Bruins, Jacobs Announce Plan To Compensate TD Garden Employees During COVID-19 Pandemic

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Photo: (Jim Michaud / MediaNews Group / Boston Herald)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

On Saturday morning, the Boston Bruins and the Jacobs Family announced a plan to compensate part-time gameday TD Garden employees due to the NHL’s current hiatus due to the COVID-19 pandemic. The plan is based around a fund of $1.5 million, should the remaining six games on Boston’s schedule go unplayed.

The NHL announced 10 days ago on Thursday, March 12, that the 2019-20 season was  suspended until further notice to try to mitigate the spread of COVID-19 (coronavirus), following the lead of the NBA. The suspension of the season left part-time arena employees, especially those who may depend on their hourly wages, in the dark.

Over the last week or so, the remaining 30 NHL franchises and other professional sports organizations announced plans to compensate employees who would be affected, or at least made statements regarding the situation, leaving the Bruins as the only organization to contribute their voice to the matter. The lack of action on the Jacobs’ part over the last 10 days led to backlash and pressure from Bruins fans and members of the media.

Jeremy Jacobs, 88, and his family, most notably his son Charlie, have owned the Bruins since purchasing the team for a mere $10 million (by today’s standards) in 1975. Since, under his control, the Bruins brought the Stanley Cup back to Boston in 2011, and made six other trips to the Stanley Cup Final (1977, 1978, 1988, 1990, 2013, and 2019). Jacobs, who is also the chairman of Delaware North, was inducted into the Hockey Hall of Fame in 2017 under the builder category. In September, prior to Boston’s season, Jacobs announced his plans to confer ownership of the franchise to his children.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 170 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 G Prospect Jeremy Swayman Named Hockey East Player Of The Year

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Photo: University of Maine Athletics

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins goaltending prospect Jeremy Swayman was named Hockey East Player of the Year per a league announcement on Thursday morning. Swayman signed his entry-level contract with Boston on Tuesday, forgoing his senior year at the University of Maine.

The now former Black Bears standout posted one of the best seasons by any goaltender in college hockey, totaling 1,099 saves, the most of in Division I. Swayman’s 782 conference saves, the most by a Hockey East netminder since the 2010-11 season, and .932 conference save percentage led the league.

The Anchorage, AK, native’s .939 overall save percentage was good enough for second in the nation. The junior also carried an overall record of 18-11-5 (12-9-3 Hockey East), posting 25 games with at least 30 saves and five contests with at least 40 stops. With the strong campaign, Swayman is firmly in the conversation to receive the Mike Richter Award, given annually to the goaltender voted to be the most outstanding in Division I.

The Player of the Year honor comes as yet another distinction for Boston’s fourth round pick (111th-overall) in the 2017 NHL Entry Draft as he was named a Hockey East First Team All-Star, and part of the All-USCHO Second Team. The 21-year-old was a also named the recipient of the Walter Brown Award as the top American-born college hockey player in New England, and as a top 10 finalist for the Hobey Baker Memorial Award, given annually to the nation’s top college hockey player.

Upon signing his pro deal earlier this week, Swayman joins a cast of goaltenders, including Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser, vying to become the successor to Bruins netminders Tuukka Rask, 33, and Jaroslav Halak, 35.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 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 Minor-Pro Affiliate Done With Season After Virus Concerns Rise

( Photo Credit: Infinite Energy Center / Infiniteenergycenter.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

Per CBC & Sportsnet reporter/writer Elliotte Friedman sent out a tweet below letting the hockey world that the ECHL would announce that the league is going to cancel the season on Monday. Minutes later the well informed Friedman updated the new that the cancelation of the 2019-20 was going to be within the hour and not on the upcoming Monday. Later in the series of tweets below, the ECHL did, in fact, announce that the regular season and playoffs are done for the remainder of the hockey year.

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This unfortunate news certainly came at a bad time when it comes to the Boston Bruins franchise as the Atlanta Gladiators are they’re “AA” minor-pro affiliate and feeder system to the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins which is Boston’s top minor-pro affiliate. The Gladiators have hovered around the bottom of the South Division standings but have played well before the ECHL cancelation to be in the mix of the 2020 Kelly Cup postseason. Before last night’s announcement, the Glads produced points in their last ten glams accompanied by an impressive 8-0-1-1 record good enough for 62 regular-season points just one point shy of tying the third-place Greenville Swamp Rabbits.

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As the 2019-20 season ended for Atlanta club they finish with a 29-28-2-2 record and when you look at the Eastern Conference postseason outlook they sit in the eighth position and would’ve qualified for a playoff spot unlike they did at the end of the 2018-19 campaign. Before this terrible virus seemingly took over the world, I believe with the way the Gladiators club was playing down the stretch the team could’ve earned more points to possibly reach the seventh position in the East with 11 games remaining.

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Some Gladiators players that were under contract and Providence Bruins property that deserve mentions this season offensively were longtime veteran forward Eric Neiley (24-31-55, 59GP) forward Samuel Asselin (26-26-52, 53GP) forward Tommy Marchin (21-27-48, 49GP) forward Scott Conway (17-16-33, 39GP) defenseman Joel Messner (8-29-37, 59GP) defenseman Zach Malatesta (14-20-34, 60GP). It was unfortunate that goaltender and Boston Bruins prospect Kyle Keyser wasn’t able to return to the Gladiators lineup as he was recently sent down to Atlanta presumably medical cleared to return to action after leaving the AHL Providence Bruins team he was with for several weeks getting back to game shape after a long absence with concussion problems.

