Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 23 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

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

On the Blue Line

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

In Net

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

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 21 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

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

On the Blue Line

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

In Net

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

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

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

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 20 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

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

On the Blue Line

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

In Net

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

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

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 17 Preview

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Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Hot

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

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

Not

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

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

My players to watch for the Bruins

Up Front

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

On the Blue Line

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

In Net

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

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

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

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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

Heading into week 14 the Providence Bruins currently sit at 16-16-5 (37 points) and 5-5 in their last 10 games good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference. The Baby B’s have a full docket of games this weekend starting out with some home cooking on Friday, January 11th when the Hartford Wolf Pack invade the Dunk again.

Next up, as Yogi Berra would say “it’s like déjà vu all over again” when the boys wearing the spoked P travel to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on the home team Thunderbirds at The MassMutual Center on Saturday, January 12th. Finally, the weekend ends back where it started on Sunday, January 13th when the Springfield Thunderbirds follow our boys in black and gold back to the Dunk. One thing to keep an eye out for is both teams that the Bruins play this weekend are ahead of them in the standings. Win all three games, and we could see our boys climb the division and conference standings.  

Friday, January 11th Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME) 

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

The third leg of the season series saw the Pack come out victorious, winning 4-3. The Providence club got goals from Zach Senyshyn, Colby Cave, and Anton Blidh. Goalie Dan Vladar had a busy game stopping 26 of 30 he faced. In game four these two clubs both fought hard, but Hartford came out on top 4-3 in overtime. The boys wearing the spoked P got goals from Karson Kuhlman, Ryan Fitzgerald, and Kyle Cumiskey. Goalie Zane McIntyre turned away 18 of 22 shots faced in the losing effort. In the fifth meeting this year the New York Rangers’ affiliated blanked Providence 3-0. Goalie Dan Vladar played well in the game stopping 30 of 33 shots faced. More recently, the sixth meeting of the year could not have gone better for the spoked P, winning the game 5-1. The Bruins got goals from Peter Cehlarik (2), Emil Johansson, Gemel Smith, and Jordan Szwarz. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked excellent in net stopping 15 of 16 shots he faced.  

The seventh part of this season series should be a difficult task for the Baby B’s. The Wolf Pack come into the game 17-16-2-2 (38 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games good for sixth in the Atlantic Division. The Bruins have had a mixed back of luck against the Rangers’ affiliate overall this season going 2-3-1. However, the Providence club has been good against them historically going 12-4-1-1 against Hartford at home over the past five seasons and going 19-13-4-2 overall in that time frame. First-period scoring is going to be a major key in this game for clubs. When leading after the first period, Providence is 9-5-2 this season, and Hartford is 8-1. The other big key for the Bruins will be keeping center Peter Holland off the score-sheet. He is the leading scorer for the Pack with stats of 12-23-35. If our boys in black and gold can come out of the first period with a lead, while also keeping Holland from scoring they have a great chance of grabbing two points.  

Saturday, January 12th (AWAY) and Sunday, January 13th (HOME) Providence Bruins vs. Springfield Thunderbirds 

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

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

The Springfield club comes into the two-weekend games with a record of 16-12-5-3 (40 points) and 3-4-3 in their last 10 games good for 5th in the Atlantic Division. You could say the Panthers’ affiliate has brought the lightning and the thunder against Providence this year. The Baby B’s are 1-3 against them so these two games will be anything but easy. Something that does bode well for our boys in black and gold is over the past five seasons they have records of 9-4 at home and 9-6-2 on the road for an overall record of 18-10-2. A major key to these games is going to be special teams.

The Thunderbirds have one of the best power plays in the league ranked first in the Eastern Conference and second in the entire American Hockey League at 25.3%. Meanwhile, the Bruins have one of the best penalty kill units in the league ranked second overall in the Eastern Conference and third overall in the entire American Hockey League. With both clubs being elite in the facet of the game it’s something that has the potential to turn a game over on its head quick. The other thing to look out for is Springfield’s balanced offensive attack. They have five players with 24+ points on the season. Playing an all-around good defensive game is something the Baby B’s must do if they want to win. 

