total of 0.48 (25-95-120 in 250 games played). On top of that, the WHL product has been especially good against Bridgeport this season in three games played he netted one goal and dished out three assists for four total points. This means he too has scored a little more than a quarter of his points against the Sound Tigers this season. I think he has a big weekend in store.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane has been one of the biggest reasons the Providence Bruins are on an 11-game point streak. Over his last nine games played he has a record of 9-0-0 while turning away 189 of the 207 shots that he has faced for a save percentage of .913 and goals against average of 1.96. The veteran goaltender has solidified the back-end of the defense. Look for him to have another big weekend for the boys in black and gold.

A few weeks ago, in one of these previews, I mentioned that this Providence team was too good to not be in a playoff spot. Since then the boys in black and gold have proved my point. There are many young, exciting prospects on the verge of being ready to make an impact in Boston. Despite that, they have a tough weekend ahead. Both teams they will be playing are above them in the Eastern Conference standings. A big weekend could change. We could see the Baby B’s climb to fourth in the division. Who would’ve thought that 11 games ago that when they started this crazy streak, we’d be saying that? I believed in the team, but I wouldn’t have guessed a streak like this was possible. I hope they can continue it this weekend. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 17 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 17 is upon us for the Providence Bruins. They come into it with a record of 22-16-6-1 (51 points) and 7-1-1-1 in their last 10 meetings. That includes a nine-game point streak in which the Baby B’s are 7-0-1-1. This has catapulted them into fourth place in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. That spoked P is playing great hockey right now which is backed by the outstanding play of Karson Kuhlman and Zane McIntyre. They have another short weekend playing just two games for the second week in a row. I can assure though; these games are ones you will not want to miss.

The action kicks off on Friday, February 1, 2019, when the Providence Bruins travel down to Charlotte, North Carolina to take on the home team Eastern Conference-leading Checkers at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The weekend the wraps up on Saturday, February 2, 2019, with the Baby B’s staying in Charlotte to invade the Bojangles’ Coliseum once again to take on the Checkers for the second night in a row. It’ll be a tough test for the boys in black and gold, but I think they will be up for the challenge.

Friday, February 1, 2019, and Saturday, February 2, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (AWAY)

The weekend series will mark the six and seventh times these two teams have faced each other, and things haven’t gone the Providence club’s way. In the first installment of the season series, the Carolina Hurricanes’ affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-3 with the Bruins getting goals from the now departed Jan Kovar, Trent Frederic, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie, Dan Vladar had a rough night in net turning away 20 of the 24 shots he faced. The second meeting did not yield better results for our boys in black and gold as the Checkers won 3-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Ryan Fitzgerald while goalie, Zane McIntyre played valiantly stopping 17 of 20 shots in the loss.

The third match-up between the two clubs saw the spoked P finally break through winning 2-1. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik and Jordan Szwarz. Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 25 of the 26 shots that were fired his way. More recently the Baby B’s fell in OT to Charlotte 3-2 getting goals from Jordan Szwarz and Trent Frederic. Zane McIntyre was great in net again, turning away 44 of the 47 shots he faced, and he pitched in with the rare goalie assist. The last meeting between the two clubs saw the spoked P beat the Hurricanes’ affiliate 5-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Trent Frederic (2), Gemel Smith, Paul Carey, and Karson Kuhlman. Zane McIntyre was very good in net turning away 24 of the 27 shots he faced.

The Charlotte Checkers come into the weekend 31-11-4 (66 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first place in the Atlantic Division as well as first place in the Eastern Conference. The Checkers moved to Charlotte in 2010 from Albany, NY where they were the River Rats. Since making North Carolina their home, the Hurricanes’ affiliate has a record of 5-3-0-1 against our Bruins including a 3-0-0-1 record at the Biscuit. It should be a big test for the Baby B’s who have played extremely well recently. Their nine-game point streak has seen them jump into a playoff spot. These games could measure how far the Providence club has come since the start of the season.

There are a few major keys to the games this weekend that we should keep a lookout for. First, as with most match-ups, special teams are going to be key. The Providence Bruins boast the fifth best power play unit in the Eastern Conference with 20.7%. On top of that, they have the second-best penalty kill unit in the Eastern Conference at 86.6%. The Checkers, on the other hand, have the 13th best power play unit in the Eastern Conference at 17.6% and the third-ranked penalty kill at 84.2%. Another key is going to be which team is going to be able to out-shoot the other. The Baby B’s are 15-11-3-1 when they out-shoot their opponent and Charlotte is 15-7-3.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Zach SenyshynSenyshyn has had an up and down season. He’s been streaky ever since coming to Providence from the OHL. Recently though, he’s played a lot better and has really been able to show his speed and play-making ability. Over his past four games, he has netted two goals while dishing out two assists for four points. Overall on the season, he has stats of 13-7-20 in 40 games played. This is a point per game average of 0.50 which is down from his OHL career of 0.91 (114-63-177 in 195 games played), but it is up from his career AHL total of 0.43 (25-21-46 in 106 games played).

