Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 26 Preview

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( Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 26 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 35-24-8-3 (81 points) and 5-3-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. With just six games left in the regular season, the baby B’s find themselves sitting in one of the final play spots. Though they sit tight in that playoff spot, every point is crucial, and they will need to get back to their winning ways to secure that spot. The good news is that four out of the final six games are being played at the Dunk with two of three there this weekend. Our boys in black and gold play very well at home so, this bodes well for the remaining games.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, April 5, 2019, when the Bridgeport Sound Tigers skate into town to invade the Dunkin Donuts Center. The hockey action continues Saturday, April 6, 2019, when the Providence Bruins take their talents on the road and invade Bridgeport, Connecticut to take on the home team Bridgeport Sound Tigers at Webster Bank Arena. Finally, the weekend concludes on Sunday, April 7, 2019, when the baby B’s return home to take on the Vancouver Canucks’ affiliate, the Utica Comets. It will be an exciting weekend of hockey that you’ll want to see.

Friday, April 5, 2019 (HOME) and Saturday, April 6, 2019 (AWAY) Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers

The weekend home and home will mark the 11th and the 12th time that these two teams have met, and all the games have been closely contested games with six of the 10 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 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 ninth game of the season series was the very next night, 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. The most recent game of the series saw the Sound Tigers win 5-4 in overtime with the Bruins getting goals from Paul Carey (2), Jordan Szwarz, and Gemel Smith. In net, Zane McIntyre had a less than stellar performance stopping 22 of the 27 shots that were fired his way.

The Bridgeport Sound Tigers come into the game 40-22-6-3 (89 points) and 5-3-1-1 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 4-1-4-1. However, over the past five years, the Baby B’s have seen success against the Bridgeport club going 24-17-6-3 including 16-6-3 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 16th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 16.3%. Meanwhile, the Islanders’ affiliate has the fourth-ranked penalty kill in the Atlantic Division and eighth-ranked in the Eastern Conference at 81.1% On the flipside the Providence Bruins have the sixth-best power play in the Atlantic Division, and the 13th ranked in the Eastern Conference at 16.7%. Their penalty kill is much stronger boasting the second-best in the Atlantic Division as well as the Eastern Conference at 86.2%. In terms of grabbing an early lead and keeping it, the Sound Tigers are 19-3-3-2 when leading after the first period and 22-2-5-2 when leading after two. The Baby B’s are 16-7-3-1 when leading after one, and 28-4-2-2 when leading after two. These final two games of the season series are sure to be barnburners.

Sunday, April 7, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Utica Comets (HOME)

The Sunday afternoon game will mark the second and final time the Providence Bruins play the Utica Comets this season. Despite both teams being in the Eastern Conference, they only play a limited amount of times per year because they are in different divisions. They played one game in Utica, New York and then the Sunday game at the Dunk in Providence, Rhode Island. The first game saw the baby B’s fall 5-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Jordan Szwarz and Zach Senyshyn. In net, Zane McIntyre had an off night stopping 21 of the 25 shots that were fired in his direction. The Utica Comets skate into the match-up 31-31-6-2 (70 points) and 1-8-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for sixth in the North Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference.

Over the past five years, the Bruins have a winning record against the Vancouver affiliate going 6-5 in that time, however that includes 2-3 at home. Team defense is going to play a major key in who wins or loses this game. Both teams are similar on offense, they’ve both scored 205 goals in 70 games which is good for 2.92 goals a game. The big difference between the two hockey clubs is their defenses. The Utica Comets have given 244 goals in their 70 games on the year. This is a terrible 3.48 goals a game. Only one other team in the Eastern Conference has given up more goals than Utica. Meanwhile, the Providence Bruins have given up 188 goals in their 70 games. That is good for 2.68 goals a game. Only two other teams in the Eastern Conference have given up fewer goals than the baby Bs.