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

Hot 

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith was acquired from Dallas via waiver claim by Boston earlier in the year. Since being sent down to Providence, he’s been excellent in 9 games with stats of 5-2-7 including 4-0-4 in his last three games. The former OHL product has a career AHL point per game average of 0.48 (40-53-93 in 195 games), but in his small sample with the Bruins, it’s 0.78. Let’s hope he continues his hot play throughout the rest of the season. 

Jordan SzwarzThe Bruins’ Captain has played very as of late. Especially over the weekend which saw him have stats of 2-1-3. Overall this season Szwarz’ point per game total is 0.63 (12-7-19 in 30 games) which is up from his career AHL total of 0.59 (102-131-233 in 394 games.) This has helped the spoked P greatly this year, and it is part of the reason why they named him captain in the first place.  

Not 

Zach SenyshynThe speedy forward did have stats of 1-1-2 over the weekend, however, they were his first points since December 12th. The OHL product has been a streaky player since coming to Providence. Sometimes it does take some time to adjust to the pro game. One positive note, the young forward’s point per game total this season is 0.47 (11-4-15 in 32 games) which is higher than his AHL career of 0.42 (23-18-41 in 98 games).  

Mark McNeill: The gritty forward found himself in the middle of a hot streak last week and was in the hot category, it seems as though he’s cooled off a little bit having not registered a point in his past four games. Though it should be noted, that the WHL product is still scoring at a higher point per game total this season 0.68 (4-13-17 in 25 games) than his AHL career of 0.57 (93-117-210 in 368 games), but it is closer to his WHL totals of 0.88 (97-146-243 in 276 games). 

My players to watch this weekend 

Up Front 

Peter CehlarikCehlarik has been excellent for the Providence Bruins this year with stats of 7-17-24. However, he’s been especially good against Springfield and Hartford in 10 games against the two clubs he has stats of 3-5-8 good for a point per game clip of 0.80. Look for him to have another big weekend.  

On the Blue Line 

Jakub ZborilThe young defenseman returned to the lineup last weekend after missing almost a month with an injury. Not only did Zboril play well defensively, but he also contributed offensively getting on the score-sheet with 0-2-2 numbers in three games. Look for him to continue to get stronger as he puts the injury behind him.  

In Net 

Zane McIntyre: This is a repeat from last week, but it cannot be stated enough how good McIntyre has been at home this season. Last weekend the young netminder improved to 7-0-1 at home with a .929 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average. With two of the games, this week at the Dunk look for Zane to have another big weekend. 

The Providence Bruins had a very good week 13. They were able to come away with four points and inch closer in the standings. With both teams they play this weekend ahead of them in the standings it’s another perfect opportunity to continue that climb. The Baby B’s have been good at home this season, and with two games at the Dunk, I would look for at least another four-point weekend. If they can pull that off, it would go a long way to climbing into playoff contention. We will catch up with you next week to let you know how the team fared but feel free to send any questions or comments to me on Twitter. I hope everyone enjoys the games this weekend and Go, B’s, Go! 

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

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

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 13 Recap

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

By Tim Richardson| Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 13 for the Providence brought their first three games of 2019, and much-needed return home to the Dunk. Our boys in black and gold came into the weekend 14-15-5 (33 points) good for seventh in the Atlantic Division. The Baby B’s had hoped week 13 would bring some much-needed wins and points so they could to claw their way back into the playoff picture. When the weekend started, they sat at 13th in the Eastern Conference, which is just out of the playoff range.  

The Providence Bruins won two of three games over the weekend which improved their record to 16-16-5 (37 points). They remain in seventh place in the Atlantic Division, however, only four points separate the Baby B’s and fourth place in the division which currently belongs to the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Meanwhile, the top Boston Bruins minor league affiliated moved up to 12th in the Eastern Conference, and only 6 points separate them and the sixth place Utica Comets.  

