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 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 24-16-2-2 (52 points) and 4-5-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a challenging week that saw them lose to the Sound Tigers 2-1 before beating the same Bridgeport club 3-1. The Bruins would then go on to lose to Springfield 6-5 in overtime before beating Lehigh Valley 3-2 in a shootout.

This weekend’s hockey action starts on Friday, January 24, 2020, when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The action wraps up on Saturday, January 25, 2020, when the Hershey Bears invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. It should be exciting hockey you do not want to miss.

Friday, January 24, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)

The Friday meeting will mark the third of six the two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would go on to win 3-0. The now in Boston Anders Bjork, Brendan Gaunce, and Paul Carey would score goals. Max Lagace would stop all 28 shots he faced in what would be his first game as a Bruin. The most recent matchup saw the Bruins win 3-2 in a shootout. Oskar Steen and Zach Senyshyn scored goals. Max Lagace stopped 26 of 28 shots he faced.

Historically, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have given the Providence Bruins fits. Over the past five seasons, the Providence club is 11-13-2. This includes 6-6-1 at home. This game, however, should not reflect that. The Philadelphia affiliate skates into the matchup 18-19-1-5 (42 points) and 6-3-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in Eastern Conference.

The only real positive thing that you can say about the Lehigh Valley club is that their defense is not horrible. They’ve given up 118 goals in 43 games. This means they are only giving up 2.74 goals a game. The problem with that is they’ve only scored 103 goals this season. This means they have a -15 goal differential, while also only scoring 2.39 goals a game. Scoring less than you give up is not how you consistently win hockey games.

Some other stats of note for the Phantoms, they are 9-4-0-1 when leading after the first period. 11-0-0-1 when leading after the second period. They are 3-10-0-1 when trailing after the first period. The Lehigh Valley club is 3-15-0-3 when down after the second period.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 117 goals in 44 games while scoring 138. That is a +21 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.65 goals a game while scoring 3.13. The Providence club is 13-0 when leading after one period and 19-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-10-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-12-0-1 when trailing after two.

Saturday, January 25, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (HOME)

The Saturday battle will mark the fifth of six matchups the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would win 2-1 in overtime, getting goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Brendan Gaunce (OT).  Dan Vladar was excellent in net stopping 21 of 22 shots fired his way.

The second matchup saw the Providence club fall 5-3, getting goals from Brendan Woods, Paul Carey, and Jakub Zboril. Kyle Keyser was okay in net stopping 28 of 33 shots he faced. The third meeting saw the Bruins win 6-3. Ryan Fitzgerald, Paul Carey, Urho Vaakanainen (2), Jack Studnicka, and Trent Frederic scored goals. Sean Bonar, who has since been sent to the ECHL, stopped 25 of 28 shots he faced.

The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 7-6 in a shootout. Brendan Woods, Joona Koppanen, Urho Vaakanainen, Paul Carey, Jakub Lauko, and Oskar Steen had goals. Max Lagace stopped 17 of the 23 shots that were fired his way. The netminder would also contribute with an assist on the scoresheet.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 25-14-2-3 (55 points) and 6-4 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 17-9-1-1 over the five seasons. Including 10-2-0-1 at home.

The Hershey Bears are 17-7-0-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 7-7-2-2 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 11-11-2-2 when they outshoot opponents and 8-5 when being outshot by opponents. The Washington affiliate is 7-1-0-1 when leading after the first period and 14-0-0-1 when leading after the second. However, they are just 4-6-2-1 when trailing after the first and 3-11-0-1 when down after two.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic is a guy who started off slow, but is having a good season. In 41 games this year, he’s netted six goals while dishing out 17 assists for 23 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out four assists for six total points in his last six games. The former University of Wisconsin Badger is only two points away from his total of all last season. This year the young center has really rounded out his game in all zones.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with Providence. He came to the Bruins after spending his entire professional career in the Vancouver Canucks system. In 34 games this season, he’s netted 10 goals while dishing out 11 assists for 21 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out three assists for six total points in his last seven games. The veteran forward has been a great addition to the Providence forward crop.

Not

Josiah Didier: Josiah Didier is also in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran defenseman came the Bruins after spending last season with the Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers. In 44 games this season, he hasn’t netted a goal while dishing out eight assists for eight total points. This includes registering two assists for two total points in his last 18 games. Hopefully, the University of Denver alum can provide some offense soon.

Joona Koppanen: Joona Koppanen is in his second season with Providence. The young forward came to the Bruins after spending the beginning of his career in Finland. In 33 games this year, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out seven assists for 14 total points. This includes registering one point, an assist in his last seven games. Hopefully, the former fifth-round pick can pick up his offensive game soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Paul Carey: Paul Carey is having an excellent season with Providence. In 44 games this year, he’s netted 17 goals while dishing out 13 assists for 30 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out three assists for six total points in four games against Hershey this season. The Bruins’ Captain has played so well that he earned himself a spot on the AHL All-Star Team.  The success Carey has had both this season and against Hershey makes him a prime candidate to have a big weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen came into the season has one of the Boston Bruins’ top prospects. The young defenseman has had an excellent season overall. In 39 games this season, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out an assist for four total points in four games against Hershey this season. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season with Providence. On the season, he’s 16-6-2 with a 2.43 GAA and .917 save percentage. This includes a league-leading five shutouts. The veteran netminder has provided stability at the back end of the Bruins’ defense. Look for him to have a big weekend.

The Providence Bruins have had a rough six weeks after starting the year so hot. The Providence club currently sits in a playoff spot by two points. These two games this weekend are both very winnable and ones the team needs to win to push towards the playoffs. I expect the Bruins to win both games this weekend. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 16 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 16 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 22-15-1-2 (47 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a superb week that saw them beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-2 and 5-3. This weekend is another big weekend with three games in three days plus a game next Wednesday. Four games in a short period are never easy.

The hockey action begins on Friday, January 17, 2020, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The action continues on Saturday, January 18, 2020, when the Providence Bruins make their way to Bridgeport, Connecticut, to take on the Sound Tigers at the Webster Bank Arena. The three games in three days conclude on Sunday, January 19, 2020, when the Springfield Thunderbirds come back to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Week 16 comes to an end on Wednesday, January 22, 2020, when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Friday, January 17, 2020 (HOME) and Saturday, January 18, 2020 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The weekend home and home series with mark the fifth and sixth of 12 that these two teams will have this season. The first game saw the Bruins shutout the Sound Tigers 4-0, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik, Cameron Hughes, Robert Lantosi, and Ryan Fitzgerald. Goalie Max Lagace was excellent in net topping all 30 shots fired his way.