Despite Utica’s bad defensive numbers, something major to look for is they play a lot better when the game is close. In one-goal games, the Comets are 15-5-6-2. Meanwhile, Providence is 16-10-8-3. The other curious thing to look at would be how the two teams when outshooting their opponent and then being outshot. When being outshot the Utica hockey club is 20-12-2-1, but when they are outshooting their opponents, they are 11-17-3-1. On the other end of things, the Providence hockey club is 24-16-5-1 when they outshoot their opponent and 9-6-3-2 when being outshot. This is something that could play a major role in the Sunday battle.

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

Hot

Lee StempniakLee Stempniak has been good since joining Providence this season. The former Dartmouth College Captain was initially on a tryout with the club before signing a contract right before the NHL trade deadline this year. In 15 games with the Bruins, the veteran winger has netted six goals while dishing out six assists for 12 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.80. That includes finding the back of the net four times and dishing out three assists for seven total points in his last eight games. I gritty forward has been able to provide offense and leadership that has helped the baby B’s in the late part of the season. Hopefully, his play continues through the playoffs.

Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson: Forsbacka Karlsson has had an interesting season. It all started back in training camp when he was one of the leading candidates for the third-line center position. Unfortunately for him, he didn’t win the battle out of camp and started the year in Providence. The former Boston University Terrier was eventually called up to Boston and spent a good amount of time there before being sent back down to the AHL. The young center’s offensive game hasn’t exactly progressed as quickly as some people may like, but recently he has been playing better. Over his past six games, the forward from Sweden has found the back of the net two times while also dishing out two assists for four total points. This is very encouraging. Let’s hope he continues this play through the end of the season, and into the playoffs.

Not

Zach SenyshynZach Senyshyn has had a trying season for the Providence Bruins. The OHL product is probably the most talented forward prospect currently in either Providence or Boston, but for some reason, the talent and potential have not produced results so far. Since January 26, 2019, the young winger has found the back of the net one time and dished out three assists for four points total points in his last 22 games. During his OHL days, Senyshyn scored at a point per game clip of 0.91 (114-63-177 in 195 games played). However, since coming to the AHL that has dipped to 0.39 (26-24-50 in 128 games played). The good news is that the former Sault Ste, Marie Greyhound is only 22 years old, and he has time to develop into the player we want him to be. More positive news for the speedster, he was recently called up to Boston on an emergency basis. Hopefully, he can get in a game or two to regain some confidence.

Jeremy Lauzon: Jeremy Lauzon is another guy that has had an interesting season. He started the year playing well for Providence but received a call-up to Boston when the big club was going through a myriad of injuries. Once the parent club got healthy, he was sent back down to the AHL to work on a few things, and despite the low offensive output was playing good defense. Recently coming back from an injury that saw him sit for a few weeks, he’s looked okay but not great and has not recorded a point in his last nine games played. Now, the young defenseman has only played three games since coming back from injury, and he has time to gain momentum these last six games of the season. Hopefully, the former QMJHL Champion can turn it on come playoff time and give the baby B’s a big boost on the backend.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Tommy MarchinTommy Marchin is a name you may not recognize, but he has played in three games so far with Providence, not registering a point but looking good on the ice. On March 25, 2019, the young forward signed a deal with Providence as a college free-agent. A few days later, March 27, 2019, he made his pro debut. Marchin spent the last four years playing for Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island serving this last season as their Captain. In 115 games the young winger netted 40 goals while dishing out 36 assists for 76 points. This is good for a point per game total of 0.66. Keep an eye for Marchin this weekend, hopefully, he can provide some offensive punch for the Bruins.