Hopefully, the Bruins can have a strong week 14, which is jam-packed with three games over the weekend. Two of the games are at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence where the Bruins are 9-3-2 this season. The one road game will be in Bridgeport, Connecticut against the Sound Tigers where the Bruins are 1-0-2 this season, and 7-13-3 overall.  

Let’s strap in and look back at the weekend that was for the Providence Bruins with some key offensive details for the first three games of 2019.  

Friday, January 4th Providence Bruins vs Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)  

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The first of three-weekend games on the docket was at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, Rhode Island against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who currently sit third in the Atlantic Division. The Baby B’s came out with vengeance in the first period scoring three goals. The first came late in the period when Trent Frederic buried the puck in the back in the net in a goal that was assisted by Cameron Hughes and Karson Kuhlman. Less than a minute later with the Bruins on the power play, Gemel Smith was able to score to make 2-0 with assists coming from Jakub Zboril and Trent Frederic. The Providence club’s quick-strike ability struck again when less than 30 seconds later Gemel Smith found the back of the net again to make it 3-0 with the assists coming from Connor Clifton and Zach Senyshyn.  

With the Bruins ahead 3-0 going into the second period the Lehigh Valley Phantoms picked up their play. They would go on to score two goals in the frame and it would be 3-2 at the end of two periods. The score would remain that until early in the third period when Joona Koppanen scored to make it 4-2 on a goal that was assisted by Connor Clifton and Kyle Cumiskey. The 4-2 score would end up being the final with the Baby B’s getting a need two points. Goalie Zane McIntyre looked excellent in net stopping 20 of 22 shots. He improved to 6-0-1 at home with a .928 save percentage and 1.97 goals against average. Gemel Smith, who was acquired by Boston via waivers from the Dallas Stars earlier in the year has been very good in nine games since being sent down to Providence with stats of 5-2-7.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to out-shoot the Phantoms by a 34-22 margin and go one for three on the power play. The Baby B’s currently sit fifth in that category in the Eastern Conference with a 21.3% power play percentage which also ranks seventh in the entire American Hockey League. Meanwhile, the Bruins were also able to kill off both Lehigh Valley penalties. The penalty kill has been elite for the boys in black and gold which currently sits second in not only the Eastern Conference but the entire American Hockey League with 86.3%. 

Saturday, January 5th Providence Bruins vs Springfield Thunderbirds (AWAY) 

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The second game of weekend would see the Providence Bruins travel to Springfield, Massachusetts to take on the home team Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center. The Florida Panther’s affiliate current sits at fifth in the Atlantic Division at 16-12-5-3 (40 points). The game would start out promising for the Baby B’s when they scored early in the first period to make it 1-0. The goal was scored by young prospect Zach Senyshyn his 11th on the year, and it was assisted by Austin Fyten and Chris Breen. The Bruins lead the Thunderbirds 1-0 after one period of play. 

The good news would stop there when thunder struck for Springfield and they would go on a scoring spree netting four goals in the second period to make it 4-1 after two periods of play. The Thunderbirds would score again a quarter of the way through the third period making it 5-1. This made five unanswered goals for the Panther’s affiliate in just over 26 minutes of play. The Bruins would go on to score two more goals in the third period to make it 5-3. The first third-period goal was on the power play scored by Jordan Szwarz assisted by Cody Goloubef and the second of the period was netted by Gemel Smith assisted by Chris Breen and Emil Johansson. The Baby B’s would go on to pull goalie Dan Vladar in the last few minutes of the game to try and get the extra attacker on the ice, but they still came up short losing 5-3.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to outshout the Thunderbirds 46-39, and both clubs would go one for five on the power play. Goalie Dan Vladar who’s normally sure-handed on the road, suffered the loss falling to 6-8-2 with a .897 save percentage and 2.82 goals against average overall on the season. Gemel Smith’s play stuck out again, making it two straight games with a goal.  