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Bruins seventh-round prospect Pavel Shen who was struggling to get into games with Providence down the stretch was sent to Atlanta to keep his feet moving and would’ve added some offensive production at the lower level was unable to see any ice in Georgia due to the cancelation. With the top minor-pro affiliate in Providence in his AHL rookie season, the 20-year-old Russia native appeared in 35 games for the Bruins contributing 4-5-9 numbers. Shen was selected in the last round of the 2018 NHL Entry Draft and impressed at the 2018-19 World Junior Championship Tournament where he had 3-1-4 numbers in seven games.

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With the end of the ECHL 2019-20 campaign officially over it remains to be seen what’s to become of the higher up AHL and even higher NHL and their thoughts on the current hockey season. The ECHL is a feeder to the higher AHL franchises so in emergency situations and callups presumably won’t be there. If the AHL is next, well there goes your feeder league for the NHL if the same scenarios are to arise. I’m not saying it’s going to happen, and don’t have any solid proof, but the ECHL might be setting the bar here for further cancelations of hockey seasons. This is something I’m not exactly happy about as a diehard Boston Bruins fan and pure speculation on my part but it seems like it may be a trend. Also, with the ECHL and the no winner of the Kelly Cup, hearing the 2019-20 regular season accolades at the higher above leagues and just giving the Cups to the clubs with the most points is just an unsettling feeling with those winning by default scenarios.

Tough times no doubt moving forward and honestly hope things get worked out for the better. Sports aside, I hope all are safe and in well health as we continue this worldwide pandemic. As mentioned in a previous article we hope all our BNG readers and families/supporters stay vigilant throughout this process and if anything gets our beloved sport oh hockey back when it’s safe to do so.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 169 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.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 24 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim A Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 24 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 32-18-3-3 (82 points) and 10-0 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 stellar week that saw them push their win streak to 12 games. Our boys in black and gold were able to beat Springfield twice before beating Hershey and Hartford. This weekend will have exciting hockey that you do not want to miss.

The weekend kicks off on Saturday, March 14, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Charlotte, North Carolina, to take on the Checkers at Bojangles’ Coliseum. The weekend action wraps up on Sunday, March 15, 2020, when the Providence Bruins take on the Charlotte Checkers at The Biscuit in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Saturday, March 14, 2020, and Sunday, March 15, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Charlotte Checkers (AWAY)

The weekend series between the Providence Bruins and Charlotte Checkers will be the fifth and sixth of eight meetings the two teams will have. In the first battle, the Providence Bruins would win 4-1. Brendan Woods (2), Scott Conway, and Robert Lantosi scored goals for the Bruins. 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. Brendan Woods, Urho Vaakanainen, Pavel Shen, and Jack Studnicka found the back of the net. Dan Vladar was a wall, stopping all 36 shots he faced. The third game saw the Bruins fall 4-0. Max Lagace would go on top stop 39 of the 42 shots he faced. The most recent matchup wasn’t much better. The Bruins would be beaten 4-1. Robert Lantosi scored the lone goal for Providence.

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 34-22-5 (73 points) and 5-4-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fifth 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 a little different. The Charlotte club on the year has scored 202 goals while giving up 172. That’s a +30 goal differential. That means they’re scoring 3.31 goals a game while giving up 2.81.

To put those numbers into perspective, the Providence Bruins have played in one more game than Charlotte. They’ve scored 197 goals while giving up 154. That’s a +43 goal differential. This means they’re scoring 3.17 goals a game while giving up only 2.48. The Providence Bruins are 8-7-1 against Charlotte over the past five seasons. This includes 5-3 at the Checkers.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka finds himself in the hot category once again. The young forward is having a stellar season. In 60 games, he’s netted 23 goals while dishing out 26 assists for 49 total points. This includes netting nine goals while dishing out 14 assists for 23 total points over his last 18 games. Studnicka also finds himself registering a point in six of his last seven games. He’s netted three goals and dished out 5 assists for eight total points during that time. Studnicka is also becoming an elite penalty kill weapon. He’s registered seven shorthanded goals on the year. This is the most in the AHL.

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has fallen out of favor with the Boston Bruins in recent years. He’s had a few players jump ahead of him on the depth chart when it comes to callups. Despite this, the veteran forward has played well this season. In 48 games, he’s netted 16 goals while dishing 21 assists for 37 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out six assists for nine total points in his last nine games. Cehlarik has been a large part of the Bruins’ win streak.

Not

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. Overall, it’s been a successful first season. In 50 games, he’s netted 11 goals while dishing out 20 assists for 31 total points. Despite these numbers, he’s only dished out two assists in his last six games. The young forward came to Providence after spending the previous season in his native Slovakia.

Brendan Woods: Brendan Woods came to Providence after spending the last two seasons in the Vancouver Canucks organization. In 49 games this season, he’s netted eight goals while dishing out 12 assists for 20 total points. This includes dishing out two assists in his last 10 games. Despite this, the 20 points did eclipse his total of 17 from last season. Hopefully, the veteran forward’s offense game is back soon.