In the second meeting, the Providence club would win 4-1, getting goals from Joona Koppanen, Brendan Gaunce, Alex Petrovic, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace was fantastic in net stopping 31 of 32 shots fired his way.

The most third meeting saw the Bruins lose 2-0. Goaltender Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 33 of 35 shots fired his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 5-0. Brendan Gaunce (2), Ryan Fitzgerald, Trent Frederic, and Jack Studnicka had goals. Max Lagace stopped all 17 shots fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 14-22-4-1 (33 points) and 3-6-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 24-17-6-3 against the Islanders’ affiliate over the past five seasons.

The biggest key to Bruins’ victory in these two games is taking an early lead and keeping it. The Sound Tigers are 1-12-2 when trailing after one and 0-15-2 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 41 games has only scored 92 goals while giving up 133. Not only is this a horrendous -41 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 2.24 goals a game while giving up  3.24. They are giving up a full goal more than they are scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 12-0 when leading after one period and 18-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 126 goals while giving up only 106 in 40 games. That means, not only do they have a +20 goal differential, but they are scoring 3.15 goals a game while only giving up 2.65. These are games that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Sunday, January 19, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Sunday matchup will be the eighth of 14 these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way.

The second game saw the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime while getting goals from Robert Lantosi, Joona Koppanen, Scott Conway, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace stopped 30 of the 35 shots fired his way. The third meeting saw the Providence club come out on top 5-4 in overtime. They would get goals from Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Robert Lantosi, Peter Cehlarik, and Paul Carey (OT). Veteran netminder Max Lagace stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.

The fourth battle saw the Bruins come out on top 5-0. Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Paul Carey, and Oskar Steen had the goals for Providence. Dan Vladar was out of this world in net stopping all 42 shots fired his way. The fifth game saw the Bruins come out on top 4-3. Robert Lantosi, Jack Studnicka, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Pavel Shen were the Bruins goal scorers. Dan Vladar was on his game, making 31 stops out of 34 shots.

The sixth battle would prove to be a good one. The Bruins won 5-2. Trent Frederic, Brendan Gaunce, Ryan Fitzgerald, Anton Blidh, and Karson Kuhlman would score goals. Dan Vladar stopped 26 of the 28 shots he faced in net. The most recent matchup would also be a good one. The Bruins would win 5-3. Brendan Woods (2), Peter Cehlarik, Karson Kuhlman, and Anton Blidh would net goals. Max Lagace would go on to stop 21 of the 24 shots he faced in net.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 21-18-2 (44 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 28-15-4 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 14-8-1 at home.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 117 goals in 41 games while scoring 125. This is a plus-eight goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.85 goals a game while scoring 3.04. The Springfield club is 5-2 when leading after the first period. They are also 14-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 4-8 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-13-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 106 goals in 40 games while scoring 126. That is a +20 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.65 goals a game while scoring 3.15. The Providence club is 12-0 when leading after one period and 19-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-9-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-11-0-1 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Wednesday, January 22, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)

The Wednesday meeting will mark the second of six the two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would go on to win 3-0. The now in Boston Anders Bjork, Brendan Gaunce, and Paul Carey would score goals. Max Lagace would stop all 28 shots he faced in what would be his first game as a Bruin.

Historically, the Lehigh Valley Phantoms have given the Providence Bruins fits. Over the past five seasons, the Providence club is 10-13-2. This includes 5-6-1 at home. This game, however, should not reflect that. The Philadelphia affiliate skates into the matchup 16-19-1-4 (37 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 15th in Eastern Conference.

The only real positive thing that you can say about the Lehigh Valley club is that their defense is not horrible. They’ve given up 114 goals in 40 games. This means they are only giving up 2.85 goals a game. The problem with that is they’ve only scored 93 goals this season. This means they have a -21 goal differential, while also only scoring 2.32 goals a game. Scoring less than you give up is not how you consistently win hockey games.

Some other stats of note for the Phantoms, they are 8-4-0-1 when leading after the first period. 9-0-0-1 when leading after the second period. They are 3-10-0-1 when trailing after the first period. The Lehigh Valley club is 3-15-0-3 when down after the second period. This is another game that you would expect the Providence Bruins to come out victorious.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Karson Kuhlman: Karson Kuhlman had a rough start to his year. While up in Boston, he suffered an injury eight games into his season. The former University of Minnesota-Duluth Captain has been excellent in the four games since he came back. In those games, he’s netted two goals and dished out an assist for three total points. On top of that, he’s looked great on the ice. He’s skating with purpose and attacking the puck whenever he’s on the ice.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. He’s had a good season overall. In 30 games, he’s netted eight goals and dished out 11 assists for 19 total points. This includes netting a goal and dished out three assists for four total points over his last three games. The former Utica Comets forward has provided a spark offensively that the team has needed.

Not

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen is in his first professional season in North America. The Sweden native has had a rough time adjusting to the North American ice. In 38 games, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. He also has not registered a point over his last eight games played. Steen is still young. I expect him to adjust to the smaller ice and start producing soon.

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is someone who started out on fire in his first season with the Providence Bruins. In 35 games, he’s netted two goals while dishing out 17 assists for 19 total points. However, he hasn’t registered a point over his last six games. Hopefully, the former Edmonton Oiler and Florida Panther defenseman can pick up his offensive play soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is one of the Bruins’ top prospects. He’s also having an excellent season. In 38 games, he’s netted 14 goals and dished out 12 assists for 26 total points. He also earned himself a spot on the AHL All-Star team. Despite not registering a point in his last six games, the young forward still looks good in all zones. Look for him to break his pointless streak this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen is having an excellent season with the Providence Bruins. Not only is he playing well defensively, but he is playing well offensively as well. In 34 games, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. Look for him to have a big weekend at both ends of the ice.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season in Providence. He is 14-6-2 with a 2.49 GAA and a .915 save percentage. He’s also registered a league-high five shutouts this year. With Tuukka Rask being injured, it looks like Vladar could be called up to Boston on an emergency basis. This means Lagace is going to have to have a stellar weekend for the Providence club.

The Providence Bruins bounced back in a big way this past weekend after their worst one of the season. The next four games on the schedule are a good chance for the Providence club to build upon that and continue the momentum. Every game this weekend is a game that they should win. It would be nice to bank some points and get a little bit of a cushion in the standings heading into the Calder Cup playoffs. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins Game 49 Preview: Pittsburgh Penguins

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PHOTO CREDITS: (sportsnet.ca)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

With back-to-back losses against the Philadelphia Flyers and Columbus Blue Jackets earlier in the week, the Boston Bruins look to get right back to their winning ways against the red-hot Pittsburgh Penguins. The Bruins are still third in the National Hockey League with a 27-9-12 record, but have a 5-2-3 record in their last ten games played. Boston needs to start piecing together wins again in order to remain atop the standings.

