Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 8 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week eight of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 9-7-0-2 (20 points), including 4-5-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week that saw them take down the Hartford Wolf Pack 4-3 in a shootout. They would then lose to the same Hartford club 5-2. The spoked P will have a tough weekend coming up with three games in three days and then a game Wednesday.

The hockey action kicks off on Friday, November 22, 2019, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers invade Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. Then on Saturday, November 23, 2019, the Providence Bruins make their way to Springfield, Massachusetts, to take on the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Bruns’ three games in three days come to an end on Sunday, November 24, 2019, when the Hershey Bears travel to Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. Finally, the Bruins wrap up week eight on Wednesday, November 27, 2019, when they travel to Hershey, Pennsylvania, to take on the Hershey Bears at the Giant Center.

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

The Friday matchup with mark the fourth 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 recent 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 Bridgeport Sound Tigers provide a favorable matchup for the Providence club. The Bridgeport club comes into the weekend 4-10-3-1 (12 points) and 3-5-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for eighth in the Atlantic Division and 16th in the Eastern Conference.  Furthermore, the Bruins are 23-17-6-3 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 0-5-2 when trailing after one and 0-8-1 when trailing after two. To add insult to injury, the Bridgeport club in 18 games has only scored 32 goals while giving up 59. Not only is this a horrendous -27 goal differential, but they’re only scoring 1.77 goals a game while giving up  3.27. They are giving up almost double what they’re actually scoring. This isn’t a winning formula.

To compare, the Providence Bruins are 6-0 when leading after one period and 7-0 when leading after two periods. They’ve also scored 52 goals while giving up only 48 in 18 games. That means, not only do they have a plus-four goal differential, but they are scoring 2.88 goals a game while only giving up 2.66. This is a game that Providence must win. Bridgeport is not a good club at all.

Saturday, November 23, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY)

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

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the game 11-7 (22 points) and 7-3 in their last 10 games. This is good for third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. Despite this, this is still a favorable matchup for the Providence Bruins. Over the past five seasons, the Bruins are 23-15-3 against the Panthers’ affiliate, including 11-7-2 in Springfield.

The Springfield club has been winning with excellent defense. They’ve only given up 41 goals in 18 games while scoring 55. This is a fantastic +14 goal differential. This also means they are only giving up 2.27 goals a game while scoring 3.05.

The Springfield Thunderbirds are 3-1 when leading after the first period. They are also 7-0 when leading after two periods. On the flip side, they are 1-2 when trailing after one period. They are also 1-5 when trailing after two periods. Providence needs to get ahead early on in the game to have the best chance at winning.

Sunday, November 24, 2019 (HOME) Wednesday, November 27, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears

These will mark the third and fourth 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 most recent 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 Hershey Bears come into the game 8-6-2-2 (20 points) and 4-3-1-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and 10th in the Eastern Conference. Providence has had success against the Washington affiliate going 15-9-1-1 over the five seasons. The team that has the best shot generation and suppression is going to win these games.

The Hershey Bears are 6-3-0-1 when they outshoot their opponents. They are also 2-3-2-1 when they are being outshot by their opponents. The Bruins, on the other hand, are 2-5-0-2 when they outshoot opponents and 5-2 when being outshot by opponents. These are more games that the Providence club should win. The Washington affiliate has a goal differential of minus-five. This means they’ve given up five more goals than they’ve scored. It is hard to sustain success like that.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka remains hot this week. The young center had a lot of expectations and excitement surrounding him to start the year, and he’s delivered. In 18 games this season, he’s netted six goals while dishing out seven assists for 13 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out two assists for seven total points in his last eight games. The OHL product is one of the few players carrying the Providence Bruins offense. Let’s hope we continue to find Studnicka in the hot category.

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic is another player that’s spent most of the year on a hot streak. The veteran defenseman has been excellent during his first year in Providence. In 17 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out 11 assists for 13 total points. This includes netting one goal and dishing out six assists for seven total points in his last eight games. The former Edmonton Oiler is providing great veteran leadership for a young team.

Not

Cameron Hughes: Cameron Hughes has had a good season overall, but has run into a cold streak recently. The young forward even received his first callup to Boston and played in a game with the big club. In 18 games this season, he’s netted two goals and dished out five assists for seven total points. However, over his past five games, he hasn’t found the back of the net and dished out one assist for one total point. Let’s hope the cold streak subsides for the former Wisconsin Badger.

Oskar Steen: Oskar Steen started out pretty hot this season, but has since skated into a cold streak. The young forward was someone I was very high on, so the cold streak is rather disappointing. In 18 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out four assists for six total points. This includes no goals and two assists for two total points in his last 10 games. Let’s hope the native of Sweden can break out of this funk soon.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Samuel Asselin: Samuel Asselin is a name you may not recognize because he’s only played in two games for Providence this season. The young forward is someone you may want to get to know. In nine games down in the ECHL with the Atlanta Gladiators, he netted seven goals while dishing out seven assists for 14 total points. Asselin signed a deal with Providence after a fantastic season with Halifax in the QMJHL. In 68 games with the Mooseheads, he netted 48 goals and dished out 38 assists for 86 total points. BNG founder Mark Allred wrote about Asselin’s call up to the AHL here.

