AHL Bruins Send Two To California As Providence Hits 2020 All-Star Break

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

The annual American Hockey League All-Star festivities get underway this evening in Ontario, California with the 2020 Skills Competition and game tomorrow night from the Toyota Arena. This year’s mid-season event will be hosted by the Pacific Divisions Ontario Reign the top minor-pro affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings and sure to pack it’s 9,736 seat arena capacity with rabid hockey fans from near and far.

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This will be an inaugural event for the AHL as this is the first time since the league added the Pacific Division that an All-Star hoopla has been out to the new seven-team division with the inception at the beginning of the 2015-16 season. Speaking of firsts, this is will be a new experience for a Boston Bruins organizational player as a pro hockey veteran and another whos on his way to NHL stardom in his first full season of North American pro hockey. The Providence Bruins will be represented by two of the team’s best players this season and hope you enjoy the update of both players and how they’ve contributed thus far in the 2019-20 campaign respectfully.

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Paul Carey

( Photo Credit: NHL.com )

The 31-year-old Weymouth, Massachusetts native has been a solid journeyman pro in his hockey career. By researching his player portfolio it seems like the Boston Bruins organization kept a close eye on him dating back to his days at nearby Boston College in the tough Hockey East Conference. Paul has had an off and on relationship in the minor-pro level when the Bruins are looking for skillful players but the never-ending need for leaders no matter in what league has a high standing value as well. Carey has been nothing but a professional waiting for his chance but in that leadership role, he’s provided enough offensive capabilities to keep a growing prospect’s mind captured with the increasing change in-game speed year-to-year. Paul’s speed is something to watch because most veterans who grid it out hard in the AHL don’t normally get better as they age.

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This is the first full AHL season the 6′-1″ 201-pound versatile forward has been with the Bruins organization with both parties being involved in trades and free-agent signings dating back to March of 2015. The minor-pro journeyman career the signings of this hockey veteran have had solid returns when considering points-per-game and a solid backup plan to have in case the glass has to be broken in an emergency situation. So far this season he’s appeared in 45 games serving as the Providence Captain this year he’s contributed offensively with 17-13-30 numbers and is a workhorse in all three zones.

Paul has 100 NHL games under his belt contributing 8-8-16 numbers. Zero of his points came with his Bruins recalls but with the Providence Bruins on three separate occasions, in his short stays in Rhode Island, Carey has posted 41-29-70 and as I said grooming the future as he’s linemates with some pretty well know Boston prospects. His AHL career numbers have him at 123-149-272 in 391 games and currently has another season under his two-year, two-way contract so another year of mentorship can be expected and ready for more NHL chances next season as well. Carey’s been a great asset to Providence Bruins Head Coach Jay Leach with the bench boss along with staff and players mentioning him as a true leader of this club and isn’t a slouch when it comes to the competitive side of the game. If this was Mystery Alaska the movie, he’s John Biebe who was played by Russel Crowe as the grizzled veteran driving a team to success.

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Carey is tied for the Providence lead in points this season and his first AHL All-Star appearance might be a fun one but a challenge to stay refreshed and dialed into a return to the regular season. The All-Star festivities will mean Paul will have skated for the fourth time in the last five days and seven times in the last ten days. The nine-year AHL pro should be ready to go and rest up when he rejoins his Providence team after the All-Star break and first game back on Friday night to end the month of January with a road game in Binghamton, New York against the top minor-pro affiliate of the New Jersey Devils the Binghamton Devils. Carey hopes to return and snap a three-game pointless streak after his All-Star appearance is over.

Depending on if the Boston Bruins finish strong, Carey is deserving of a game or two appreciation recall for his services as he’s seen a few times in his long career. He’ll definitely be in the mix of Black Ace players if the B’s do in fact go on a deep run again and serve as another solid replacement piece in an emergency situation.

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Jack Studnicka

( Photo Credit:  Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images )

In his first North American professional season, the former 2017 second-round selection of the NHL Bruins is having an outstanding rookie season at the minor-pro level and is starting to fill out his frame. We’ve all known about Studnicka’s offensive capabilities as a Bruins prospect but what I like about his game this year gradually throughout the season is his aggressive nature as a highly-skilled threat. On several occasions, he’s not been that guy to take liberties on when other AHL teams are targetting him to get him and the team off their game and boby slammed an opposing nuisance. That bit of aggressiveness has put the Providence club at a disadvantage late in games but as he develops you know he’ll harness that in the future. To clarify I’m not suggesting that he’s some kind of fighter or savior to the narrative of this NHL Bruins team needs to add an enforcer but I do like to see how he handles himself and that part of the game as he continues to build muscle mass.