On the Blue Line: 

Kyle Cumiskey: Kyle Cumiskey has quietly put together a nice season for Providence. The veteran defenseman came to the baby B’s on loan from the ECHL’s Newfoundland Growlers in mid-November and has stayed ever since. In 34 games, the WHL product has netted three goals while dishing out 14 assists for 17 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.50. To top it off, in seven games against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Utica Comets this season, the gritty defenseman has netted one goal while dishing out six assists for seven total points. This means that 41% of Cumiskey’s points have come against these two teams this season. Hopefully, he can keep it up this weekend.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre is another guy that has had an interesting season. On the year, the veteran netminder is 23-12-7 with a goals against average of 2.43, and a save percentage of .902. Mid-season, the Providence Bruins, went on an impressive point streak, and at the time neither goalie had really solidified himself as the number one guy. McIntyre was able to anchor the backend of the defense and do just that. To top it off, he has been a lot better at home than on the road this season with 18 of his 23 wins coming at the Dunk. With two of three games in Providence this weekend, look for him to be essential in the baby B’s success.

The Providence Bruins are currently sitting in playoff position by five points. With 6 games remaining the team’s magic number is 10. The magic number is the number of points needed to clinch the playoff spot. The magic number goes down when it earns points either with victory, or overtime/shootout losses. The magic number also goes down when the team with the highest possible point total that isn’t currently in playoff position, loses. This means the Providence club either needs to win five of their last six games, or they need some help with the team directly below losing to clinch that playoff spot. The good news is that they remain in a good spot, and in charge of their own destiny. Hopefully, the club has a good weekend, and that number shrinks. 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 Weekend Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Sam Fryman | Follow me on Twitter @sfryman20

 

William Shakespeare famously wrote that one must “beware the Ides of March,” and the month overall has provided to be a mixed bag for the Providence Bruins. To begin the final weekend of March, Providence had a matchup with the North Division-leading Syracuse Crunch who have already clinched their Calder Cup playoff spot.

Friday, March 29th, 2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Syracuse Crunch (Away)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

First Period:

Providence started the game with a bang, showing that they wouldn’t be intimidated by the Crunch whatsoever. Providence outshot their opponents 14-3 in the first twenty minutes, but thanks to goalie Eddie Pasquale the Crunch would keep a goal off the scoreboard. As has been the case in previous games, the Bruins had plenty of chances on the man advantage but could not convert to get an early lead.

Score: 0-0

Second Period:

Providence looked to continue their team domination as the second period got underway, and they would need to do so first in the form of fisticuffs. Jeremy Lauzon quickly dropped the gloves with Syracuse center Gabriel Dumont after Dumont gave an extra shove to goalie Dan Vladar after a play was over. Vladar had to continue to make a few more acrobatic saves to keep the tie intact, and it was the veteran Lee Stempniak who gave the Bruins the first goal of the game. Chris Breen was credited with the assist just after exiting the penalty box as well as Jordan Szwarz. The shot total for the period ended 23-9 in favor of Providence.

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Score: 1-0 Bruins

Third Period:

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In the third period, Syracuse would get the game tied up despite being massively outplayed. Off of a Providence turnover, Boris Katchouk scored his tenth goal of the season and for the moment gave the Crunch a big burst of life. Just fifteen seconds later, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson would answer with Lee Stempniak notching an assist for a multi-point game. With a power play just over two minutes later, Gemel Smith would get the go-ahead goal to put the Bruins back on top with a brilliant one-timer. The Crunch would get a goal in garbage time to make this interesting, but Providence would hold on for a big win, they’re third in the last four games.

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Final: 3-2 Bruins

Saturday, March 30th,2019, Providence Bruins Vs. The Hershey Bears (Away)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins/Flikr )

As the month of March came to its official close, the Bruins made the trip to the Giant Center in Hershey to take on the Bears for the sixth time this season. It was a critical point swing for the two teams as they still stand third and fourth in the Atlantic Division standings, with Charlotte being the only team to officially clinch in the Atlantic. Providence had only lost once to Hershey this season and looked to continue their domination of the Capitals’ affiliate.

 

First Period:

With just over two minutes gone in the first period, Lee Stempniak continued his hot streak with the Bruins notching his sixth goal of the season. With the veteran forward having played for ten different NHL franchises, it’s been no surprise that the Bruins offense has benefitted with him in the lineup. For the next few minutes, the Bears would have a solid barrage of chances, including Devonte Smith-Pelly just failing to beat Zane McIntyre and sending a shot off of the post, and Tyler Lewington missing a wide open low slot shot.