Sunday, January 6th Providence Bruins Vs Hartford Wolf Pack (HOME) 

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(Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr)

The final game of the weekend saw the Providence Bruins return the Dunk for some home cooking against the Wolf Pack of Hartford. Our boys in black and gold would start off the game strong scoring two goals. The first came a little over halfway through the period when Captain Jordan Szwarz pocketed a goal that was assisted by Cameron Hughes and Kyle Cumiskey. Then in the final seconds of the period, Peter Cehlarik netted a power play goal that was assisted by Kyle Cumiskey and Jordan Szwarz. The period would end with Bruins up 2-0. 

The second period of play would bring out some chippy play with old friend Matt Beleskey fighting Wiley Sherman, but the period would end with the score still 2-0 Providence. The third period would see the Baby B’s score three more times. The first came about halfway through the period when Emil Johansson netted a shorthanded goal that was assisted by Karson Kuhlman and Cameron Hughes. A few minutes later, Peter Cehlarik would find the back of the net on a goal that was assisted by Wiley Sherman. Then with a little under five minutes to play and the Hartford goalie pulled, Gemel Smith would add an empty net goal for the Bruins that was assisted by Jakub Zboril to make it 5-0. The Pack would go on to spoil the shutout netting a power play goal of their own in the final three minutes of play to make 5-1 and that would be your final.  

The Providence Bruins would go on to out-shoot the Wolf Pack by a whopping 37-16 margin with both teams going one for five on the power play. Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent again at home stopping 15 of 16 shots. He improved to 7-0-1 at home with a .929 save percentage and 1.86 goals against average. Gemel Smith would go on to score in his third game in a row and his fourth goal of the weekend.  

Honorable Mention 

Gemel Smith: Smith had an excellent weekend for Providence with stats of 4-04. Since being sent down to the AHL he has been a spark for the offense. 

Jordan SzwarzThe Captain had a great weekend for himself with stats of 2-1-3. The two goals brought his overall total to 12 on the year. Eight more goals and he will be the fifth player in Providence Bruins history with 20+ goals in three seasons. 

Jakub ZborilZboril returned to the lineup for the first time in almost a month due to injury and had stats of 0-2-2 while playing good defense for the Bruins. It was nice to see him back and on the score sheet. 

Zane McIntyre: Zane had a phenomenal weekend for the Bruins. He went 2-0-0 stopping 35 of 38 shots for a .921 save percentage and goals against average of 1.50. 

Not So Honorable Mention 

Zach SenyshynIt was nice that Senyshyn scored and got an assist over the weekend, but those two points were his first two since December 12. Hopefully, these two points will open the floodgates a little bit. 

Anton BlidhBlidh continues to be as cold as the ice the team skates on. The gritty forward has not registered a point since December 22.  

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Boston Bruins Prospect Player Profile: Urho Vaakanainen

(Photo Courtesy of NBCSports)

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Urho Vaakanainen was drafted in the 1st round 18th overall in the 2017 NHL Draft. When Vaakanainen was drafted, it was said, that he was not only the most NHL ready defenseman but also the best all-around defenseman in the entire draft. He already at a young age possessed elite skills as a stay-at-home defenseman. He was even getting compared to NHL Hall of Famer Scott Niedermayer. Now those are some giant skates to fill, so let’s dive into the player and see why he had such a lofty comparison.

The 2017-18 season was Vaakanainen’s first since being drafted. Being such a young player, he decided to stay in Finland and play for SaiPa of Finland’s top hockey league Liiga. This was important because one of the few major knocks on Vaakanainen was that he lacked experience. In 43 games with SaiPa Vaakanainen netted 4 goals while dishing out 7 assists for 11 total points and a +/- rating of +8. He also played in the teams 9 playoff games where he didn’t find the back of the net, but he did dish out 1 assist for 1 total point and a rating of +1. Overall it was a very successful season for Vaakanainen. The Bruins were very high on his defensive skills, and skating ability. So much so that they signed him to an entry-level contract, and he was slated to play the 2018-19 season in Providence.  