Pittsburgh has been one of the best teams in the league for well over the past decade and somehow, they have quietly done the same in 2019-20, winning four-straight games and having an 8-1-1 record in their last ten games to boost themselves to fourth in the overall standings. The Penguins have a 29-12-5 record and trail the Bruins by only three points with two games in hand.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 10-6-5 2.49 GAA .919 SV% Last Game: 24 Saves in 3-0 loss vs CBJ

PIT: Matt Murray (Not Confirmed) 13-6-4 2.91 GAA .896 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 4-3 OT win vs COL

Who’s Hot:

Sidney Crosby had not played a game of hockey since November 9th, so the doubts of him playing at the same elite level were there, but he quieted all of them down. The 32-year-old superstar proved why he will go down as one of the greatest of all-time after scoring a goal and three assists for his first four-point night since March 2nd, 2019 against the Canadiens. Crosby now has 6-15-21 numbers in 18 games played this season.

Whenever David Pastrnak steps on the ice, especially when the Bruins are on the power-play, he is a threat to score. Even though he was held scoreless in the shutout loss to the Blue Jackets on Tuesday, he has five goals in his last five games including a hat-trick four games ago against the Winnipeg Jets. Pastrnak still leads the NHL in goals and has 36-33-66 numbers in 48 games this year.

Evgeni Malkin is commonly thought of as the wing man to Sidney Crosby, but in Crosby’s absence, he was deemed the leader of the team and he stepped up. Malkin leads the Penguins with 15-32-47 totals in 33 games played in ’19/’20 and is in the midst of a four-game point streak where he has accumulated 4-4-8 numbers. In Pittsburgh’s 7-3 win over the Wild, Malkin scored two goals and added an assist for a three-point night of his own.

Who’s Not:

In a league where depth scoring seemingly rules, the Boston Bruins need all four lines to produce consistently and for Sean Kuraly, consistency has been one of the biggest problems. Even with his sixteen points on the campaign thus far, he has only one point in his last seven games and has not scored a goal in sixteen consecutive games (Dec. 11 vs WSH). Bruins need more from Kuraly, even if he is a fourth-liner.

Matt Murray is likely getting the start in goal after back-to-back starts for Tristan Jarry early in the week and if he does, it might be a better chance for the Bruins to pick up the win. Even though he has three wins in each of his last three starts, he has allowed three, two, and four goals respectively in those starts. With a .896 save-percentage and a 2.91 goals-against-average, Murray has strides to improve his game this season.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F David Krejci will play his 892nd career regular-season game, passing Terry O’Reilly (891) for 7th-most games played in Bruins history*
  • D Zdeno Chara is two penalty minutes away (1038) from passing Wayne Cashman (1039) for 6th-most PIM in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is one game-winning goal away (55) from tying Cam Neely (56) for 5th-most GWG in Bruins history
  • F David Pastrnak is one hat-trick away (7) from tying Bill Cowley (8) for 5th-most hat-tricks in Bruins history

*F David Krejci (upper-body) is a game-time decision for tonight’s game vs PIT.

Pittsburgh Penguins:

  • D Jack Johnson is one point away (299) from 300 career NHL points
  • G Matt Murray is three saves away (5036) from passing Les Binkley (5038) for 5th-most saves in Penguins history
  • G Matt Murray is one shutout away (11) from passing Les Binkley (11) for sole possession of 3rd-most shutouts in Penguins history

Bruins vs Penguins Outlook:

Boston and Pittsburgh meet one another for three games a year and with Boston taking a 6-4 back on November 4th, the Penguins will look to even up the season series tonight before their final meeting of 2019-2020 this Sunday in Pittsburgh. The Bruins survived a strong four-goal second-period from the Pens in that first game to score three goals in the final period to pick up the win.

Taking a look at the speciality team battle, the Bruins on-paper take the win there. Boston has the third-best power-play percentage (27.3%) and the 7th-best penalty-kill percentage (83%) while the Penguins have the 17th-best man-advantage in the NHL (19.9%) and the 14th-best penalty-killing percentage at 81%.

Boston remains as the best team at home in the National Hockey League with a 15-2-9 record while inside the TD Garden. On the other side of it, the Penguins are a pretty decent road team – having a record of 12-7-2 during the season so far.

Bruins Roster Moves:

  • G Tuukka Rask (concussion) placed on injured-reserve, no timetable on return
  • G Dan Vladar recalled from Providence (AHL) on emergency basis
  • F David Krejci (upper-body) is a game-time decision
  • F Karson Kuhlman recalled from Providence (AHL)
  • F Brett Ritchie cleared waivers; will report to Providence (AHL)
  • D Matt Grzelcyk back in lineup, D Steven Kampfer is a healthy scratch
  • F David Backes had a maintenance day today

Puck drop is scheduled for 7:00pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts, USA.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 162 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 15 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 15 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 20-15-1-2 (43 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off the roughest week of the season, which saw them lose to the Hartford Wolf Pack 3-1 before getting beat by the Charlotte Checkers 4-0 and 4-1. The Bruins must bounce back this weekend and get all four points.

The hockey action kicks off on Saturday, January 11, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The action wraps up on Sunday, January 12, 2020, when the Springfield Thunderbirds return the favor and take on the Providence Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Saturday, January 11, 2020 (AWAY) and Sunday, January 12, 2020 (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds

The weekend home and home series will be the sixth and seventh meetings of 14 these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way.

The second game saw the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime while getting goals from Robert Lantosi, Joona Koppanen, Scott Conway, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace stopped 30 of the 35 shots fired his way. The third meeting saw the Providence club come out on top 5-4 in overtime. They would get goals from Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Robert Lantosi, Peter Cehlarik, and Paul Carey (OT). Veteran netminder Max Lagace stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced.

The fourth battle saw the Bruins come out on top 5-0. Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Paul Carey, and Oskar Steen had the goals for Providence. Dan Vladar was out of this world in net stopping all 42 shots fired his way. The most recent game saw the Bruins come out on top 4-3. Robert Lantosi, Jack Studnicka, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Pavel Shen were the Bruins goal scorers. Dan Vladar was on his game, making 31 stops out of 34 shots.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 20-16-2 (42 points) and 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 26-15-4 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 13-7-3 in Springfield.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 107 goals in 38 games while scoring 116. This is a plus-nine goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.81 goals a game while scoring 3.05. The Springfield club is 4-2 when leading after the first period. They are also 13-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 4-6 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-11-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 101 goals in 33 games while scoring 116. That is a +15 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.65 goals a game while scoring 3.05. The Providence club is 10-0 when leading after one period and 16-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-9-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-11-0-1 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

These are two games the Providence Bruins need to win. They’ve gone on a mini losing streak when the two teams ahead and behind them in the standings have gone on winning streaks. The Providence club needs to start banking some points, and with the Thunderbirds only one point behind them in the standings, these are must-win games.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. He signed an AHL deal with after spending last season with HK Nitra of the Slovakian League. In 34 games this season, he’s found the back of the net 10 times and dished out 14 assists for 24 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out four assists for eight total points in his last 10 games. The young forward remains one of the hottest players on the team over the past few weeks despite the struggle.