My Player To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Jakub Lauko: Jakub Lauko came into this season with a lot of publicity. The young forward came to Providence after having a stellar season in the QMJHL with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies. This season was derailed because of injuries before and during the World Junior Championships. In 22 games this season, he’s netted five goals while dishing out four assists for nine total points. He’s played in four games since returning from injury, netting a goal. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril has had an up and down season with Providence. He’s also a player that has caused many different arguments amongst Bruins’ fans. In 58 games this season, he’s netted three goals and dished out 16 assists for 19total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out four assists for five total points in his last four games. The young defenseman has also been playing better defense recently. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has had a superb season for the Providence Bruins. On the year, he’s 14-7-1 with a 1.79 GAA and a .936 save percentage. The young netminder has also registered three shutouts on the year. Vladar is also 1-1 with 1.51 GAA and a .956 save percentage against Charlotte this season.

The Providence Bruins are playing excellent hockey right now. Earlier in the year, I hammered home the point that this team was one of the most talented teams in the league. We are seeing that tenfold right now. The Providence club looks primed to make a deep run in the playoffs. I hope you enjoy the games this weekend. 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 23 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim A. Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 23 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 34-18-3-3 (74 points) and 8-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for second in the Atlantic Division and Third in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is going off a week that saw them push their winning streak to eight games, with wins over Springfield and Hartford. The Bruins are playing excellent hockey. You won’t want to miss this weekend.

The hockey action starts out on Friday, March 6, 2020, when the Springfield Thunderbirds invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The action continues on Saturday, March 7, 2020, when the Providence Bruins return the favor and take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center in Springfield, Massachusetts. Then on Sunday, March 8, 2020, the Hershey Bears come to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Finally, the week wraps up on Wednesday, March 11, 2020, when the Providence Bruins make their way to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the Wolf Pack at the XL Center.

Friday, March 6, 2020 (HOME) and Saturday, March 7, 2020 (AWAY), Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds

The weekend series will be the 11 and 12th 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 seventh 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 eighth battle saw the Bruins lose 6-5 in OT. Paul Carey (2), Brendan Gaunce (2), and Peter Cehlarik had goals. Martin Ouellette stopped 24 of the 30 shots he faced.

The ninth matchup saw the Bruins win 7-4. Brendan Gaunce (2), Paul Carey (2), Jack Studnicka, Peter Cehlarik, and Robert Lantosi scored goals. Dan Vladar went on to stop 19 of the 24 shots fired his way. The most recent chapter saw the Bruins win 3-1. Peter Cehlarik, Jack Studnicka, and Urho Vaakanainen netted goals. Dan Vladar stopped 31 of the 32 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 30-26-2 (62 points) and 4-6 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 30-15-5 against the Panthers’ affiliate.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with inconsistent play. They’ve given up 179 goals in 58 games while scoring 183. This is a plus-four goal differential. This also means they are giving up 3.08 goals a game while scoring 3.15. The Springfield club is 8-4 when leading after the first period. They are also 20-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 6-10 when trailing after one period. They are also 2-19-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 148 goals in 58 games while scoring 185. That is a +37 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.55 goals a game while scoring 3.18. The Providence club is 19-0 when leading after one period and 27-0 when leading after two. However, they are 3-11-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-14-1-2 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Sunday, March 8, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (HOME)

The Sunday battle will mark the sixth and final matchup, the Providence Bruins and Hershey Bears will have this season. In the first meeting, the Bruins would win 2-1 in overtime. They had 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. They received 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 fourth 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 most recent chapter saw Bruins 3-2 in a shootout. Peter Cehlarik would score both goals. Max Lagace would stop 30 of the 32 shots he faced.

The Hershey Bears come into the game 35-18-3-3 (55 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the Atlantic Division and second in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 17-9-1-2 over the five seasons. Including 7-7-1 on the road. Hershey comes into the game with the second-best defense in the Eastern Conference just behind Providence. They’ve given up 153 goals in 59 games. That’s only giving up 2.59 goals a game.

The Hershey Bears are 28-8-1-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 9-10-2-2 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 18-13-3-2 when they outshoot opponents and 12-5-0-1 when being outshot by opponents. The Washington affiliate is 12-3-1-1 when leading after the first period and 22-0-1-1 when leading after the second. However, they are just 6-8-2-1 when trailing after the first and 3-13-0-1 when down after two.

Wednesday, March 11, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

The Wednesday matchup will mark the ninth 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 sixth 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 seventh matchup saw the Bruins lose 3-1. Paul Carey had the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 3-2. Oskar Steen, Jack Studnicka, and Brendan Gaunce would have goals. Max Lagace stopped 21 of the 23 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 31-16-6-5 (73 points), including 4-4-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and fourth 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 23-17-4-2, including 9-10-3-1 on the road. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 161 goals in 58 games. That means they are only giving up 2.77 goals a game. This is the third-ranked defense in the Atlantic Division behind Providence and Hershey. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 185 goals in 58 games. That’s 3.18 goals a game. It’ll be a tough battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: New week, same Studnicka. Jack Studnicka has been on fire over the last month of the season. The young forward continues to get better day in and day out. In 56 games, he’s netted 22 goals while dishing out 24 assists for 46 total points. This includes netting eight goals and dishing out 12 assists for 20 total points in his last 16 games. Studnicka has also registered a point in 12 of his last 16 games. If he keeps up his play, we will see Studnicka in Boston for good very soon.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce has been a force for a few weeks now. He’s been an excellent addition to the Providence club this season. In 48 games, he’s netted 17 goals and dished out 18 assists for 35 total points. The veteran forward is riding a nine-game point streak. In that time, he’s netted six goals while dishing out six assists for 12 total points. He’s played a major part in the Bruins’ current eight-game winning streak.