Coming over into his first professional season in North America there was some buzz around Vaakanainen.  Vaakanainen added to an already deep young defensive core and a prospect pool that included Charlie McAvoy, Torey Krug, Matt Grzelcyk, Jakub Zboril, and Jeremy Lauzon. Those guys are good and have a bright future ahead of them, but even with how good they currently are and could be Vaakanainen may end up being the best of the bunch. He possesses elite skills as a stay at home defender. To top that off he has great vision on the ice, is a mobile defender, and he’s also elite on the penalty-kill. His play is wise beyond its years. He doesn’t have any major glaring weaknesses either. A few things that the Bruins did want him working on was improving his shooting skills, and playmaking ability. These are things that can come with time. 

Vaakanainen impressed in preseason this season but ultimately began the year in Providence because of the depth the Bruins had at defense. How he did flash that defensive ability and showed that he was close to being NHL ready. Vaakanainen played in 6 games for the Providence Bruins. He registered 0 goals and 2 assists and a rating of 0. Even bigger than those stats, however, was the fact that he had 14 shots in those 6 games. Showing that he was trying to improve the areas of his game that the Bruins wanted him to. The Bruins were very impressed, and with early injuries to the defense, Vaakanainen was called up to Boston. He played in 2 games with Boston where he didn’t register a point and had a rating of -1.  

Unfortunately, in that second game, he suffered a vicious elbow to the head and got a concussion. He has been out since October 23rd. He has skated a little bit since, but there is no timetable for his return. It was unfortunate that Vaakanainen did get injured because even in the limited sample we saw he looked good. He looked like he belonged in the NHL. Ultimately, Urho Vaakanainen has shown a reason for us as fans to be excited. The Bruins have many young, exciting defensemen either currently in the NHL or waiting in the wings in Providence. A few years down the road the Bruins could have one of the best young defenses in all the league anchored by Vaakanainen, and that is something to be excited about.   

Providence Bruins Weekend Re-cap – Week 8

45108775584_0a14212eb0_z(Photo Courtesy of the Providence Bruins)

By: Jen Stasio Coombe | Follow Me On Twitter @hockeygirl2976

Week eight was a three-game holiday week with all road games and the Providence Bruins came together like we knew they could.  The challenges of call-ups and injuries seemed to do little to damage their spirit and resolve as they came away with five of the possible six points for the week.  These five points put them even with the Hershey Bears for seventh place in the division and the communication, chemistry, and composure that are taking hold in a big can only add up to better rankings.  As we have seen in previous seasons the challenges of the early season have begun to fade and we are starting to see the real Providence Bruins shine through.

Two goalies(Photo Courtesy of Jen Stasio Coombe)

Goaltender Performance:

Dan Vladar started in net on Saturday at the PPL Center against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms.  Saving 18-21 shots on goal bringing his save percentage to .893.

Zane McIntyre started in net twice this week.  Wednesday in Hartford saving 18-22 shots on goal and Sunday in Wilkes-Barre making an impressive 32-34 saves.  His save percentage is now .858.

This Weekends Scores:

WED Nov. 21 AWAY              Providence 3 – Hartford 4 OTL 

SAT Nov. 24 AWAY             Providence 6 – Lehigh Valley 3 WIN!!!

SUN Nov. 25 AWAY             Providence 4 – Wilkes-Barre/Scranton 2 WIN!!!

Detailed Daily Game Re-caps:

Wednesday, November 21, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack (AWAY)

hfd(Photo Courtesy of the Hartford Wolf Pack)

In the first of several Wednesday night games the Bruins have coming up they traveled to Hartford Connecticut to battle their familiar foe the Wolf Pack.  When these two pair off it is always even odds for who will be the victor of the night and just how many penalties are going to be awarded. This night was to be no different.