Gemel Smith: Smith was acquired by Boston and sent down to Providence back in December. Since then he has been excellent for the Baby B’s. He has played in 17 games and netted eight goals while dishing out 8 assists. That’s 16 points in 17 games for a point per game total of 0.94. This includes two goals and two assists in his last four games. The young forward’s point per game total is closer to his OHL playing days of 0.77 (89-114-203 in 264 games) than it is to his AHL career of 0.50 (43-59-102 in 203 games played)

Not

Austin FytenFyten has skated into a bit of a cold spell recently. The gritty forward has not registered a point since January 5, 2019. So far on the year, the WHL product has netted three goals while dishing out six assists for nine total points in 40 games. This is a point per game total of 0.22. This is much lower than his WHL days of 0.63 (55-67-122 in 193 games played). It’s also much lower than his ECHL days of 0.72 (32-45-77 in 107 games played). Hopefully, the veteran forward can pick up his play and find himself in the hot category sometime soon.

Dan VladarThe young goalie has had an up and down season for Providence. He seems to be a streaky goalie who is on a cold streak right now. In his last five games, he has a record of 1-2-2. In the time frame, he has turned away 123 of the 140 shots he faced for a .878 save percentage and goals against average of 3.33. With Zane McIntyre up in Boston because of injury, the Baby B’s may need to rely on Vladar to find his game for the near future.

My players to watch for the Bruins

Up Front

Paul Carey: Carey has had an excellent season in the AHL this year. He was acquired from Ottawa on January 12, 2019, and the former Boston College Eagle and two-time NCAA Champion has not disappointed. In seven games with the Baby B’s the veteran forward has netted five goals and dished out three assists for eight total points. He has been especially good against the Charlotte Checkers this year. He has played in five games against them this season. The first four were for the Ottawa Senators’ affiliate, Belleville. In those five games, he has netted two goals and dished out three assists for five points. This includes one goal and one assist for Providence their last meeting with Charlotte. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Jakub ZborilZboril has had a pretty good season for Providence thus far. He has stats of 3-8-11 on the year while playing good defense. In the team’s last game against Springfield, he dished out two assists getting on the score sheet for the first time January 6,2019. That game against the Thunderbirds is the type of game that can catapult players into a hot streak. I have a feeling with how Zboril has played this season for the Baby B’s that it will do just that. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan VladarWith Zane McIntyre in Boston on an emergency basis because of a Tuukka Rask concussion we may see Vladar in both games this weekend. As stated earlier his last five games have not been pretty going 1-2-2 with a .878 save percentage and 3.33 goals against average. If these Bruins want to continue their point streak, Vladar is going to have to find his game and play well against Charlotte. Luckily this year, the young goalie has been better on the road than at home.

The Providence Bruins have a tough task ahead of them this weekend playing the Eastern Conference-leading Charlotte Checkers in back to back games on the road. It will be a chance for the team and our fans to see where the Baby B’s truly are in terms of being contenders for the Calder Cup. I think if the boys in black and gold can come out of the weekend with at least one win then it will bode well for their chances moving forward. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 16 Preview

babybs

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Heading into week 16 the Providence Bruins currently sit at 20-16-6-1 (47 points) and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. For the second weekend in a row, the Baby B’s managed to grab five of six possible points and are currently riding a seven-game point streak which has seen them go 5-0-1-1. This has catapulted them to the brink of a playoff spot. After a grueling five straight weeks of three-game weekends, the spoked P has a little bit of a reprieve having only two games this weekend.

The action kicks off on Friday, January 25, 2019, when the Eastern Conference-leading Charlotte Checkers roll into town to invade the Dunk. The weekend wraps up on Saturday, January 26, 2019, when a familiar foe, the Springfield Thunderbirds swoop in to play at the Dunk. It should be a great weekend of hockey for all involved and these are two games you do not want to miss.