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is another player that’s in his first season with the Providence Bruins. Coming into the year, he was one of the team’s top prospects, and he’s lived up to expectations and then some. In 36 games this season, he’s netted 14 goals and dished out 12 assists for 26 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out one assist for five total points in his last 10 games. The young forward has remained one of the hotter players all year, and his play was rewarded with being named to the AHL All-Star team.

Not

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has had a great year overall in his first year as the Providence Bruins’ Captain. In 37 games this season, he’s netted 15 goals and dished out 11 assists for 26 total points. This includes only registering one point, a goal in his last seven games. The former Boston College Eagle and NCAA Champion will hopefully turn things around this weekend. His overall good season also landed him a spot on the AHL All-Star team.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen has had an up and down first season in Providence. The young forward came to Providence after spending last season with Farjestad BK of the Swedish Hockey League. In 36 games this season, he’s netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points. This includes only registering one point, a goal in his last 13 games. One noteworthy thing is this year is Steen’s first full season on North American ice. It can take time for a young player to get used to that style of play.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Karson Kuhlman: Karson Kuhlman is a guy who burst onto the scene last year with Providence. He played so well that he got called up to Boston and got significant playing time with Boston in the regular season and playoffs. Eight games into his season this year, the former University of Minnesota-Duluth Captain was injured. This past weekend he played in two games with Providence for a conditioning stint. He’s still with the Providence club, so look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has had an excellent first season in Providence. The veteran defenseman came to Providence after spending last season with the Florida Panthers and the Edmonton Oilers. In 35 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out 17 assists for 19 total points. The WHL product has been an integral part of the defensive success as well. Look for him this weekend!

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has an excellent season with Providence thus far. He came into the season as one of the better goalie prospects in the Boston system. So far on the year, he’s 5-5 with a 1.83 GAA and a save percentage of .936%. He also has recorded two shutouts this season. Look for him to have another good weekend.

The Providence Bruins have had an excellent season despite the recent four-game losing streak. The one unfortunate thing about the losing streak is that the two teams ahead of them and behind them in the Atlantic Division standings are one winning streaks of four or more games. The Providence club needs to start winning games and banking points if they want to make the playoffs. This is a perfect weekend to start doing that. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins Game 43 Preview: Edmonton Oilers

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Greg M. Cooper-USA TODAY Sports)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Looking to continue their strong season, the Boston Bruins host the Edmonton Oilers in the first meeting between the two teams in opposing conferences. The Bruins boast the second-best record in the National Hockey League with a 24-7-11 record through the halfway mark of the regular season. The Bruins are coming into the game following a tight 2-1 overtime loss to the Columbus Blue Jackets on Thursday night.

For the Edmonton Oilers, they are entering Saturday’s game with a record of 21-17-5 after 43 games played and have a sub-par record of 3-6-1 in their last ten contests. The Oilers started the season off hot, near the top of the league, but have since fallen off the rails and are now grasping for any signs of life before they fall out of a playoff spot. In their last time out, the Oilers felt short, losing to the Buffalo Sabres 3-2 in overtime.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Jaroslav Halak 9-3-5 2.20 GAA .930 SV% Last Game: 42 Saves in 3-2 SO loss vs NJD

EDM: Mikko Koskinen (Not Confirmed) 14-8-2 2.85 GAA .912 SV% Last Game: 28 Saves in 7-5 win vs NYR

*Goaltenders may change before puck drop.

Who’s Hot:

David Pastrnak has proven time and time again that he is among the very best that the National Hockey League has to offer and his current nine-game point streak is a perfect example of that. In these past nine games, the 23-year-old forward has 4-10-14 numbers, helping him extend his position as the leading goal scorer in the NHL with 30 goals, only three goals ahead of Toronto Maple Leafs forward Auston Matthews who has 27 on the campaign.

Connor McDavid, on a good or bad team, plays at such a high level that he is almost always “hot”. McDavid leads the league in points with 64, (22 goals, 42 assists), only one point ahead of teammate Leon Draisaitl, 23-40-63, on the year. This dynamic duo has been dominating all season long, with McDavid just recently having a four-game point streak.

Patrice Bergeron failed to score a point against the New Jersey Devils on New Year’s Eve, but the four-time Selke winner added an assist in Thursday’s loss to Columbus, improving his numbers to 17-19-36 in only 33 games thus far, scoring seven of those points in his last five games. Between December 21st and December 27th, Bergeron scored two goals in a game for three straight games, proving that he can score goals as well as be one of the best defensive forwards in the game.

Who’s Not:

Oilers forward Alex Chiasson scored twenty-two goals last year for Edmonton but in 36 games so far this year, the 29-year-old has only 4-8-12 totals and has not found the scoresheet in his last five starts. Against the Rangers, Chiasson was scratched but made his way back into the lineup against the Sabres, playing 11:25 of ice-time with zero points and only one shot on goal.

Against the Devils, almost the entire Bruins lineup was lacking in the effort the put out on the ice for the final forty minutes of play. With the exception of Sean Kuraly and Chris Wagner, the Bruins seemed sluggish, slow, and had no motivation in their game, eventually leading to New Jersey tying the game and winning it in a shootout. Boston failed to win battles along the boards, lost races to the puck, and only managed fourteen shots in the second and third periods combined. Against Columbus, not much changed as they lost a one-goal lead before eventually losing early into the overtime session. The Bruins need a better 60-minute effort against Edmonton on Saturday to pick up a win.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F David Krejci is three points away (671) from tying Ken Hodge (673) for 8th-most points in Bruins history
  • D Zdeno Chara is two penalty minutes away (1029) from passing Ted Green (1029) for sole possession of 7th-most penalties in minutes in Bruins history
  • F Brad Marchand is two even-strength goals away (205) from tying Ken Hodge (207) for 8th-most even-strength goals in Bruins history
  • F Patrice Bergeron is one power-play goal away (102) from passing Rick Middleton (102) for sole possession of 5th-most power-play goals in Bruins history

Edmonton Oilers:

  • G Mike Smith is one shutout away (39) from 40 career NHL shutouts*
  • F Connor McDavid is one point away (436) from passing Esa Tikkanen (436) for sole possession of 10th-most points in Oilers history

*if he gets the start Saturday vs BOS

Bruins vs Oilers Outlook:

Since these teams are in opposite conferences, they will only play each other twice during the 82-game campaign. Last season, Boston played the Oilers twice, with the Bruins winning the season series with a record of 1-0-1. On October 11th, 2018, the Bruins defeated Edmonton by a final score of 4-to-1, before losing a week later in overtime 3-2.