The first period did see its fair share of penalties, but not near as many as we have seen in the past.  The 6:38 roughing penalty called against Providences Tanner Pond put the Wolf Pack on the power-play, but Karson Kuhlman had other plans.  Taking a quick pass from Messner, Kuhlman drove the puck past the Pack’s goaltender at 7:50 and landed a shorthanded goal in the back of the net.  The Bruins were not as successful on the 12:07 hooking penalty called on Austin Fyten.  This time on the power-play Hartford’s Belesky was able to sneak by McIntyre at 13:49 and even the score at 1-1.  A level score meant everyone kicked it into high gear trying to get the lead before the end of the period.  A hooking call against Hartford gave the Bruins the power-play they needed for the extra push and at 18:28 Ryan Fitzgerald scored the power-play goal with the help of Szwarz and Cuminsky.  The score as the horn sounded was Providence 2- Hartford 1.

The second period started out with a bang, literally.  Providences Pond and Hartford’s O’Donnell came to blows at only two minutes in.  Once those two were safely in their respective penalty boxes, there was not much going for the rest of the period.  There were a couple minor penalties called, maybe just to break the boredom, and then with only two seconds left on the clock, Hartford’s Belesky was aided by Meskanen and former Bruin O’Gara to bring the score back even.  This time the horn blew with a score of Providence 2 – Hartford 2.

The third was not a repeat of the second.  Two penalties in the first five minutes one for each side.  Then at 9:36 the break the Wolf Pack were looking for, O’Donnell was able to slide a goal in behind McIntyre who had slid a little too far out of position giving them the lead for the first time all night.  Not impressed with being down by one and eager to prove his worthiness of the recent PTO signing Cuminsky worked hard and with the help of Fitzgerald and Donato was able to find the back of the net at 13:23 making it an even game once again.  The horn sounded seven minutes later signaling the end of regular time and the need for the OT.

Overtime was not a shot fest or a quick one and done as it has been in the past with these two teams.  Instead there were only two shots on goal from Providence and one from Hartford.  That one from Hartford was a good one and at 3:30 Lettieri was able to score the game-winning goal and shut the door on the Bruins hopes of an overtime victory.

Saturday, November 24th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (AWAY)

LHV(Photo Courtesy of the Lehigh Valley Phantoms)

Thanksgiving was over and the tryptophan coma had hopefully passed when the Bruins headed down to Lehigh Valley to face the Phantoms for the first time away from home this season.  The two teams battled it out last weekend here in Providence with a less than desirable result for our Bruins.  This time being away from home and fired up from a disappointing loss, the baby-b’s were there to win it.  The question was could they keep the penalty bug at bay by maintaining the level heads they needed to capture the two points.

The first period of the game would test their resolve right off the puck drop.  In under a minute and a half the Phantoms had been able to score two goals on Vladar and were looking smug already.  The Bruins players kept their cool and showed remarkable restraint even waving off a taunt or two that was directed at them from their opponents.  Those level heads paid off when at 17:14 Austin Fyten was able to slide one past the Phantoms goaltender and get the Bruins back in the game.  Both teams were full steam ahead and charging the net at every opportunity.  Providence had racked up thirteen shots on goal and the Phantoms six, but when the horn sounded in the valley it was Providence 1 – Lehigh Valley 2.

Fired up from the late goal from Fyten in the first the Bruins started the second period with a goal at 2:42 by team captain Jordan Szwarz assisted by Fitgerald.  This brought the scores even, but the Phantoms were not ready to concede.  Just two minutes later they took the lead again on a goal by Bardrau assisted by Twarynski.  Perhaps this lead change just caused something to snap in the Bruins, because from here on in, they were lights out.  Scoring twice more this period, once at 9:41 when Sherman and Zboril handed one-off to Fitzy and the second was an unassisted goal by Cameron Hughes at 14:22.  The horn sounded for period two on a very different game, Providence 4 – Lehigh Valley 3.

The drive to the end continued into the third period for the Bruins as the shots on goal can attest.  The third period saw Providence with twelve shots on goal, while the Phantoms were only able to squeeze in four.  Those shots on goal did not materialize into any actual goals for Lehigh Valley, but two Providence pucks found their way to the back of the net.  At 2:59 Austin Fyten doubled his tally with the help of Emil Johannsen widening the providence lead to two goals and then at 7:14 Cameron Hughes followed suit taking help from Kuhlman to provide the final goal of the night.  When the horn finally sounded at the end of the third the score was a lopsided Providence 6 – Lehigh Valley 3.