Not

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. Overall, he’s been successful. In 50 games, he’s netted two goals while dishing out 18 assists for 20 total points. Despite these numbers, he’s only dished out one assist for one total point in his last 21 games. That’s an extreme cold streak. Let’s hope that Petrovic can put that behind him.

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had an up and down season. The veteran forward has seen his stock fall over the last few seasons. In 57 games this season, he’s netted 12 goals and dished out 13 assists for 25 total points. This includes not registering a point over his past five games. Despite the cold streak, the Bruins as a whole are playing well. Other players have been able to take up the slack. Let’s hope that Fitzgerald finds his offensive game soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an excellent second full season in Providence. The young center has rounded out his game in all areas of the ice. In 55 games this season, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out 24 assists for 31 total points. This includes registering a point in four of his last five games. The former University of Wisconsin Badger has also played well against Springfield registering 10 points in 10 games.

On The Blue Line

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen is another guy that’s had an up and down season for the Providence Bruins. In 50 games, he’s netted five goals while dishing out nine assists for 14 total points. The young defenseman has played well defensively, but his offensive game has been sporadic. Last weekend, he was able to break a four-game pointless streak with a goal. Look for him to come up big this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has had an excellent first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran goalie spent the last few seasons in the Vegas organization. Lagace is 21-7-3 this season, with a 2.38 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He’s also registered five shutouts. That ranks second in the AHL.

The Providence Bruins are riding an eight-game winning streak. They’ve played well against both teams they should beat, and teams ahead of them in the standings. The games this weekend will be important when it comes to playoff seeding. Hartford and Hershey are top teams in the East. Those two games will not be easy. I believe Providence can come out of the weekend with six of eight points. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Breaking Down The Bruins’ 2020 Trade Deadline

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LEFT: Nick Ritchie (37) (Photo: Harry How / Getty Images North America)
RIGHT: Ondrej Kase (25) (Photo by Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Another trade deadline in the National Hockey League has come and gone. With it, we saw the most trades in the history of the deadline (32) and only the second time that 55 total players have been involved in deals.

Once again, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney was active in the trade market, with rumors of Boston being in on Ondrej Kase, Joe Thornton, Kyle Palmieri, Chris Kreider, and more heading into the deadline. Like last year’s trade involving Charlie Coyle and Ryan Donato, Sweeney consummated a trade with a few days to spare before the main event on Monday, acquiring Kase from Anaheim on Friday before dealing for Nick Ritchie on Monday.

Here are the details of the deals that Boston made before the 3:00 pm deadline on Monday afternoon:

Friday Feb. 21, 2020

To Anaheim:

F David Backes (25% retained), D Axel Andersson, 2020 1st-Rounder

To Boston:

F Ondrej Kase

Personally, I really like this deal for the Bruins. Either way, Boston was going to have to give up a higher end draft pick at this year’s deadline, and this year’s first was going to be a late pick in all probability. As far as Axel Andersson, while I think he has NHL potential, I’m not sure that he would have been able to contribute to Boston anytime soon, especially considering how loaded the Bruins are in terms of defense prospects. Anaheim gets two good pieces for their rebuild in the first and Andersson.

As for Backes, it feels like a miracle that Sweeney was able to clear his contract off the books, considering he still has a year left. While it would have been nice to completely move it out, only retaining 25% ($1.5 million) is still a huge win for the Bruins moving forward into this coming offseason with pending unrestricted free agents like Torey Krug and Jaroslav Halak and restricted free agents like Jake DeBrusk and Anders Bjork. It was certainly disappointing how Backes’ time in Boston went, but the former Blues captain is a great guy, by all accounts, and will likely get a chance to play in Anaheim.

Although he’s suited up in just one game for the Bruins, the acquisition of Kase has the makings to be an incredible bargain bin deal. The numbers have not really popped off the page this season for the 24-year-old (7-16-23 in 49 games), but there’s reason to believe he will improve his output on a team like Boston, especially if he is playing on David Krejci’s wing.

First off, Kase is an analytics darling, and shoots the puck a ton, registering 135 shots on goal this season and averaging 2.76 shots per game. However, his shooting percentage sits at 5.2% – not great. In Anaheim, Kase bounced around the lineup and was asked to play different roles on each line, but with stability, and the type of talent that Boston can put on the ice each night, it is reasonable to expect the shooting percentage and results to improve – he certainly has the talent for it.

Whats more, the 2014 seventh rounder is under contract at just $2.8 million until the end of next season, and even then Kase will only be an RFA. Also, after scoring 20 goals in the 2017-18 season, (maybe) not coincidentally the last time the Ducks iced a playoff team, Kase has struggled with staying on the ice consistently. If he can stay healthy with the Bruins, and his offensive output improves, the Bruins will have made out like gangbusters.