As mentioned previously, the Oilers were once near the top of the overall league standings as a result of their strong month of October, however, due to some poor goaltending and lack of consistent defense, they have fallen to the second wild-card spot in the Western Conference and 16th in the league standings. The Oilers have an 11-9-2 road record compared to Boston’s strong 14-1-9 record when playing inside the TD Garden – the arena of Saturday’s tilt.

An interesting facet of Saturday’s game will be the power-play as both teams are in the top-three for power-play percentage so far this season. Edmonton currently has the best man-advantage in the NHL, scoring at 30.0% on 130 power-play opportunities. The Bruins are not far behind, scoring at 27.2% on 136 power-play opportunities.

On the other hand, Boston has the second-best penalty-kill in the league, killing off 85.4% of their 152 penalties while Edmonton has the fourth-best penalty kill, killing off 83.6% of their 142 penalties. Boston has also drawn the fourth-most penalties throughout the season so far, drawing a total of 171 penalties – 25 more than Edmonton’s 146.

With two of the best duos in the league (Marchand & Pastrnak; McDavid & Draisaitl), going toe-to-toe with one another, expect this to be quite an entertaining hockey game. There are NHL odds here that will be updated as it gets closer to the time of the game so don’t be surprised if you see a change in the spread.

Puck drop is scheduled for 1:00 pm EST from the TD Garden in Boston, Massachusetts.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 160 that we recorded below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 14 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 14 of the AHL season and week one of 2020 are here. The Providence Bruins skate into it 20-12-1-2 (43 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 4-3 before falling to the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-1. The Bruins will start off 2020 at home for three games in three days after ending 2019 with a five-game road trip.

The hockey action starts on Friday, January 3, 2020, when the Hartford Wolf Pack invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The action continues on Saturday, January 4, 2020, when the defending Calder Cup Champion Charlotte Checkers come to town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. The weekend wraps up on Sunday, January 5, 2020, when the Providence Bruins take on the same Charlotte Checkers at the Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, January 3, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME)

The Friday matchup will mark the seventh of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way. The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. They got goals from Scott Conway, Jack Studnicka, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was able to stop 35 of the 38 shots he faced.

The third game saw the Bruins fall 5-2. They received goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Kyle Keyser was able to stop 24 of 28 shots he faced. The fourth battle saw the Providence Bruins fall 4-1. They got their lone goal from Cameron Hughes. Goalie Max Lagace stopped 18 of 22 shots he faced.

The fifth matchup was a bad one, the Bruins would lose 3-0. Goalie Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 18 of the 20 shots he faced. The most recent game saw the Providence Bruins lose 4-1. They got their lone goal from Joona Koppanen. Max Lagace had a rough night in net stopping 26 of 30 shots fired his way.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 19-8-2-5 (45 points), including 6-4 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough game, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 22-16-4-2, including 14-6-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 89 goals in 34 games. That means they are only giving up 2.61 goals a game. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 114 goals in 35 games. That’s 3.25 goals a game. It’ll be a great battle between the two teams.

Saturday, January 4, 2020, and Sunday, January 5, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (HOME)

The weekend series between the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers will be the third and fourth of eight meetings the two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Providence Bruins would win 4-1. They got goals from Brendan Woods (2), Scott Conway, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was excellent in net stopping 28 of the 29 shots fired his way.

The second matchup saw the Bruins shutout the Checkers 4-0. They got goals from Brendan Woods, Urho Vaakanainen, Pavel Shen, and Jack Studnicka. Dan Vladar was a wall, stopping all 36 shots he faced. The Providence Bruins are 8-5-1 against Charlotte over the past five seasons. This includes 3-2-1 at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.

Last season, the Charlotte Checkers were dominant. They would beat the Bruins in four games in the first round of the playoffs on their way to their first Calder Cup Championship. This season has been a bit of a different story. The Hurricanes’ affiliate skate into the match up 16-13-3 (35 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference.

Something that led to their dominant season last year was their defense. Their defense only surrendered 189 goals, while they scored 255. That’s a +66 goal differential. This season has been the opposite. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 94 goals while giving up 87. That’s a plus-seven goal differential. This isn’t very good if you want to sustain longterm success.

To put those numbers into perspective, the Providence Bruins have played in three more games than Charlotte. They’ve scored 114 goals while giving up 90. That’s a +24 goal differential. The Providence club has been better this season than Charlotte, and these are two games that they should absolutely win.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Joona Koppanen: Joona Koppanen has had a good season for Providence thus far. He started the year spending time in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators. In 25 games since being with Providence, the young forward has netted seven goals and dished out six assists for 13 total points. This includes a two-game point streak that saw him score a goal and dish out an assist. Koppanen joined the Bruins three years ago after spending the beginning of his career in Finland. He was drafted in the fifth round of the 2016 NHL Draft.

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi continues his stellar first season with the Providence Bruins. In 31 games this season, the young forward has netted nine goals and dished out 14 assists for 23 total points. This includes three goals and four assists for seven total points in his last seven games. He came to Providence on an AHL deal after spending the beginning of his career in his home country of Slovakia. If he keeps up this play, we could see him land an NHL deal soon.

Not

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has had a good season overall for Providence. In 27 games, he’s netted nine goals while dishing out 13 assists for 22 total points. Despite this, the veteran forward has not registered a point in his last four games. Even though he is on a mini cold streak, I would expect Cehlarik to break out of the funk soon.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an up and down season for Providence. In 32 games, he’s found the back of the net four times and dished out 13 assists for 17 total points. Despite this, he hasn’t registered a point in his last four games. Another thing he needs to reign in a little bit is his penalties. He already has 93 penalty minutes on the year. He had 67 all of last year. Hopefully, the former Universit of Wisconsin Badger can turn it around soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has had an excellent first season in Providence. In 33 games, he’s netted 14 goals and dished out 12 assists for 26 total points. The young forward has also netted four goals and dished out an assist for five total points over his last seven games. Studnicka’s special teams play has really stood out this year. He’s netted three power-play and five shorthanded goals this year.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has had a good season for Providence Bruins. In 32 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out eight assists for 10 total points. The young defenseman is going to have to step up the next few games. Vaakanainen missed the last few games with an injury, and Lauzon was called up to Boston. I would expect Zboril to be a focal point for the defense this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran netminder came to Providence after spending the past few seasons in the Vegas system. Lagace is 13-5-2 with a .916 save percentage and a 2.44 GAA. He’s also recorded a league-high five shutouts.