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins Flickr

Friday, January 25, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

The Friday evening match-up will mark the fifth time these two teams have faced each other, and things haven’t gone the Providence club’s way. In the first installment of the season series, the Carolina Hurricanes’ affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-3 with the Bruins getting goals from the now departed Jan Kovar, Trent Frederic, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie, Dan Vladar had a rough night in net turning away 20 of the 24 shots he faced. The second meeting did not yield better results for our boys in black and gold as the Checkers won 3-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Ryan Fitzgerald while goalie, Zane McIntyre played valiantly stopping 17 of 20 shots in the loss.

The third match-up between the two clubs saw the spoked P finally break through winning 2-1. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik and Jordan Szwarz. Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away 25 of the 26 shots that were fired his way. Most recently the Baby B’s fell in OT to Charlotte 3-2 getting goals from Jordan Szwarz and Trent Frederic. Zane McIntyre was great in net again, turning away 44 of the 47 shots he faced, and he pitched in with the rare goalie assist.

The Charlotte Checkers come into the Friday game 30-10-4 (64 points) good for first in the Atlantic Division as well as the entire Eastern Conference. Formerly, the Albany River Rats, the Checkers have seemingly had the Baby B’s number since moving to Charlotte in 2010. Over the past five seasons, they have a record of 5-2-0-1 against Providence. Something that does bode well for the Baby B’s is they do have a winning record against the Hurricanes’ affiliate in that time frame at 2-1-1.

As with most match-ups, special teams will play a big part of who wins this game. The spoked P holds the advantage in not only power play 19.8% to 18.4% but also in the penalty kill 86.1% to 84.3%. Another key to this game is who is leading after two periods. When leading after two periods the Checkers are 19-0 but losing after the second period, they are 3-6-3. On the other side, Providence is 16-3-2-1 when leading after the second period and 3-13-2 when trailing after two.

Despite the large win differential, and the lack of recent success against Charlotte the Baby B’s have a good chance of winning this game. Their goals for and goals against stats look similar at 149 goals for and 125 goals against for the Checkers and 139 goals for and 126 against for the boys in black and gold. Look for a close battle this weekend.

Saturday, January 26, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

This game marks the eighth time the Bruins and Thunderbirds have faced off this season. In the first meeting, Springfield beat Providence 6-3 with the Bruins getting goals from Zach Senyshyn, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Colby Cave. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre was a little off his game stopping 14 of 20 shots. The second meeting between the two teams saw a different score with the same result. The Florida Panther’s affiliate beat the Baby B’s 4-2 with the Bruins getting goals from now-departed Martin Bakos and Jan Kovar, while current goalie Zane McIntyre looked much better stopping 17 of 20 shots in net.

The third game of the season series saw the Bruins finally break through and get a win beating the Thunderbirds 5-4. The boys in black and gold got goals from Mark McNeill, Karson Kuhlman, Peter Cehlarik, Jordan Szwarz, and Connor Clifton while Dan Vladar stopped 22 of 26 shots he faced. The next installment of the season series did not go according to plan for the spoked P as they fell to the Springfield club 5-3. Bruins got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Meanwhile, goalie Dan Vladar was a little off his game despite facing a barrage of shots stopping 34 of 39 he faced.

Part five of the season series was a good one for the boys in black and gold. The Bruins beat the Thunderbirds 4-3 getting goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Trent Frederic, and Paul Carey. Meanwhile, goalie Zane McIntyre continued to play well as he turned away 19 of the 22 shots he faced. The sixth part in the season series saw the Panthers’ affiliate beat the spoked P 3-2 in overtime. The Baby B’s were able to get goals from Gemel Smith, and Cameron Hughes with Dan Vladar giving a tremendous effort in net stopping 38 of the 41 shots he faced. The most recent showdown saw the boys in black and gold win 2-1 in a shootout getting goals from Karson Kuhlman, and Trent Frederic netted the winning shootout goal. Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots he faced.

The Springfield hockey club comes into this eighth meeting with a record of 20-14-6-4 (50 points) and 5-2-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division as well as fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Thunderbirds seem to have the Bruins’ number this year going 4-2-0-1 against our boys thus far. Something that bodes well for the Baby B’s though, is that they are 10-4-1 against the Panthers’ affiliate in the last five seasons at home and 20-10-3 overall.

Major keys to the game will be whether the game is close or not. In one-goal games, the Baby B’s are 8-8-6-1. Meanwhile, the Thunderbirds are 5-6-6-4 under the same scenario. In two-goal games, the Bruins are 2-4 and their Atlantic Division foe is 5-3. Finally, in three-goal games the spoked P is 6-4 and Springfield is 5-3. Another key will be who is winning after the second period. As I said earlier the Boston Bruins’ top affiliate is 16-3-2-1 when leading after two. On the other side of the bench, the Panthers’ affiliate is 15-0-1. Whoever can jump out to an early multiple-goal lead stands a fantastic chance of coming away with two points Saturday night.