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Score: 1-0 Bruins

Second Period:

Providence started the second frame on the power play with Riley Barber taking a double minor for high sticking. It was effectively killed off as the Bears began the game going three for three on the penalty kill.  The physicality entered the game a few minutes later with Shane Gersich taking exception to a hit delivered by Providence’s Cooper Zech. The Bears only managed three shots total during the period as they were shorthanded on three different occasions.

Score: 1-0 Bruins

Third Period:

The score was still in favor of the Bruins when the third period began, but it wouldn’t stay that way long. Right off of the opening draw, Devonte Smith-Pelly received a great pass from Jayson Megna and tied the game just seventeen seconds into the final frame of regulation. The Providence offense started to get going a little more after that tally including a power play chance, but a penalty right afterward would cost them. After Kyle Cumiskey was sent to the box for charging, Joe Snively notched his first goal of the season to give the Bears the go-ahead goal. Hershey goaltender Ilya Samsanov would secure the victory as the Bruins would outshoot their opponents 29-19. The battle for the final playoff spots remain tight, and Providence will get a full week break before taking on the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a home and away series.

Final: 2-1 Bears

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Bruins Recall Trent Frederic From Providence

d7fff791-615e-4250-836c-20a10a25c5d4-nhl_fight_fredericPhoto Courtesy Of USA Today

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced Tuesday morning, that the team has recalled forward Trent Frederic from Providence on an emergency basis.

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Frederic has skated in 11 games for the Bruins this season, making his NHL debut on January 29th in Boston against the Winnipeg Jets. The 21-year-old has also skated in 45 games for Providence this season, posting 11 goals and nine assists for 20 points. He also skated in 13 games for Providence last season, posting five goals and three assists for eight points. Frederic spent two season at the University of Wisconsin, totaling 32 goals and 33 assists for 65 points in 66 career games.

The St. Louis, Missouri native was selected by the Bruins in the first round (29th overall) of the 2016 NHL Entry Draft. Frederic played pretty solid hockey in his time with the varsity club, despite not posting any points. With the Bruins needing an extra body after sending down Lee Stempniak yesterday, Frederic got the call. It’ll be interesting to see where the young forward slides into the lineup but it’s probably assumed he takes up the third line center spot. This should mean that we see Charlie Coyle on the second line tonight against Columbus.

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 Recall Lee Stempniak On Emergency Basis

photo credit: SI.com

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Boston Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this morning that the team has called wing Lee Stempniak up from their AHL affiliate in Providence. Stempniak has practiced with the NHL squad all season, earned himself a PTO (professional tryout) with Providence, and officially began his second tour of duty with the Bruins when they signed him on February 24.

Presumably, the 36-year-old Stempniak has been called up due to injuries to wings Marcus Johansson (lung contusion) and Jake DeBrusk (lower body). Johansson will be re-evaluated next week, and DeBrusk is reportedly nursing a very minor injury, but now it looks like he may be missing his second consecutive game.

Since playing in the AHL for Providence, Stempniak has scored two goals and notched three assists for a total of five points in seven AHL contests since re-signing. The Seneca, NY native has thirteen NHL seasons seasons under his belt, and is known as a journeyman, as he has played for ten teams, which is tied for second most in league history.

The versatile forward has played 909 NHL games, had scored 203 goals, and has assisted on 266, for a total of 469 points. If inserted into the Bruins’ lineup, Stempniak will likely be skating alongside David Krejci and Slovak rookie Peter Cehlarik. The veteran wing can still be an effective player in the National Hockey League, and will be able to help the Black and Gold if he is in the lineup. Judging from his time in Providence, Stempniak has not lost his scoring touch, and is eager to return to NHL action.

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 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!