Sunday, November 25th, 2018, Providence Bruins vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (AWAY)

WBS(Photo Courtesy of the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins)

With level heads prevailing the previous night and allowing the solid victory, the Bruins may have gotten the boost they needed to take on one of their hardest competitors of the weekend, the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins.  Having faced the Penguins the weekend before on home ice and won, they had gained a bit of confidence, but facing the top ranked team in the division is nerve-wracking at any time.  The matinée result this day was far from predetermined.

This first period began like a game of Rockem’ Sockem’ Robots.  David Broll, on his first shift back after injuring his hand in a pre-season fight, dropped his gloves and his helmet to take on the Penguins McGrath only two minutes in.  Broll and McGrath were both slapped with five minutes for fighting and another two for unsportsmanlike conduct due to the removal of their helmets.  As if that wasn’t bad enough for the Penguins Burton was called for Interference at 2:08, putting the Bruins on their first power-play of the night.  Only a minute later Kovar and Donato combined to provide the perfect ingredients for Fitzgerald to score the first goal of the night putting Providence up 1-0.  It took until the last-minute of the period for Wilkes-Barre/Scranton to make a successful bid for a goal.  At 19:16 Johnson slid one in past McIntyre and was able to level the score to end the period.

The second period began with a Providence 1 – WBS 1 score and both teams wanted that to change as quickly as possible.  They challenged each other through the neutral zone and fought hard to keep the competitors away from the net.  This back and forth continued until nearly twelve minutes into the period when Cehlarik broke through the Penguins defense and scored with the help of McNeill.  The hole in the defense did not have time to mend before Fitzgerald and Szwarz passed the puck over to Donato who lit the lamp once again for the Bruins.  When the horn sounded at the end of 20 the score was Providence 3 – WBS 1.

The third period was much like the second, but this time the Penguins were scrambling to get back in the game.  Providence was also looking to score but was more intent on keeping Wilkes-Barre/Scranton away from their net.  15:56 into the period the Penguins pulled within one with a goal from Burton.  This goal amped up both sides as they desperately fought to secure the win.  Several times in the last two minutes Wilkes-Barre wanted to pull their goalie, but they just could not clear the puck far enough out to do so.  Finally, at 19:24 their chance came, the goalie scrambled to the bench and the additional man joined the play.  Unfortunately, it was just in time for Jakub Zboril to score the empty net goal and seal the end for the Penguins. Final Score at the horn, Providence 4 – WBS 2.

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Zdeno Chara Injured, Heading Back To Boston

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photo credit: Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports

By: Mandi Mahoney  |  Check Me Out On Twitter @phoneymahoney

During Wednesday night’s tilt against the Colorado Avalanche, former Bruin Carl Soderberg had just dished out the puck at the Bruins’ blue line as Bruins captain Zdeno Chara was advancing toward him. Chara made the check and hit Soderberg square on the back. As he did, the resulting impact caused Chara’s left knee to cave inward. He left the game immediately following Jake DeBrusk’s second goal of the night, a little less than 30 seconds after the incident.

Chara traveled to Dallas with the team after Wednesday’s loss to the Avalanche in Colorado, but instead of staying for the remainder of the trip, he has returned to Boston to have his knee evaluated by team medical staff. Perhaps Bruins fans can take a little bit of comfort from the fact that Chara left the rink unaided and did not appear to be badly injured, but there’s no telling what an evaluation can reveal. Hopefully, it’s relatively minor, as injuries to the Bruins’ blue line are beginning to pile up.

Currently, the Bruins’ defense corps is decimated, with Kevan Miller out (hand), Charlie McAvoy sidelined with a concussion, and most recently, Brandon Carlo placed on injured reserve (upper body injury) and did not travel with the team. It was initially thought that Carlo’s injury was minor as he was questionable for Sunday’s home game against the Vegas Golden Knights, but it looks like it may be a little more significant than it seemed at first glance.