Who’s hot and Who’s not for the Bruins

Hot

Paul Carey: Carey was traded to Boston from Ottawa in a minor trade back on January 11, 2019. Since being traded for, the former Boston College Eagle and two-time NCAA Champion has been excellent for Providence. In five games for the Baby B’s he has netted four goals and dished out two assists for six total points. Combine this with what the gritty forward did for the Belleville Senators in 34 total AHL games he has stats of 9-24-33 this is a point per game total of 0.97 which is much higher than his AHL career total of 0.67 (88-127-215 in 321 games played), and higher than his NCAA total of 0.59 (45-41-86 in 147 games played).

Karson Kuhlman: Kuhlman has quietly put together a really nice first full season with Providence. The former University of Minnesota-Duluth Bulldogs’ Captain and NCAA champion has been excellent recently for the Baby B’s. The young forward has scored a point in 11 of his last 13 games with stats of 6-7-13 in that time frame. This superb play has pushed his season totals to 9-13-22. This is a point per game total of 0.51 which is higher than his NCAA total of 0.48 (39-41-80 in 166 games played.)

Not

Cameron Hughes: The young forward has seemed to run into a bit of a dry spell lately. The former University of Wisconsin Captain has found the score sheet just once in his past five games netting a goal against Springfield on January 13, 2019. This cold streak could be attributed to the fact that it’s the young forward’s first full season in Providence and sometimes it takes players times to adjust to the pro game. Still, he has a point per game total of 0.56 (10-14-24 in 43 games) which is relatively close to his college days of 0.66 (23-69-92 in 139 games played).

Joona KoppanenThe young forward was called up to Providence from ECHL Atlanta back in November. Since being called up to Providence he has played in 19 games finding the back of the net two times for two total points. The Finland native has not registered a point since January 4th, 2019. It is worth noting that he is only 20 years old, and this is his first full professional season in North America. It can take time adjusting to the different styles of play from the North American pro game to International play. The World Junior Cup Gold Medalist has a point per game total of 0.10 (2-0-2 in 19 games) which is significantly less than his Liiga days in Finland of 0.31 (2-12-14 in 45 games played).

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Jordan SzwarzThe Providence Bruins Captain has been great for the team this season. He’s netted 14 goals and dished out 9 assists for 23 total points. Szwarz has been especially good against Charlotte and Springfield this season. In 10 games against the two teams this year he has stats of 5-3-8. This is a point per game total of 0.80. Remember, the 6 goals away from 20 on the year. Once he hits the 20-goal milestone, he will be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history with 20+ goals in three different seasons for the club. Also, a big congratulations to the Ontario native for playing in his 400th career AHL game over the weekend.

On the Blue Line

Urho VaakanainenI know this is a repeat of last week, but I really do not want his play to go unnoticed. The young defenseman has been excellent in six games since returning to the Providence lineup. In those six games, he has dished out five assists for five points while playing excellent defense for the Baby B’s. Vaakanainen is easily my favorite prospect that the Boston Bruins currently have. Look for him to have another big weekend as three of his seven points this season have come against Springfield.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Like Vaakanainen I know this is a repeat, but again I cannot let the play of McIntyre go unnoticed. The veteran goalie is a huge reason why the Bruins have gone on a seven-game point streak. In his last six games, Zane is 6-0-0 turning away 115 of the 127 shots he has faced for a .905 save percentage and goals against average of 1.97. His play has solidified not only the goalie position for Providence but also the back end of the defense.

For the second weekend in a row, the Providence Bruins were able to grab five of a possible six points. This has catapulted them to the brink of a playoff spot. While, both games this weekend will tough, with how the Baby B’s are playing, I have the utmost faith that this team will grab at the very least two points this weekend. However, do not be surprised to see them snatch up all four points as they continue their climb up the Atlantic Division and Eastern Conference Standings. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go!

Check out the available tickets from our advertising partner SeatGiant for your next Boston Bruins game. Click the link below, and when purchasing any event ticket, from the NHL, NBA, MLB, NFL to concerts and shows, please use discount code BNGP to save a little money. Thank You! 

Click Here For The Boston Bruins 2018-19 Regular Season Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com

Click Here for The Providence Bruins Schedule and Ticket Info From SeatGiant.com