Monday: Feb. 24, 2020

To Anaheim

F Danton Heinen

To Boston:

F Nick Ritchie

Of course, as I write this article, Ritchie follows a minus-two, zero-shot performance on Tuesday with a goal and an assist against the Stars on Thursday, but either way, I’m not sure how to wrap my head around this one. Sure, the writing was on the wall for Heinen’s time in Boston – his confidence was totally out the window, he was not doing enough offensively, and it felt like he was on the outside looking in – so I support getting him a fresh start. However, the return of Ritchie in a one-for-one swap is where things get a little puzzling.

Like Kase, the numbers have not been dazzling for Ritchie this year, although the advanced stats are solid. The 10th-overall pick in the 2014 draft, Ritchie now has 9-12-21 numbers through 43 games, on pace for about 13-17-30 totals. His career-high for goals (14) came in his first full NHL season in 2016-17, while his career-high in points (31) came last season, his third full season – the previous two seasons he tallied 28 then 27 points.

I will commend Sweeney for the foresight in terms of this coming off-season, like the Kase deal. Compared to Heinen ($2.8 million through next season), Ritchie ($1.49 million through next year) is under a friendlier contract, will be an RFA next summer, and addresses a need within the organization as he brings a bigger body, more physicality, and interior scoring, when he’s clicking.

 

Admittedly, I genuinely want Ritchie to succeed in Boston – I think he could easily become a fan favorite and could hit some of that untapped potential – but it feels like this move has extreme boom or bust potential. Ritchie looked great on Thursday after Tuesday’s not-so-great showing, but I think consistency is a valid concern, especially after the national reaction seemed to label Ritchie as a weighty underachiever with a tendency for the dumb penalty. For me, Ritchie feels a lot like Matt Beleskey in terms of being a big, left-shot wing with a heavy style of play and having a very low floor and a high ceiling, but again, I seriously want to see this move pan out for the Bruins.

––––––––

Overall, I think the Bruins made out fine at the deadline, and although I’m a bigger fan of the Kase deal, both trades have boom or bust potential. Sure, it was a little disappointing not to see Kreider or Palmieri end up in the Black and Gold, but we’ve seen bargain bin additions work out in spades for the Bruins in the past (see: Coyle, Marcus Johansson). Boston is certainly better than they were at this time last week, but its worth noting how the rest of the Eastern Conference contenders, like Tampa Bay, Pittsburgh, Washington, and even Carolina, loaded up.

So, did the Bruins do enough compared to the rest of the field? We’ll have to wait and see, but there’s no doubt that this team still has Stanley Cup potential. The stretch run and the playoffs should be electric. Buckle up.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 167 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.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 22 Preview

ProBru9

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim A. Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 22 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 32-18-3-3 (70 points) and 7-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for third 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 7-4. They would then beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2-1 before beating the same Penguins’ team 6-2.

The Hockey action kicks off on Saturday, February 29, 2020, when the Providence Bruins travel to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The action wraps up on Sunday, March 1, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Hartford, Connecticut, to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center. It’s going to be an exciting weekend of hockey that you do not want to miss.

 

Saturday, February 29, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

The Saturday matchup will be the 10th 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 seventh 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 eighth battle saw the Bruins lose 6-5 in OT. Paul Carey (2), Brendan Gaunce (2), and Peter Cehlarik had goals. Martin Ouellette stopped 24 of the 30 shots he faced.

The most recent matchup saw the Bruins win 7-4. Brendan Gaunce (2), Paul Carey (2), Jack Studnicka, Peter Cehlarik, and Robert Lantosi scored goals. Dan Vladar went on to stop 19 of the 24 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 30-24-2 (62 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 29-15-5 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 14-7-3 on the road.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 170 goals in 56 games while scoring 179. This is a plus-nine goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 3.03 goals a game while scoring 3.19. The Springfield club is 8-3 when leading after the first period. They are also 20-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 6-10 when trailing after one period. They are also 2-18-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 145 goals in 56 games while scoring 179. That is a +34 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.58 goals a game while scoring 3.19. The Providence club is 18-0 when leading after one period and 27-0 when leading after two. However, they are 3-11-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-14-1-2 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

 

Sunday, March 1, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

The Sunday matchup will mark the eighth 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 sixth 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 most recent matchup saw the Bruins lose 3-1. Paul Carey had the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar stopped 28 of the 30 shots he faced.

The battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 30-14-6-5 (71 points), including 4-4-2 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 22-17-4-2, including 8-10-3-1 on the road. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 152 goals in 55 games. That means they are only giving up 2.76 goals a game. Providence, on the other hand, has scored 179 goals in 56 games. That’s 3.19 goals a game. It’ll be a tough battle between two of the top teams in the Eastern Conference.

 

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Studnicka has found himself in the hot category quite often this year. The young center has had an excellent first full season in Providence. He’s firmly grasped the title of the top prospect in the Bruins’ system. In 54 games this season, he’s netted 20 goals while dishing out 22 assists for 42 total points. This includes netting six goals while dishing out seven assists for 13 total points over his last 12 games. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is another guy that has been in the hot category a lot recently. He is also in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran forward spent the beginning of his career in the Vancouver Canucks organization. In 46 games this season, he’s netted 16 goals while dishing out 17 assists for 33 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out six assists for 11 total points in his last nine games. Let’s hope he continues his hot streak.