The Providence Bruins are in an excellent position as we head into the new year. They sit firmly in a playoff spot. I would expect the Providence club to sustain and build upon their success from the first half of the year. They’ve traditionally been better in the second half of the year. If they can continue that trend, we are going to be in for a spectacular end to the season. I hope everyone had a wonderful holiday and new year! Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, BS, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 13 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

It’s week 13 of the AHL season, and the Providence Bruins are 19-11-1-2 (41 Points) and 6-4 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a tough week that saw them get shutout by Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 1-0 and then be shoutout again by Hartford 3-0. After the holiday, the team has two games on the road that you don’t want to miss!

The hockey action starts on Friday, December 27, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The action concludes on Saturday, December 28. 2019, when the Providence Bruins make their way to Hartford, Connecticut, to take on the Wolf Pack at the XL Center.

Friday, December 27, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The Friday night matchup will be the fifth of 14 these two teams will have. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way. The second game saw the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime while getting goals from Robert Lantosi, Joona Koppanen, Scott Conway, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace stopped 30 of the 35 shots fired his way.

The third meeting saw the Providence club come out on top 5-4 in overtime. They would get goals from Jack Studnicka, Trent Frederic, Robert Lantosi, Peter Cehlarik, and Paul Carey (OT). Veteran netminder Max Lagace stopped 24 of the 28 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins come out on top 5-0. Jeremy Lauzon, Jakub Zboril, Jack Studnicka, Paul Carey, and Oskar Steen had the goals for Providence. Dan Vladar was out of this world in net stopping all 42 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 16-15-2 (34 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 25-15-4 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 12-7-3 in Springfield.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 91 goals in 33 games while scoring 95. This is a plus-four goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.75 goals a game while scoring 2.87. The Springfield club is 4-2 when leading after the first period. They are also 9-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 3-6 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-10-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 83 goals in 33 games while scoring 109. That is a +26 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.51 goals a game while scoring 3.30. The Providence club is 10-0 when leading after one period and 15-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-6-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-8-0-1 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Saturday, December 28, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

The Saturday matchup will mark the sixth of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way. The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. They got goals from Scott Conway, Jack Studnicka, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was able to stop 35 of the 38 shots he faced.

The third game saw the Bruins fall 5-2. They received goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Kyle Keyser was able to stop 24 of 28 shots he faced. The fourth battle saw the Providence Bruins fall 4-1. They got their lone goal from Cameron Hughes. Goalie Max Lagace stopped 18 of 22 shots he faced. The fifth battle was a bad one, the Bruins would lose 3-0. Goalie Max Lagace was up to the task in net stopping 18 of the 20 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 17-7-2-5 (41 points), including 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough game, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 22-15-4-2, including 8-9-3-1 at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 81 goals in 31 games. That means they are only giving up 2.61 goals a game. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 109 goals in 33 games. That’s 3.30 goals a game. It’ll be a great battle between the two teams.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this season. It’s his first full season in Providence, and while there have been some growing pains, on the whole, the young center has developed nicely. In 31 games this season, he’s netted 13 goals while also dishing out 12 assists for 25 total points. This includes three goals and one assist for four total points in his last five games.

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is another player who is in his first full season in Providence. In 29 games, the young forward has eight goals while dishing out 13 assists for 21 total points. Lantosi came to Providence after signing an AHL deal in the summer. He spent most of his career in Slovakia before coming to the Bruins. He’s someone who could battle for a two-way NHL deal if he keeps up his play.

Not

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is another person in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. He came to the Providence club after signing an AHL contract last year. In 21 games this year, he’s netted one goal while dishing out five assists for six total points. After a stellar weekend that saw him grab five points, he’s come back down to earth and hasn’t registered a point in his last four games. Let’s hope he gets back to his scoring ways.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce has had an up and down season for Providence this year. In 23 games this season, he’s netted seven goals and dished out seven assists for 14 total points. This overall is great. However, over his past seven games, the veteran forward has only registered one point an assist. Let’s hope he gets back to scoring soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent in his first season as the Providence Bruins’ Captain. In 32 games, the veteran forward has netted 14 goals and dished out 11 assists for 25 total points. The former Boston College Eagle has also provided valuable leadership to a young team. Look for him to continue that this week.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has been very good overall for Providence. After a rough stretch to start the year, he was called up to Boston because of injury. Since returning to Providence, he’s been excellent both offensively and defensively. Overall on the year, the young defenseman has netted four goals and dished out seven assists for 11 total points in 29 games. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent in his first season with Providence. He holds a 13-4-2 record with a 2.36 GAA and a .919 save percentage. The veteran netminder has also recorded a league-leading five shutouts. Lagace has provided leadership for the young goalies as well.

The Providence Bruins find themselves in a favorable position coming out of the holiday. They are in a playoff spot comfortably. If the Providence club continues playing the way they have been, they will make a strong push towards the post-season after the New Year. I hope everyone had a wonderful Holiday and has a great New Year. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 12 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

We are into the 12th week of the AHL season. The Providence Bruins skate into it 19-9-1-2 (41 points) and 8-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and first in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them beat the Springfield Thunderbirds 5-4 in overtime. They would then go on to shutout the same Thunderbirds 5-0 before beating the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 6-0. The Bruins have a short a weekend with games against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and the Hartford Wolf Pack.

The hockey action starts on Friday, December 20, 2019, when the Providence Bruins travel to Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania, to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza. The weekend wraps up on Saturday, December 21, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Hartford, Connecticut, to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center.

Friday, December 20, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

The Friday matchup marks the second of six these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins won 6-0. They got goals from Tommy Marchin (2), Pavel Shen, Robert Lantosi, Jack Studnicka, and Peter Cehlarik. Goalie Max Lagace was superb in net stopping all 38 shots fired his way.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into the contest 14-11-3-1 (32 points) and 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had some success against the Pittsburgh affiliate over the past five years, going 13-6-3-3. However, they are only 6-5-2 in Wilkes-Barre Scranton during that time.