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Grading The Bruins’ 2019 Trade Deadline

Marcus-Johansson.jpg

(Image: Fred Kfoury III / Icon Sportswire via Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

The NHL Trade Deadline has come and gone, and the Bruins made three additions in total, trading for Marcus Johansson and Charlie Coyle in addition to signing Lee Stempniak. Here are my grades for each of the Bruins’ Trade Deadline moves:

Bruins acquire Marcus Johansson for a 2019 2nd-rounder and a 2020 4th-rounder

Grade: B+

Just as it looked like the Bruins were going to let the deadline pass them by without adding another player, news of this trade broke. Johansson brings skill and versatility to the Bruins’ top-nine (likely the second or third line) as he can play center and both wings. Although not the big name Bruins fans were clamoring for, he can still be an effective player for the Bruins down the stretch.

This season, Johansson has 12-15-27 numbers in 48 games played, on pace for 17-21-38 totals in 68 games played. However, if Johansson were healthy all season, the 28-year-old would be on pace for 21-26-47 totals in 82 games played, for what it’s worth. Johansson also has 6-6-12 numbers in his last 13 games played.

Over his nine-year career between Washington and New Jersey, Johansson has scored at least 20 goals twice and has totaled at least 40 points five times to go along with one 50-point year. Just two years ago, the Swede had 24-34-58 in a career season, his final with the Capitals.

New Jersey will retain 40% of Johansson’s salary too (he now has a cap hit of $2.75-millions), which helps the Bruins avoid overages that could eat up cap space for next season. These overages could have been a possibility given the number of players the Bruins have on entry-level deals who are eligible for bonuses based off individual and team performance.

As for what the Bruins gave up, the second-rounder is the key piece for the Devils while losing the fourth-rounder doesn’t hurt too much, considering the prospect pool is still pretty well-stocked. What’s important here is that Sweeney was able to hold on to the first-round pick this year without surrendering significant prospects, so that’s a win.

Bruins sign Lee Stempniak

Grade: C+

On Sunday, the Bruins signed Stempniak to a one-year, $650,000 contract; the 36-year-old had been skating with the Bruins all season during practices before recently joining Providence on a PTO. Shortly after signing, the Dartmouth College product was placed on waivers with the purpose of being assigned to Providence.

Stempniak suited up in a few preseason games with the Bruins and had a goal and two assists (his power-play goal is at 1:43 of the video below). In Providence this year, Stempniak has 2-2-4 in four games played. The winger is also two seasons removed from 16-24-40 totals with Carolina after a year in which he had 19-32-51 between New Jersey and Boston (three goals and 10 points with the Bruins in 19 games played). So, he might even be able to chip in a few goals like Brian Gionta last year.

This move isn’t much at all, really. Think of Stempniak as last year’s Gionta; he’s a cheap, depth insurance policy, who costs nothing but cash and may step in for a few games in a pinch. Stempniak gets another shot to live his dream, and the Bruins add to their depth; a status quo move–no issues to be had here.

Bruins acquire Charlie Coyle for Ryan Donato and a 2019 conditional 5th-round pick

Grade: B

The first domino to fall for the Bruins, Coyle has already played a game for the Bruins while Johansson will play tomorrow. The 26-year-old always seemed to leave something to be desired in Minnesota, in spite of flashes he’s shown here and there.

The Boston University product has 10-18-28 totals this season in 61 games played and is on pace for 13 goals and 37 points. Like Johansson, Coyle brings versatility to the Bruins’ lineup as he can play anywhere in the middle-six at either wing or center, but in a different way as Coyle is a bigger, heavier player. The East Weymouth, MA native, had a decent outing in his Bruins debut, including this slick shootout goal:

Coyle has previously scored at least 15 goals twice, including one twenty-goal year, and has totaled at least 40 points twice, including one fifty-point season. So, he’s shown flashes of what he can do. The forward has a cap hit of $3.2-million through the end of next season, so he adds flexibility to the Bruins’ salary structure for next season as well.