Not

Urho Vaakanainen: Urho Vaakanainen is one of the top Bruins prospects. Overall, he’s had a good season. His defensive ability has been strong a large part of the season. However, offensively the young defenseman has struggled of late. In 47 games this season, he’s netted four goals while dishing out nine assists for 13 total points. However, over his past 22 games, he’s dished out two assists for two total points. Let’s hope Vaakanainen can break out of his slump soon.

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is another guy in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. The young defenseman came to Providence after having an excellent freshman season at Ferris State University. Coming into this season, I was very high on Zech. He started off slow but recently had been playing well. In 39 games this year, he’s netted two goals while dishing out 12 assists for 14 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out two assists for three total point in his last six games.

 

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik is a guy who’s been leapfrogged by other forwards in the system. Despite this, the former third-round pick has played well this season. In 42 games, he’s netted 15 goals while dishing out 17 assists for 32 total points. The veteran forward has also played exceptionally well against Springfield. In nine games this year, he’s netted five goals while dishing out six assists for 11 total points. That means 36% of his points have come against the Thunderbirds. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Steven Kampfer: Steven Kampfer has been a bit of an unsung hero in the Bruins’ organization the past few seasons. The veteran blueliner has been a valuable seventh defenseman in Boston. He’s also provided great leadership when in Providence for the younger players. In 16 games with Providence, he’s netted three goals and dished out five assists for eight total points. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent in his first full season in Providence. The veteran netminder has been a stabilizing force for the Bruins. On the season, he’s 20-7-3 with a 2.40 GAA and a .918 save percentage. He’s also recorded five shutouts on the year. Look for him this weekend.

 

The Providence Bruins are coming off an excellent week. They’ve been playing their best hockey as of late. This has come at the perfect time. They’ve been to put some points between themselves and the teams below them in the standings. This weekend is not going to be easy for the Providence club. Springfield is fighting for a playoff spot, and Hartford is ahead of them in the standings. Let’s hope our boys in black and gold can come out of the weekend with four points. 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 21 Preview

ProBru8

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 21 of the AHL season as arrived. The Providence Bruins are looking to maintain their playoff position as teams make a final push towards the post-season. The Bruins skate into the week 29-18-3-3 (64 points) and 6-2-1-1 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 week that saw them beat Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 4-2. They would also beat Laval 3-0 before beating Bridgeport 3-2.

The hockey action starts on Saturday, February 22, 2020, when the Springfield Thunderbirds invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. The action continues on Sunday, February 23, 2020, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The action wraps up on Wednesday, February 26, 2020, when the Providence Bruins invade Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, Pennsylvania, to take on the Penguins at the Mohegan Sun Arena at Casey Plaza.

Saturday, February 22, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (HOME)

The Saturday matchup will be the ninth 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 seventh 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 most recent battle saw the Bruins lose 6-5 in OT. Paul Carey (2), Brendan Gaunce (2), and Peter Cehlarik had goals. Martin Ouellette stopped 24 of the 30 shots he faced.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 28-23-2 (58 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 28-15-5 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 14-8-2 at home.

The Thunderbirds have been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 160 goals in 53 games while scoring 168. This is a plus-eight goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 3.01 goals a game while scoring 3.16. The Springfield club is 7-3 when leading after the first period. They are also 19-2 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 5-10 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-17-1 when trailing after two periods.

To give some perspective to those numbers, The Bruins have given up 138 goals in 53 games while scoring 164. That is a +26 goal differential. That means they are only giving up 2.60 goals a game while scoring 3.09. The Providence club is 17-0 when leading after one period and 24-0 when leading after two. However, they are 3-11-1-1 when trailing after the first period and 1-14-1-2 when trailing after two. These two teams are evenly matched and getting and sustaining an early lead, are imperative to winning.

Sunday, February 23, 2020 (HOME) and Wednesday, February 26, 2020 (AWAY), Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins

The home and home series will be the fourth and fifth of six matchups 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 second game saw the Bruins get shutout 1-0. Dan Vladar stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

The most recent meeting saw the Bruins win 4-2. Josiah Didier, Brendan Gaunce, Joona Koppanen, and Jack Studnicka scored goals for the Providence club. Max Lagace would go on to stop 28 of the 30 shots he faced in net.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into the contest 25-20-3-5 (58 points) and 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence Bruins have had some success against the Pittsburgh affiliate over the past five years, going 14-7-3-3.

This could be an opportunity for the Providence Bruins power-play to gain some momentum. The Penguins have taken 207 penalties in 51 games. That means they are giving up 3.98 penalties a game. They’ve also given up 38 goals out of those 207 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 81.6%, which is good for eighth 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 12-2-1-1 when leading after the first period and 13-0-1-1 when they are leading after the second period. The home and home series should be a close one. These two games are ones the Providence Bruins need to win to maintain their playoff spot.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Brendan Gaunce: Brendan Gaunce is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The veteran forward spent the beginning of his career in the Vancouver Canucks’ system. In 43 games this season, he’s netted 14 goals while dishing out 13 assists for 27 total points. This includes netting three goals and dishing out two assists for five total points in his last six games. He’s also coming off an excellent weekend that saw him net goals in all three games. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka is in his first full season with the Providence Bruins. The young forward is having an excellent season. He’s fully solidified himself as the Bruins’ top prospect. In 51 games this season, he’s netted 19 goals and dished out 20 assists for 39 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out four assists for nine total points in his last seven games. Studnicka is also coming off an excellent weekend that saw him record a point in all three games.