This could be an opportunity for the Providence Bruins power-play to gain some momentum. The Penguins have taken 123 penalties in 29 games. That means they are giving up 4.32 penalties a game. They’ve also given up 25 goals out of those 123 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 79.7%, which is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. This seems like the perfect storm for the Providence club to gain confidence on the power-play.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is also excellent when they get an early lead and keep it. They are 7-1-1 when leading after the first period and 8-0-1 when they are leading after the second period. It should be a close game between these two division foes. I expect the Providence club to come out on top in this one. It’s one of those games they need to win to assert themselves atop the Eastern Conference.

Saturday, December 21, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

The Saturday matchup will mark the fifth of 10 meetings the two teams will have this year. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 2-1. Providence got their lone goal from Jack Studnicka. Goalie Kyle Keyser was up to the task in net stopping 23 of 25 shots that were fired his way. The second battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in a shootout. They got goals from Scott Conway, Jack Studnicka, and Robert Lantosi. Max Lagace was able to stop 35 of the 38 shots he faced.

The third game saw the Bruins fall 5-2. They received goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Kyle Keyser was able to stop 24 of 28 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Providence Bruins fall 4-1. They got their lone goal from Cameron Hughes. Goalie Max Lagace stopped 18 of 22 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 16-7-2-5 (39 points), including 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and third in the Eastern Conference. Even though it’ll be a tough game, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 22-14-4-2, including 8-8-3-1 at the XL Center. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 81 goals in 30 games. That means they are only giving up 2.7 goals a game. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 109 goals in 31 games. That’s 3.51 goals a game. It’ll be a great battle between the two teams.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi came to the Providence Bruins after spending the beginning of his career in his home country of Slovakia. The young forward spent last season with HK Nitra of the Slovak Tipsport Liga, which is Slovakia’s top hockey league. In 27 games with the Providence club this year, he’s netted eight goals while dishing out 13 assists for 21 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out seven assists for nine total points in his last seven games. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an up and down season this year, but recently is playing very well. In 28 games this season, he’s netted four goals and dished out 13 assists for 17 total points. The former University of Wisconsin Badger also finds himself in the middle of a four-game point streak. During the streak, he’s netted two goals and dished out five assists for seven total points.

Not

Brendan Woods: Brendan Woods has had an average season for the Providence Bruins. The veteran forward came to Providence after spending the last two seasons with the Utica Comets. In 19 games, the former University of Wisconsin Badger has netted five goals and dished out four assists for nine total points. Despite this, he only has one point, an assist in his last seven games. Let’s hope he breaks the slump soon.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce has had a good season for the Providence Bruins. The former first-round pick came to the Providence club after spending his entire career in the Vancouver system. In 20 games this year, the veteran forward has netted seven goals while dishing out seven assists for 14 total points. Despite this, he only has registered one point, an assist over his past five games.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has had an excellent first season with the Providence Bruins. In 29 games, the young forward has netted 13 goals while dishing out 12 assists for 25 total points. His development has been stellar. Studnicka is an absolute joy to watch play. His game is not only developing offensively but defensively as well. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On The Blue Line

Steven Kampfer: Steven Kampfer has spent the majority of the season as the defensive substitute in Boston. With Boston getting healthier, the veteran defenseman was sent down to Providence to get more work in. The former University of Michigan Wolverine has registered three points, all assists in the four games since arriving in Providence. Look for the veteran defenseman to provide leadership on the blue line.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has been excellent in the four games he’s played since coming back from injury. The young netminder looks more confident between the pipes. In those four games, he’s 3-1 stopping 119 of the 123 shots fired his way. That means he has a .967 save percentage with a 0.99 GAA. He’s also recorded two shutouts in those four games. Look for him to try and keep up his stellar play.

The Providence Bruins look poised to make a big run towards the playoffs this year. It’s feasible that the Providence club ends up getting home ice for a round or two in the playoffs. That would be huge. This team has the chance to do something we haven’t seen them do in a very long time, and I say enjoy the ride. I hope everyone has an absolutely marvelous Holiday. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 11 Preview

 

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 11 of the AHL season is here. The Providence Bruins are 16-9-1-2 (35 points) and 7-2-1 in the last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and fourth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them beat the Binghamton Devils 6-2 and the Utica Comets 3-2 in a shootout. They would then fall to the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-1 before falling to the Syracuse Crunch 4-1. This week sees the Bruins have a home and home with a familiar foe before traveling to Pennsylvania for a game.

The hockey action starts on Saturday, December 14, 2019, when the Providence Bruins invade Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Springfield Thunderbirds would return the favor on Sunday, December 15, 2019, when they take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. Finally, the week wraps up on Wednesday, December 18, 2019, when the Providence Bruins travel to Wilkes-Barre Township, Pennsylvania, to take on the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Saturday, December 14, 2019 (AWAY) and Sunday, December 15, 2019 (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds

The weekend home and home will be the third and fourth of 14 games these two teams will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would fall 5-2, getting goals from Peter Cehlarik and Anders Bjork. Goalie Dan Vladar was subpar in net stopping 23 of the 28 shots fired his way. The second game saw the Bruins losing 5-4 in overtime while getting goals from Robert Lantosi, Joona Koppanen, Scott Conway, and Jack Studnicka. Netminder Max Lagace stopped 30 of the 35 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 14-13 (28 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 23-15-4 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 11-7-3 in Springfield and 12-8-1 in Providence.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 72 goals in 27 games while scoring 80. This is a plus-eight goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.66 goals a game while scoring 2.96. The Springfield club is 4-2 when leading after the first period. They are also 8-1 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 2-5 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-9 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 75 goals in 28 games while scoring 93. That is a +18 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.67 goals a game while scoring 3.32. The Providence club is 9-0 when leading after one period and 12-0 when leading after two. However, they are 2-6-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-5-0-1 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Wednesday, December 18, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

The Wednesday matchup will mark the first of six the two teams will play. The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into the contest 13-9-3-1 (30 points) and 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had some success against the Pittsburgh affiliate over the past five years, going 12-6-3-3. However, they are only 5-5-2 in Wilkes-Barre Scranton during that time.

This could be an opportunity for the Providence Bruins power-play to gain some momentum. The Penguins have taken 110 penalties in 26 games. That means they are giving up 4.23 penalties a game. They’ve also given up 22 goals out of those 110 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 80%, which is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. This seems like the perfect storm for the Providence club to gain confidence on the power-play.