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Since leaving the Ontario Hockey League where posted career numbers of 80-153-233 and career .92 points-per-game percentage he transitioned his game nicely as he seeks permanent placement in the NHL in the near future. Studnicka is an absolute sponge when it comes to learning and applies that very knowledge to produce an intelligent 200-foot game. Jack is a master of creativity in my opinion and a pleasure to watch live with the way he controls the game much like current Bruins center David Krejci.

This season Jack’s addition up the middle and occasionally elsewhere on a line has benefited both the player and the organization when it comes to development. Head Coach Leach has strategically placed Jack in situations where his game sways with his game on and away from the puck. A demotion to a lower line is not a bad thing for a player continuing to learn the craft of a man’s game at a higher level. In 44 games thus far in his rookie year with the AHL Providence club “Captain Jack” has contributed with 14-16-30 numbers and a .71 PPG% with 30 regular-season games remaining before a hopeful 2020 Calder Cup Playoff appearance and long postseason run.

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As mentioned with his Providence teammate above, Studnicka could get another look in the remaining 31 games in the NHL B’s regular season. Although Jacks gone through some offensive struggles lately without a goal in his last 12 games he does have four points in his last four games and has displayed an incredible amount of creativity doing so with helpers to fellow linemates. His roller coaster offensive production is no indication of taking steps behind and if you really want to gauge his game for yourselves I highly suggest getting a regular season subscription to end the year and prepare for some AHL Calder Cup Playoffs by going to watchtheahl.com today!

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Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 163 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 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 Recall Maxime Lagace On Emergency Basis, Assign Dan Vladar

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(Photo: Providence Bruins)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced on Friday that the team has assigned goaltender Dan Vladar to the Providence Bruins, and recalled goaltender Maxime Lagace on an emergency basis. Vladar was recalled earlier this week after goaltender Tuukka Rask went down with what head coach Bruce Cassidy labeled a concussion.

Vladar served as backup to Jaroslav Halak in Boston’s 4-1 win over the Pittsburgh Penguins on Thursday night. The 22-year-old holds a 6-5-0 record with a 1.84 goals-against average, a .935 save percentage two shutouts in 12 AHL contests this season.

Lagace has been strong with the P-Bruins this season since signing a one-year, $700,000 contract over the offseason. Through 23 AHL appearances this season, the 27-year-old boasts a 14-6-2 record to go along with five shutouts, a 2.49 GAA and a .915 save percentage. This is the first time the club has recalled him this season.

The 6-foot-2, 190-pound netminder was with the Vegas Golden Knights organization over the course of the last two seasons, spending time with both the big club in Vegas and the team’s AHL-affiliate, the Chicago Wolves. In 17 career NHL appearances, Lagace holds a .868 save percentage and a 3.92 GAA. In 184 games in the AHL over his career, Lagace has a .904 save percentage and a 2.84 GAA.

The Bruins will return to action on Sunday as they will travel to Pittsburgh for a matinee rematch with the Penguins. Puck-drop is slated for 12:30 pm.

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.

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 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’ Rask Suffers Concussion In Loss At Columbus

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(Photo: Jamie Sabeu / National Hockey League / Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Just 1:12 into the first period of Boston’s 3-0 loss at the hands of the Columbus Blue Jackets, Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask took a punch to the side of the head from Columbus forward Emil Bemstrom, who did not receive a penalty on the play. Rask had to leave the game and did not return; following the contest, Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy announced that Rask sustained a concussion from the play.

Rask has a history of dealing with concussions and migraine issues. This instance comes almost a year (360 days, to be exact) after the 32-year-old suffered a concussion after taking the worst of a hard collision with New York Rangers forward Filip Chytil in a game at TD Garden last season.

This season, in 28 appearances, Rask has a 17-4-6 record to go along with a 2.27 goals-against average (fifth-best in the league) and a .925 save percentage (fifth-highest) en route to being selected to the Atlantic Division All-Star team. On Monday, the Finn announced that he would forgo All-Star Weekend in order to get some extra rest and time with his family.

While no announcement has been made as to who the Bruins might call up, Providence Bruins netminder Maxime Lagace, who has a record of 14-6-2, five shutouts, a 2.49 GAA, and .915 save percentage in the AHL this season, seems like the most likely option. Providence’s, Dan Vladar, who is 6-5-0 with two shutouts, a 1.94 GAA, and a .935 save percentage, is also an option. Goaltending prospect Kyle Keyser, who is with the Atlanta Gladiators Boston’s ECHL-affiliate, is out with a concussion.

The Bruins will return to action on Thursday, Jan. 16, as they will host the Pittsburgh Penguins at TD Garden. Puck-drop is slated for 7:00 pm.