Not

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is another guy that is in his first season with the Providence Bruins. The young forward came to Providence after spending last season in Slovakia. In 44 games this season, he’s netted 10 goals while dishing out 18 assists for 28 total points. This includes dishing out three assists for three total points in his last eight games. Despite an overall excellent season, his production has slowed down. Let’s hope he can find his offensive game this weekend.

Paul Carey: Paul Carey is in his first season as the Providence Bruins’ Captain. Overall he’s had an excellent season. In 52 games, he’s netted 18 goals while dishing out 15 assists for 33 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out two assists for three total points in his last 10 games. Despite his All-Star season, his production has also slowed down a bit. Let’s hope the former Boston College Eagle can find his offensive game soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an excellent season for the Providence Bruins. In 50 games, he’s netted seven goals while dishing out 19 assists for 26 total points. The 26 total points are a new career-best for the former University of Wisconsin Badger. The young forward has also played well against the Bruins’ two-weekend opponents. In 10 games against Springfield and Wilkes-Barre Scranton, he’s netted two goals while dishing out eight assists for 10 total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Jakub Zboril: Jakub Zboril is a guy who has had an up and down season with Providence. In 49 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out 10 assists for 12 total points. Despite his offensive numbers not being there, he’s played better this year than last. In nine games against Springfield and Wilkes-Barre/Scranton this season, he’s netted one goal and dished out three assists for four total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar has been excellent this season. The young goalie was injured early in the year but came back strong after. On the year, he’s 8-7-1 with a 1.79 GAA and a save percentage of .936. Vladar has also played well against Springfield this season, going 3-1 with a 2.51 GAA and a .924 save percentage.

The Providence Bruins are sitting firmly in a playoff position. Their games this weekend are against teams below them in the standings. This means they should come away with at the very least four points when all is said and done. This would help cushion their spot in the Atlantic Division. It should be an exciting weekend of hockey that you do not want to miss. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Bruins Sign D Jeremy Lauzon To Two-Year Extension

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(Photo: Brian Fluharty / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

On Friday afternoon, Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced that the team has signed defenseman Jeremy Lauzon to a two-year contract extension an worth an average annual value of $850,000, beginning with the 2020-21 season. Lauzon’s current deal, his entry-level contract, expires this offseason.

In seven games with Boston this season, Lauzon has one goal on 10 shots to go along with a plus-two rating and 16 penalty minutes. The left-shot defender is coming off the heels of a two-game suspension for a hit to the head of Derek Stepan of the Arizona Coyotes.

Before making his season debut for the big club on Dec. 31, Lauzon posted one goal and 12 assists for 13 points in addition to a plus-22 rating in 45 games with the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate, this season.

In the previous two seasons with Providence, the 22-year-old posted 2-12-14 totals in 81 AHL contests. Last year, Lauzon made his NHL debut on Oct. 25, 2018, against the Philadelphia Flyers before scoring his first career goal against the Vegas Golden Knights on Nov. 11.

The Bruins selected the Val D’or, Quebec native with the 52nd-overall pick in the second round of the 2015 NHL Entry Draft. During his junior hockey career, Lauzon skated in 200 games over four seasons with the Rouyn-Noranda Huskies of the QMJHL, notching 35 goals and 95 assists 130 career points in addition to a plus-81 rating and 282 penalty minutes.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 165 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.

Please subscribe to our new Black N’ Gold Hockey YouTube channel! We’d really appreciate the continued support. Click HERE for exciting Black N’ Gold online content!!

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 20 Preview

PROBRU7

(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 20 of the AHL season has arrived. The Providence Bruins skate into it 26-18-3-3 (58 points) and 4-3-2-1 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 tough week that saw them lose to Bridgeport 4-2, before losing to the same Sound Tigers’ club 2-1 in overtime. Our boys in black and gold have three games this weekend that they must win to maintain a playoff position.

The hockey action starts on Friday, February 14, 2020, when the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins come to town to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island. The action continues on Sunday, February 16, 2020, when the Laval Rocket invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on Bruins at the Dunk. The hockey fun wraps up on Monday, February 17, 2020, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers come back town to take on the Providence club at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island.

Friday, February 14, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (HOME)

The Friday matchup marks the third 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 second game saw the Bruins get shutout 1-0. Dan Vladar stopped 19 of the 20 shots he faced.

The Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins skate into the contest 25-18-3-5 (58 points) and 7-2-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth 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 13-7-3-3. This includes 7-1-1-3 in Providence.

This could be an opportunity for the Providence Bruins power-play to gain some momentum. The Penguins have taken 202 penalties in 51 games. That means they are giving up 3.98 penalties a game. They’ve also given up 37 goals out of those 199 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 81.7%, which is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 12th 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 12-2-1-1 when leading after the first period and 13-0-1-1 when they are leading after the second period. It should be a close game between these two division foes. This is a game the Providence Bruins need to win to maintain their playoff position in the Eastern Conference.

Sunday, February 16, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Laval Rocket (HOME)

The Sunday matchup is the fourth and final of four meetings between the two clubs. The Providence club lost the first meeting 5-4 in a shootout. They got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Paul Carey, and Brendan Gaunce. Goalie Max Lagace was less than stellar in net, turning away 14 of the 18 shots he faced.