Injuries to these three defensemen have thrown the Bruins’ defensive pairings out of whack, and adding Chara to the list means the Bruins do not have either of their top pair available. They are also missing one from their second pair (Carlo), s well as one from the third pair (Miller). Jeremy Lauzon was called back up from Providence a week ago and played the last two games with Boston. 2015 first round pick Jakub Zboril was called up following Carlo’s injury. Should Zboril make it into the lineup (which is likely at this point), it will be his first rodeo, as he has yet to make an appearance in the National Hockey League.

The entire right side of the Bruins’ defense is injured in McAvoy, Carlo, and Miller, and with Chara out, now their top left defenseman is out as well. This leaves the Bruins with a defensive corps consisting of Torey Krug, John Moore, Matt Grzelcyk, seventh defenseman Steve Kampfer, and Providence Bruin callups Jeremy Lauzon and Jakub Zboril. After Chara left the game in the second period Wednesday, the wheels fell off, and the Bruins gave up five unanswered goals. Hopefully, with a little time to practice together and for coach Bruce Cassidy to figure out the pairings, things will come together and the defense will be less leaky than it was for the second half of Wednesday night’s game, as the Bruins will undoubtedly feel the loss of Chara.

Bruins Call Connor Clifton Up From AHL

( Photo Credit:  Providence Bruins )

By: Mandi Mahoney | Follow Me On Twitter @phonymahoney

The Boston Bruins road trip is not going according to plan. During a loss to the Colorado Avalanche at the Pepsi Center Wednesday night, captain Zdeno Chara injured his knee while checking former Bruin Carl Soderberg. Chara left in the second period, and the Bruins did not fare very well without him, dropping a two-goal lead and eventually losing 6-3 to the Avs.

As a result of Chara’s injury, the Bruins called up blueliner Connor Clifton from their AHL affiliate in Providence on an emergency basis. Clifton traveled to Dallas to meet with the team yesterday, in the midst of their road trip. It looks like the right-shot defenseman will make his NHL debut tonight, as John Moore, who has typically played on the Bruins’ second defensive pair, will not be in the lineup to play against the Stars in Dallas tonight.

Clifton was originally selected 133rd overall, in the fifth round of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft by the Arizona Coyotes. He and the Coyotes failed to reach an agreement in August 2017, and the Bruins signed him to a two-year entry-level deal this May. Prior to being drafted, the Long Branch, New Jersey native played for the USNTDP in juniors, and then for the U.S. National Under 18 Team, where he racked up 8 goals and 15 assists, totaling 23 points in 66 games. This put him second in scoring among defensemen on the team, only behind current New Jersey Devil Will Butcher. During that season, Clifton was a teammate of fellow Bruins prospect Ryan Fitzgerald, and former Bruin Frank Vatrano.

In 156 games at Quinnipiac, Clifton scored 56 points and was +39 during his college career. He captained the Bobcats in 2016-17, which was his senior year. Skating at 5’11” and 174 pounds, Clifton isn’t the biggest player on the ice, but he is definitely not afraid to throw his body around and play a physical game, and he does not back down from that, no matter the opponent.

Clifton has been a noticeable presence on every team he has played for, as he’s known for work ethic and compete level, on top of his energy and enthusiasm for physical hockey. He can sometimes take risks in the offensive zone, which has come back to bite him from time to time, but Clifton has learned from those mistakes and is definitely getting the hang of playing in the AHL. This season, he has played in fourteen games for the Providence Bruins, has assisted on 4 goals, and has a plus/minus rating of +4.

For tonight’s game in Dallas, expect Clifton to be playing alongside the only established veteran left in the Bruins’ defensive corps, puck mover Torey Krug. This leaves Jeremy Lauzon and Matt Grzelcyk on the second pair, and Jakub Zboril, another Providence Bruin making his NHL debut, skating on the third pair with Steve Kampfer. Tonight’s game against the Stars will be interesting at the very least, with Tyler Seguin and Jamie Benn going up against Grzelcyk, Krug, and four AHL defensemen.