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’ Rask To Forgo 2020 NHL All-Star Weekend

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(Photo: Winslow Townson / AP Photo)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Boston Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask will not participate in the 2020 NHL All-Star Game, as announced by NHL Public Relations. Tampa Bay Lightning netminder Andrei Vasilevsky will replace Rask at the festivities on All-Star Weekend.

Rask spoke to the media on Monday evening before Boston’s visit with the Philadelphia Flyers, saying it was a tough decision that he put a lot of thought into. While the goaltender noted that it was an honor to be selected to the Atlantic Division All-Star team, he emphasized that he made his decision in order to get extra rest and time with his family.

“I had to be kind of selfish, thinking how much hockey we played last year, the short summer, wanting to play into June again, and [All-Star Weekend] falling right in the middle of our bye week.” Rask said to the media. “It was a selfish decision to go spend time with my family and get the mind and body rejuvenated.”

As is the case with players who decide to forgo All-Star Weekend after being voted in, Rask will be mandated by the NHL to serve a one-game suspension in the Bruins’ last game before the break or the first game following the break. Rask acknowledged the suspension during his media availability, saying it will probably be after the break.

The 32-year-old Finn also said that the organization supported his decision. In 27 appearances this season, Rask holds a 17-4-6 record to go along with a 2.27 goals-against average (fifth-best in the league) and a .925 save percentage (fifth-highest).

The Bruins will take on the Flyers on the road on Monday night at 7:00 pm before visiting the Columbus Blue Jackets on Tuesday night. Jaroslav Halak will get the nod in goal on Monday, while Rask is expected to start in Tuesday’s contest, per head coach Bruce Cassidy.

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 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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Lauko Will Reportedly Miss A Couple Of Weeks

Garrett Pilon, Jakub Lauko

(Photo Credit: Steven Senne/AP)

By Joe Chrzanowski  |  Follow Me on Twitter @jchrz19 

Jakub Lauko, the Bruins 2018 3rd Round pick (77th Overall), was super-excited about the prospect of playing before his native Czech crowd in the 2020 World Junior Championships. That excitement lasted all of one shift as Lauko was injured 53 seconds into the first game versus Russia. The CZE team held on for a 4-3 upset, but after the game, it was reported that Lauko had suffered an MCL injury and was done for the remainder of the tournament.

 

Details were lacking about the severity of the injury, and are still not crystal clear, but Lauko apparently underwent an MRI this morning. Lauko himself told Czech NHL,com hockey reporter Michael Langr , “it looks like I will miss a couple of weeks”. This is good news for Bruins fans and would indicate that the injury is a Grade 1 tear, which normally requires anywhere from a few days to a week and a half off before the player can return to hockey activities.

While it is a postive development if Lauko only misses a couple of weeks, it would be a bitter pill for him to swallow. He had been playing well in his first professional year for the Bruins AHL affiliate in Providence (4g/4a, 20 PIM’s, +4, in 18 games), but suffered an “upper-body injury” in a game against Utica on Decemeber 7th, and not played since. There was some question of whether or not he would be healthy enough to play for the Czech Republic, but he cleared last week.

Lauko’s injury would be a big loss for the Czech team. He was a returning member of the 2019 WJC team (1g/1a in 5 games) and was being counted on for scoring and leadership.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 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 Place Torey Krug On IR, Recall Steven Kampfer

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(LEFT: Torey Krug. Photo: Matthew Stockman / Getty Images. RIGHT: Steven Kampfer. Photo: Steve Babineau / NHLI via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins general manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has placed defenseman Torey Krug on injured reserve and recalled d-man Steven Kampfer from the Providence Bruins, Boston’s AHL affiliate, on an emergency basis. Krug left the Bruins’ game against the Washington Capitals on Dec. 23 with an upper-body injury.

Krug’s injury is likely the result of a hit he took from Capitals forward Tom Wilson. Krug was stickhandling the puck before passing it off when he took a hard hit from Wilson that sent him crashing awkwardly into the boards. The blueliner was slow to get up and went down the tunnel to the Bruins’ dressing room following the hit.

Through 33 games this season, the 28-year-old leads all Bruins defenseman in scoring with five goals and 21 assists for 26 points. In 495 career NHL games, all with Boston, the 5-foot-9, 186-pound blueliner has recorded 63-251-314 numbers with 23 goals and 147 points coming on the power play.

Kampfer skated in four games with Boston, registering a plus-two rating and two penalty minutes, before clearing waivers and being sent down to Providence. In six games with the P-Bruins, the 5-foot-11, 198-pound defender has notched four assists.

Kampfer was supposed to serve a two-game suspension with Providence this weekend for interference. In 205 career NHL contests, the 31-year-old has 13-19-32 totals.

Check out the new Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 159 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!!