In terms of what the Bruins surrendered, it sucks to see Donato go, honestly. The Harvard product is still a fine prospect with an elite, accurate shot. The 22-year-old isn’t necessarily the fastest skater, and is a one-dimensional player as of right now, though; however, the Bruins did not really do much to develop his weaknesses and defensive inefficiencies. Also, Donato was never really in a position to thrive with the Bruins as he was merely utilized on either the third or fourth lines and the power play, really.

As for the pick, it can become a fourth-rounder in 2019 (NYR) if the Bruins advance to the second round of the playoffs. I won’t lose sleep over giving up a fifth or fourth-round pick, but what is annoying is the condition put on it since the Bruins had a solid chance of winning a round in the first place.

Overall Trade Deadline Grade: B

While the Bruins did address there two most glaring issues this season, you can’t help but feel a little disappointed after the Bruins reportedly lost out on Gustav Nyquist and did not acquire a big fish, like Mark Stone, who they were reportedly very interested in. However, adding Coyle, Johansson, and Stempniak only adds to the depth of the team as Coyle and Johansson could be very impactful players for the Bruins with Stempniak as insurance.

All in all, not a bad Trade Deadline for Don Sweeney and the Bruins, but not a great one either–just solid. With the Bruins hitting their stride lately with a 13-game point streak, adding to this rolling team just makes it that much more formidable going forward, We’ll just have to wait and see how things pan out down the stretch and into the playoffs for this year’s Bruins team.

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Providence Bruins Sign Lee Stempniak to Professional Tryout

lee-stempniak

photo credit: Brian Babineau / NHL / Getty Images

By: Mandi Mahoney | Check me out on Twitter @phonymahoney

Providence Journal hockey writer and Rhode Island hockey expert Mark Divver announced today that the Providence Bruins signed forward Lee Stempniak to a professional tryout (PTO). Despite the fact that Stempniak has been practicing with the Bruins’ NHL squad since before the start of the season, this is an American Hockey League transaction only.

Stempniak, a National Hockey League journeyman, has played for ten different NHL clubs, which is tied for second-most in the league’s history. In a trade deadline deal on February 29, 2016, Stempniak was traded to the Bruins in exchange for a second and fourth-round draft pick. It was the third year in a row that Stempniak was dealt at the NHL’s trade deadline, as he was known to be a good addition to bring needed scoring punch to teams’ lineups. In his 19 regular season games for Boston, he scored three goals and assisted on seven, totaling ten points as a Bruin. Boston would go on to miss the playoffs that season, unfortunately, and despite a good showing in his 19 games, Stempniak would not be re-signed by General Manager Don Sweeney.

Stempniak signed with the Carolina Hurricanes in the summer of 2016 and scored 40 points in 2016-17 while playing all 82 games of the season. Last season, however, did not go so well for Stempniak, as he was plagued by injuries, missing 45 games. Ultimately, he scored three goals and notched six helpers for a total of nine points in 37 games for Carolina last year. Given the rough season he had, the 35-year-old wing was hard pressed to find any takers during free agency last summer, despite scoring 469 points in 909 career NHL games. Stempniak has called Boston home since graduating from Dartmouth in 2005.

This is a good move for Providence to gain some NHL and veteran experience for their lineup, however, it is an AHL tryout only, so Stempniak will not be taking an NHL roster spot with the Bruins unless he’s signed to a National Hockey League contract. Stempniak was invited to camp last year and had a good preseason with the Bruins, along with fellow bottom six forward Daniel Winnik. He was not signed, however, as the Bruins were stacked with a plethora of youngsters who would likely be filling out the bottom six for the Black and Gold. Obviously, it would not have been advantageous to the organization to dress a player of advancing age rather than continue to develop their youth.

Per Providence Head Coach Jay Leach, Stempniak will suit up for the P-Bruins at home tonight against the Toronto Marlies, and Sunday against the Springfield Thunderbirds, which will also be played at home, at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. One would think the Bruins are unlikely to sign Stempniak to an NHL contract since he’s been practicing with them for a half year at this point, but there is a distinct  possibility that the New York native could be looked toward for help in their bottom six, as the Bruins are in dire need of secondary scoring, and Don Sweeney has yet to make any trades this season. If Stempniak can capitalize on the opportunity and doesn’t look outmatched in the AHL, it would not be totally crazy for him to see NHL action again.