Our boys in black and gold didn’t fare much better in the second meeting, losing 3-2. They got goals from Ryan Fitzgerald and Alex Petrovic. Goalie Max Lagace was better in net, stopping 27 of 30 shots fired his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins fall 3-2 in a shootout. Peter Cehlarik and Paul Carey would score for Providence. Kyle Keyser would stop 25 of 27 shots he faced.

The Montreal affiliate is 23-20-5-2 (50 points) and 3-4-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the North Division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, the Bruins have had trouble with Laval in the past. They’ve gone 2-2-0-3, including 1-1-0-1 at the Dunk. Even with the rough luck, I still believe our boys in black and gold should win this matchup.

Team defense and goaltending will be the two keys for Providence against Laval. The Laval club is giving up 3.12 goals a game. Their offense is scoring 2.92 goals a game. This means the Montreal Affiliate is giving up more goals than they’re scoring. Laval’s current goalies are on opposite ends of the spectrum. Cayden Primeau is having an excellent first season so far, going 12-7-3 with a 2.71 GAA and a save percentage of .899%. Keith Kinkaid is 3-7-2 with a 3.42 GAA and a save percentage of .877%.

To compare, the Bruins are giving up 2.68 goals a game. They’re also scoring 3.08 goals a game. This means our boys in black and gold are scoring .40 more goals a game than they’re giving up. Veteran goalie Max Lagace has had an excellent start, going 17-7-3 with a 2.48 GAA and a .916% save percentage with two shutouts. Dan Vladar has gone 7-7-1 with a 1.90 GAA and a .932% save percentage. This is another game Providence must win.

Monday, February 17, 2020, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (HOME)

The Monday match up will mark the 9th 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 fourth 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 fifth meeting saw the Bruins fall 2-1. Pavel Shen scored the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar would stop 24 of 26 shots he faced.

The sixth battle saw the Bruins win 3-1. Brett Ritchie (2), and Trent Frederic had goals. Max Lagace stopped 26 of the 27 shots he faced. The seventh matchup saw the Bruins lose 4-2. Jack Studnicka and Brendan Woods had the Bruins’ goals. Max Lagace stopped seven of 10 shots he faced. Dan Vladar stopped all 14 shots he faced. The most recent battle saw the Bruins lose 2-1 in overtime. Zach Senyshyn scored the Bruins lone goal. Dan Vladar stopped 25 of 27 shots fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 18-27-4-1 (41 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 25-19-7-3 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 2-14-2 when trailing after one and 1-19-2 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 50 games has only scored 110 goals while giving up 159. Not only is this a horrendous -49 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 2.20 goals a game while giving up 3.18. They are giving up a full goal more than they are scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 14-0 when leading after one period and 21-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 154 goals while giving up only 134 in 50 games. That means, not only do they have a +20 goal differential, but they are scoring 3.08 goals a game while only giving up 2.68. These are games that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has been mentioned a lot this season. With good reason. The young forward is one of the top prospects in the Bruins’ system. He’s having an excellent first full professional season. In 48 games, he’s netted 18 goals while dishing out 18 assists for 36 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out six assists for 10 total points in his last eight games. Let’s hope Studnicka keeps his stellar play up.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen is a guy that had a lot of excitement surrounding him coming into the year. The young forward had an excellent season in Sweden last year. He was looking to build on that in Providence. Though he started out slow, in 48 games, he’s netted six goals and dished out 10 assists for 16 total points. This includes netting two goals and dishing out three assists for five total points in his last seven games. Let’s hope he keeps it up.

Not

Robert Lantosi: Robert Lantosi is another player in his first season with Providence. He came to the Bruins after spending the beginning of his career in his home country of Slovakia. In 42 games, he’s netting 10 goals while dishing out 17 assists for 27 total points. Despite those numbers, he’s only dished out two assists for two total points in his last six games. I have faith that this is nothing more than a minor bump in the road for Lantosi.

Paul Carey: The Bruins’ Captain has been excellent overall this season. In 49 games, he’s netted 17 goals while dishing out 15 assists for 32 total points. Despite this, he’s dished out two assists for two total points in his last seven games. The former Boston College Eagle will hopefully break out of this cold streak soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Zach Senyshyn: Zach Senyshyn has been the cause of many different arguments amongst Bruins’ fans. The young forward was playing well though points didn’t seem to indicate that. He was called up to Boston and then injured once in Boston. This was unfortunate because he was playing well with the big club. Since returning from injury, he’s played really well. In 30 games this season, he’s netted four goals while dishing out four assists for eight total points. Look for him this weekend.

On The Blue Line

Cooper Zech: Cooper Zech is another player in his first full season with Providence. The young defenseman was someone I was extremely excited about. Though he started out slow, the Ferris State University Alum has played well recently. In 35 games, he’s netted one goal while dishing out 10 assists for 11 total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

In Net

Dan Vladar: Dan Vladar is having an excellent season for Providence. The young netminder started off slow before getting injured. Since returning from injury, he’s played on another level. He’s 7-7-1 on the year with a 1.90 GAA and a .932 save percentage. Look for him this weekend.

The Providence Bruins coming off a tough weekend where they lost two games against the worst team in the AHL. They are barely clinging to the last playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They will need to win all three games this weekend to build a cushion between them and the teams below them. The Providence club is better than each team they are playing. They will need to assert their dominance this weekend and come away with six points. Feel free to send me any questions or comments on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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