On The Blue Line

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon is sometimes a forgotten prospect when it comes to the Bruins’ defense. The young defenseman has had a pretty good year with Providence thus far. In 18 games, he hasn’t found the back of the net, but he has dished out six assists for six total points. The QMJHL product has already reached his assist total from last season and is only one point away from last year’s point total in fewer games played. Look for him this weekend.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent in his first season for the Providence Bruins. In 11 games played the veteran netminder, is 7-2-1 with a 2.10 GAA and a .934 save percentage. The former Vegas Golden Knight also has three shutouts on the season. Let’s hope he can keep it up.

The Providence Bruins have hit a bit of a cold streak as a team over their last 10 games. Despite this, they are still in a playoff spot early in the season. The Providence club is young but also talented. They’ve shown early on that they can bounce back from losses. This weekend is going to be tough. Three games in three days and four games total bunched together is difficult. The good news is that all four games are very winnable. If the Bruins can come out with six out of eight points, they’ll be in good shape. 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 7 Preview

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(Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week seven of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 8-6-0-2 (18 points), including 5-4-0-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and eighth in the Eastern Conference. The Providence club is coming off a week they would rather forget. Our boys in black and gold were able to down the Sound Tigers 4-1, before falling to Hartford 2-1 and Bridgeport 2-0. With only two games this weekend, we hope the Bruins get back to their winning ways.

The hockey action starts on Friday, November 15, 2019, when the Hartford Wolf Pack invades Providence, Rhode Island, to take on the Bruins at the Dunk. To end the weekend, Providence returns the favor and heads down to Hartford, Connecticut to take on the Hartford Wolf Pack at the XL Center on Saturday, November 16, 2019. It is going to be an exciting week of hockey that you do not want to miss.

Friday, November 15, 2019 (HOME) Saturday, November 16, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack

This weekend’s matchups will mark the second and third 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 home and home battle with the Hartford club is going to be challenging. The Rangers’ affiliate comes into the game 10-1-0-4 (24 points), including 6-1-0-3 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 few games, there is hope for the Bruins.

Over the past five seasons, our boys in black and gold have gone 21-12-4-2, including 13-5-1-1 at the Dunk. The Wolf Pack has seen success this season thanks to a stifling defense. They’ve given up only 33 goals in 15 games. This means they’re giving up only 2.2 goals a game. Only one other team in the Eastern Conference has given up fewer goals.

To add to their defense, the New York affiliate has only given up six goals in 51 penalty kill opportunities. That’s an excellent 88.2%, which is good for third in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. They’ve also only given up two shorthanded goals.

To compare, the Providence Bruins have given up 10 goals in 74 penalty kill opportunities. That’s 86.5%, which is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth in the Eastern Conference. The spoked P has also given up a league-leading three shorthanded goals.

One area the Providence club needs to work on is the number of penalties they take. They are taking 4.62 penalties a game. They cannot be giving other teams that many power-play opportunities. When a team is on the penalty kill that often, it’s difficult to build offensive momentum. It’s going to be a hard-fought weekend series. Let’s hope our boys in black and gold are up to the task.

Who’s Hot and Who’s Not

Hot

Jack Studnicka: Jack Studnicka has had an excellent start to his first full professional season. In 16 games, the young center netted four goals and dished out six assists for 10 total points. This includes netting four goals and dishing out three assists for seven points in his last 10 games. The OHL product has been a revelation on offense and is developing exactly how the team would want. Let’s hope Studnicka can keep up his high level of play.

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this season. The team’s captain in 16 games has netted seven goals and dished out six assists for 13 total points. This includes netting five goals and dishing out four assists and nine total points in his last 10 games. The former Boston College Eagle and NCAA champion has not only contributed to the scoresheet but also provided excellent leadership for a young team.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has been good overall this season, netting four goals and dishing out three assists for seven total points in 16 games. Despite this, he’s gone pointless in his last six games played. The former Boston College Eagle will hopefully break this slump soon. With players going up and down due to injuries in Boston, Providence needs Fitzgerald to pick up some slack.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had an up and down season. In 15 games, the former Wisconsin Badger hasn’t netted any goals and dished out five assists for five total points. The young forward hasn’t registered a point in his last five games. Frederic is one of the better prospects in the Bruins system. Hopefully, he can turn his season around.

My Players To Watch This Weekend

Up Front

Peter Cehlarik: Peter Cehlarik has been excellent in his time with Providence this season. In nine games, the native of Slovakia has netted six goals and dished out four assists for 10 total points. Also of note, in seven games against Hartford last season, he netted three goals and dished out two assists for five total points. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On The Blue Line

Alex Petrovic: Alex Petrovic has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this year. It’s his first season with the club, and in 15 games, he’s netted two goals and dished out 10 assists for 12 total points. The WHL product has also played excellent defense for our boys in black and gold this season. Look for him to continue his play against Hartford.