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Is There A Place In Boston For Winnik/Stempniak?

NHL: Ottawa Senators at Boston Bruins(Photo Credit: Bob DeChiara/USA Today Sports)

By: Garrett Haydon  |  Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

For years, the Boston Bruins had been a veteran-oriented team that had the occasional young player who stood out. Phil Kessel, Tyler Seguin, and Blake Wheeler are prime examples of this, but from the years 2009-14 the Bruins were mainly a team comprised of veteran players who had been through the battles of postseason hockey. The likes of Marco Sturm, Shawn Thornton, Miroslav Satan, and Dennis Seidenberg were key pieces of those veteran-laden squads. However, in 2018, times have changed dramatically.

This Bruins team is still comprised of a few key veteran players such as Patrice Bergeron and Brad Marchand, but the team has gotten significantly younger in recent years with the superb drafting job done by Don Sweeney. The future of this team has never looked brighter, and the youth was one of the biggest reasons for their success last season. So it was kind of a surprise when the Bruins announced they had offered tryout contracts to veteran wingers Daniel Winnik and Lee Stempniak.

Stempniak, of course, spent time during the 2015-16 season with Boston after being traded from the New Jersey Devils. The winger had just 10 points in 19 games and was unable to help the Bruins to the playoffs. Stempniak has performed very well this preseason including a goal the other night against the Red Wings. It’s clear he still has that shooting ability and has the ability to be a strong locker room presence. Stempniak is also very familiar with Boston as he has lived here for the last few summers. He’s also skated with Bruins players in the past so bringing him up to the varsity club at least to start the year might make sense.

The biggest issue with bringing in the 35-year-old would be him potentially hindering the development of younger players trying to make the roster and get ice time. Stempniak’s performance has proved he can still play in this league but maybe not necessarily in Boston. Undoubtedly he would be nothing more than an extra forward so keeping him around might not be the best idea. With the Bruins’ recent success with young players and the young guys battling for roster spots who can put the puck in the net, I would be surprised if Stempniak got a roster spot.

As for Winnik, the 33-year-old former UNH Wildcat, he’s bounced around the league much like Stempniak. He played last season with the Minnesota Wild, totaling 23 points in 81 games. Winnik has played with eight teams during his career, and he’s survived the first few rounds of cuts so his chances of making it nine total teams in his career are good, at least for now.

Unlike Stempniak, Winnik has never been known as a scorer. He’s almost exclusively played on the fourth line his entire career. One of the best parts of his game is the fact he very rarely gets injured. Over the last three seasons, Winnik has only missed a total of 17 games. Winnik plays the game with an edge and has always been a high-energy player. It remains to be seen where he’d fit in Boston because of the glut of young players looking to get ice time. With Winnik being a fourth-liner, he wouldn’t be exactly stealing ice time from anyone because a player such as Anders Bjork or Peter Cehlarik would be well-utilized on that line.

Despite Winnik’s age, I do think he’d be a very solid fourth-liner, and personally, I would like to see him play with Sean Kuraly and Noel Acciari to create a line of effective, hard-working players. The good thing is, the Bruins do have many other options, so there’s not necessarily a need for a player like Winnik, but I don’t think it would be a bad thing if the Bruins brought him on.

I think the chances of making the Bruins roster are greater for Winnik because of the type of game he plays. I think the reality of bringing in Stempniak is not very strong considering the younger options the B’s have. But I do believe both of these players could be useful as both still have plenty left. Stempniak would be joining a team with tons more offensive talent than the team he played with 3 years ago. Winnik would be joining his ninth team in his career and could be a very effective fourth-liner. I don’t believe either player makes the Bruins’ final roster, but it is interesting that they’ve lasted this long through multiple rounds of roster cuts.