Wilkes-Barre/Scranton is also excellent when they get an early lead and keep it. They are 6-1-1 when leading after the first period and 7-0-1 when they are leading after the second period. It should be a close game between these two division foes. I expect the Providence club to come out on top in this one. It’s one of those games they need to win to assert themselves atop the Eastern Conference.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is in his first full professional season with the Providence Bruins. The young defenseman came to the Bruins when he signed an AHL deal after an excellent freshman season at Ferris State University. It’s been an up and down season for Zech. In 18 games, he’s netted one goal and dished out five assists for six total points. However, in his last five games, the young defenseman has found the back of the net once while dishing four assists for five total points. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had a good season for the Providence Bruins thus far. In 28 games, he’s netted seven goals and dished out nine assists for 16 total points. The former Boston College Eagle has been even better over his past 12 games netting three goals while dishing out six assists for nine total points. The veteran forward has been a stabilizing force on offense. It’s needed due to players moving up and down from Providence and Boston because of injury. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Not

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen is also in his first professional season here in North America. The young forward has taken time adjusting to the smaller ice. In 28 games on the year, the Sweden native has netted three goals while dishing out seven assists for 10 total points. Despite this, Steen hasn’t registered a point in his last six games. Hopefully, he can adjust to the North American ice and shake off the rust soon.

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon has had an up and down year for Providence. In 28 games this year, he has seven points, all assists. While the young defenseman has matched his point total from the last two seasons, he still hasn’t registered a point over his past six games. Let’s hope the former Rouyn-Noranda Husky can turn it around and get back on the scoresheet.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Paul Carey: The Providence Bruins Captain Paul Carey has had an excellent season. In 27 games, he’s scored 12 goals while dishing out 10 assists for 22 total points. He’s also provided leadership that a young team needs. With injuries and call-ups, the former NCAA Champion has been a big constant that the offense has needed. Watch for the Captain to have an excellent weekend.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen has had an up and down season for Providence. Initially, the young defenseman didn’t seem like himself on the ice. He was then called up to Boston because of injury and played really well for the big club. Since being reassigned to Providence, he’s been on another level. He’s playing well in all three zones and controlling the overall play when he’s on the ice. In 24 games this year, Vaakanainen has netted four goals while dishing out six assists for 10 total points. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Since coming back from injury, Dan Vladar has been excellent for Providence. On the year he is 3-2 with a 1.84 GAA and a .928 save percentage. Look for him to continue his hot play this weekend.

The Providence Bruins are in a good position this holiday season. The Providence club sits comfortably in a playoff seed. This is what you expect from a team looking to compete for a championship. Let’s hope they can keep up their play over the weekend. These are three games that they should be able to win. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins Game 31 Preview: Ottawa Senators

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Fred Chartrand | AP)

By: Max Mainville | Check me out on Twitter @tkdmaxbjj

Even though the Bruins have lost two consecutive games, they are still one of the top teams in the NHL and tonight is a big night to get back on their winning ways against the Senators tonight. Boston remains second in the league standings with a record of 20-4-6, trailing the Capitals by three points. Boston lost in regulation for the first time at home on Saturday, a 4-1 defeat to the Colorado Avalanche.

The Ottawa Senators are at the complete opposite end of the spectrum with a record of 12-17-1 and 4-6-0 in their last ten games played. The Senators are 1-2-0 in the month of December including a 4-3 loss to the Philadelphia Flyers on Saturday. Ottawa currently sits as the fourth-worst team in the NHL, but have still improved on past expectations from the start of the season.

Starting Goaltenders:

BOS: Tuukka Rask 13-2-3 2.14 GAA .929 SV% Last Game: 27 Saves in 4-3 OT loss vs CHI

OTT: Anders Nilsson 7-8-1 3.10 GAA .910 SV% Last Game: 13 Saves in 4-3 loss vs PHI*

*Replaced Craig Anderson in net who went down with a lower-body injury.

Who’s Hot:

Anthony Duclair has been throughout the league as someone who just cannot find a home, but with the Ottawa Senators, he has become a strong member of the roster. The 24-year-old forward has 13-6-9 numbers in 30 games this season, but has four points in his last three games including a two-goal performance against the Flyers on Saturday. Duclair has also seen a progressing increase in ice-time over these three games, reaching over twenty minutes against Philly.

Boston has not been excellent over the last two games, but somehow, Chris Wagner has found himself on the scoresheet in two consecutive games. With the top line of the Bruins failing to score recently, it has been nice to have some depth scoring from Wagner, who has 3-7-10 numbers this year so far.

Tyler Ennis was held pointless against the Flyers, but in the last three games, the 30-year-old forward has four points including a great 1-2-3 night against the Oilers on December 4th. Ennis has 8-7-15 numbers in 30 games this season – only three points shy of matching his total point production with the Toronto Maple Leafs during the 51 games he played in 2018-19. Ennis has become an important role to the Senators’ offence and he will look to continue that effort tonight against Boston.

Who’s Not:

All superstars go through slumps and right now, Brad Marchand is in one of those slumps right now. The Bruins leading scorer has only one point in his last five games and has not scored a goal in six games, the last one coming against the Senators on November 27th. Marchand still has impressive 18-26-44 numbers in 30 games in 2019-20, but his production is going to be needed with some big conference games this week.

Chris Tierney did score two points against the Oilers, but has only those two points in the last five games and has 3-11-14 numbers in 30 games played. The 25-year-old played over fifteen minutes on Saturday, but finished the night with one shot and a -2 rating. Ottawa would like some additional production from the former San Jose Sharks forward tonight against the Bruins.

Milestone Watch:

Boston Bruins:

  • F Charlie Coyle is one goal away (99) from 100 career NHL goals
  • F Jake DeBrusk is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points

Ottawa Senators:

  • D Ron Hainsey is playing in his 1,099th career NHL game
  • F Jean-Gabriel Pageau is playing in his 399th career NHL game
  • F Vladislav Namestnikov is one assist away (99) from 100 career NHL assists
  • D Thomas Chabot is two points away (98) from 100 career NHL points

Bruins vs Senators Outlook:

Boston and Ottawa have already played two of the four scheduled meetings between one another, with the Bruins winning both of them by scores of 5-2 and 2-1 in November. Following tonight’s contest, the Bruins and Senators will meet again near the conclusion of the regular-season on March 26th.

Boston has fallen a tad on the special teams, falling below 30% on the power-play, but still holds the third-best man-advantage in the NHL. The Bruins have an 84.4% success rate on the penalty-kill as well. For Ottawa, they have the worst power-play percentage in the league at 9.6%, but has the 12th-best penalty-kill percentage at 82.6%.

Bruins Lineup News:

Patrice Bergeron’s seven-game absence is over, bringing back the first-line of Marchand, Bergeron, Pastrnak after a few games of players being tossed throughout the lineup. Puck drop for tonight’s contest is scheduled for 7:30pm EST from the Canadian Tire Centre in Ottawa, Ontario, Canada.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 157 that we recorded on 12-8-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Stitcher.

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