In Net

Max Lagace: Max Lagace has been excellent for the Providence Bruins net. The QMJHL product has gone 6-2-1 this season, with a 2.02 GAA and a .936 save percentage. He’s also had three shutouts this season. He’s provided leadership to the young goaltenders Dan Vladar and Kyle Keyser.

The Providence Bruins have had a superb start to their season. In previous years, they’ve started out slow and then came on hot the second half of the year. This year our boys in black and gold are bucking that trend. They have a wealth of talent and could go far this year. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend. Feel free to send me any comments or questions on Twitter. As always, GO, Bs, GO!

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Report: Bruins Sign D Alex Petrovic To One-Year Deal

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(Photo Perry Nelson / USA TODAY Sports)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

UPDATE: The Bruins have officially announced the deal. You can read the official press release here as well as Max Mainville’s latest piece on the additional breaking news.

As reported by Matt Porter of The Boston Globe, the Bruins have signed veteran defenseman Alex Petrovic to a contract. According to CapFriendly.com, Petrovic’s deal is for one-year with a $700,000 NHL salary and a $375,000 minors salary; it is also a two-way contract. Boston has also reportedly waived the right-shot skater with the purpose of assigning him to Providence. If he clears waivers, he will report to P-Bruins training camp.

The Bruins invited Petrovic to training camp on a professional tryout (PTO) as an unrestricted free agent, and he has apparently performed well enough to earn a contract. The 27-year-old was drafted in the second round (36th-overall) by the Florida Panthers in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft. In 254 NHL games with the Panthers, the veteran recorded 5-44-49 totals to go along with a minus-three rating and 348 penalty minutes.

Last season, the Edmonton, Alberta, native was dealt from the Panthers to his hometown team, the Oilers, in the middle of December. The 6-foot-4, 216-pound bruiser only suited up in nine games for Edmonton, due to both a concussion and lack of usage under former Oilers interim head coach Ken Hitchcock. In those nine games, Petrovic tallied an assist and two penalty minutes, registering a minus-seven rating as well.

The reported addition of Petrovic’s presence to the Bruins organization is another low-risk, depth signing by Don Sweeney and the Boston brass. He’ll bring another veteran presence to a young, developing Providence Bruins team and will likely be a fine injury replacement if Boston needs him in a pinch.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 146 that we recorded on 9-22-19 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!

Report: Boston Bruins Offer D Alex Petrovic a PTO Deal

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PHOTO CREDITS: (Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)

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

Earlier today, Alex Thomas of Boston Hockey Now wrote an article that highlighted the idea that the Boston Bruins have offered seven-year NHL defenseman Alexander Petrovic a Professional Tryout Contract.

Alex Petrovic is a 27-year-old defender from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada that has spent the majority of his career to date with the Florida Panthers. The 36th overall draft selection in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft by the Panthers has played in 263 regular-season games since the 2012-13 campaign and has accumulated five goals, 45 assists for 50 points total since his debut.

Petrovic’s tenure with Florida ended in December of 2018 when he was traded to the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for Chris Wideman and a conditional 2019 3rd Round Pick. After only playing nine games in 2018-19 with the struggling Oilers, Petrovic hit the free-agent market this past July 1st and has since been offered a deal.

Also included in Alex Thomas’ article for Boston Hockey Now, there is interest the Carolina Hurricanes and the Calgary Flames to sign the defenceman. It is unlikely that the Bruins use Petrovic for an NHL role when the season begins in October, so what is the purpose for the PTO?

For one, signing veterans to tryout contracts gives some more incentive to the younger prospects in the Bruins organization to play to their highest level during the NHL Training Camp that begins within the coming month. Petrovic may also be able to add some personal insight to these younger players and add some strength to the locker room in that regard.

If the Boston Bruins do like Alex Petrovic is some form, it would be likely that he is signed to an AHL contract only if he does indeed agree to a true contract. Bruins President Cam Neely discussed the issues they are having signing RFA defensemen Charlie McAvoy and Brandon Carlo and in that case that it goes into the season, the Bruins will have to find some extra players to fill in those roles temporarily. Whether or not Petrovic is the right player for that replacement role, is yet to be seen.

According to Hockey Reference, the 6-foot-4, 216-pound Petrovic has a 49.9% Corsi For% (48.4% in 2018-19) and a 50% Fenwick For% (48.3% in 2018-19) all while at even strength. Not known whatsoever for his offensive talents, the big defenceman can bring some physicality and a defensive style to the depth defensive role.

Not great numbers, but someone who could maybe earn some minutes in the American Hockey League with the Providence Bruins if his upcoming training camp performance means anything to his future. In a lot of PTOs, the player does not sign a full contract with that team when the tryout expires. If this report indeed comes true as Alex Thomas is reporting, then I assume this is the case with Alex Petrovic as well.

Check out the Black N’ Gold Hockey Podcast episode 139 that we recorded on 8-2-19 below! You can find our show on many worldwide platforms such as Apple Podcasts, Google Podcasts, iHeart Radio, Spotify, SoundCloud, and Sticher.