No Brainer For Next Providence Bruins Team Captain

( Photo Credit: @NHLBruins / BostonBruins.com )

By: Mark Allred  |  Follow Me On Twitter @BlackAndGold277

With the American Hockey Leagues Providence Bruins season over with the first-round Calder Cup Playoff elimination to the hands of the AHL’s best Charlotte Checkers, next seasons team will obviously see some new additions, but roles could also change when talking about leadership. Current Captain Jordan Szwarz who just finished his third season with the Providence club and posted 66-82-148 numbers in 185 games in that timeframe is on an expiring contract, and future playing in the Ocean State is uncertain.

The 27-year-old Szwarz who joined the Providence team as a free agent signing before the 2016-17 campaign immediately took on a leadership role with his arrival wearing the assistant captain label for his first two-years ultimately being named to the highest honor of captain for the length of last season.  So with the potential departure of Szwarz who’s played a significant middle depth role with the Bruins organization in emergency situations seeing 12 games in Boston earning three points, who could step into that role and lead the 2019-20 Providence Bruins?

His Name Is Weymouth, Massachusetts Native Paul Carey

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Carey, a 30-year-old versatile forward came to Providence on January 11th, 2019, when he was traded to the NHL Bruins from the Ottawa Senators straight up for defenseman Cody Goloubef. This was Carey’s second tour of duty with the AHL Bruins as he played 17 games after being traded from the Colorado Avalanche to Boston on March 2nd, 2015. In those 17 games, Paul posted seven points but the second trade that landed him in Rhode Island this year had him on the better part of the score sheet and made an immediate impact upon his arrival.

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While in Ontario, Canada with the Ottawa Senators organization, Carey’s numbers were different as he seemed heavy on the “pass first” motto with 5-22-27 numbers in 29 games with the AHL’s Belleville Senators but with his addition to the Providence lineup and solid 30 games going the opposite from his days in Belleville posting 22-11-33 numbers to end the regular 2018-19 season. His first ten games with Providence was certainly a “system shock” and a time of adjustment posting 5-4-9 numbers but his last 20 games were honestly a pleasure to watch going 17-7-24 to end the year.

Here’s Why Paul Carey Is My Pick For The Next Providence Captian

Carey’s stats as a journeyman AHL’er are 106-136-242 in 346 career games so at his age the trend is to decline on the stat sheet and overall game, but in Paul’s situation as a player in his 30’s, the anomaly of him getting better especially with his point production is astonishing to me. Another thing that caught my attention has been the powerful words of the developing depth talking about leadership in Providence and members of that team who’ve gone out of their way to be a solid pro and lend advice to players about to cross the threshold of professional hockey careers at the highest level.

A perfect example was in an April 3rd, 2019, article by Boston Bruins reporter Eric Russo when he interviewed first-time recall Zach Senyshyn who had these positive things to say about the leadership core in Providence with mentions to veteran forwards Carey, Szwarz, and Lee Stempniak as seen below from Eric’s article quote below.

“I’m still a young kid and really learning from the older guys,” said Senyshyn, who posted back-to-back 40-plus goal campaigns with the Soo Greyhounds in his final two seasons with the club. “Having guys like Lee Stempniak and Paul Carey and Jordan Szwarz, learning from those guys, has really helped me take my game to the next level. A lot of that has to do with them.”

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As a Boston Bruins fan and one that follows the lower developmental depths of this NHL organization, naming Carey as the next captain of the Providence Bruins is a no brainer for me. Remains to be seen if Szwarz is brought back and the recent two-year, two-way contract agreement between the B’s and Carey just lines up this tremendous honor for me and believe if he’s not in the mix of the NHL Bruins lineup next season after training camp he’d be a solid pro and will do what it takes to continue to be a mentor in Providence.

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Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 27 Preview

ProvVSpring

( Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 27 of the AHL season is upon, and with it brings the final three games of the regular season. The Providence Bruins skate into it 37-25-8-3 (85 points) and 5-3-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is could for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference. With just three games remaining in the regular season the baby B’s magic number to clinch the playoffs is just one. This means, clinching the spot is just a formality at this point, and if the standings stay the same it looks like the Bruins would take on the Atlantic Division-leading Charlotte Checkers in the first round. However, before the excitement of the first round is here, we must finish the final three games this weekend.

The hockey action kicks off on Friday, April 12, 2019, when the Lehigh Valley Phantoms invade Providence, Rhode Island to take on the Bruins at the Dunkin Donuts Center. The exciting hockey action continues Saturday, April 13, 2019, as the Providence Bruins head on the road to take on a familiar foe the Springfield Thunderbirds at the MassMutual Center in Springfield. Massachusetts. Finally, the regular season wraps up on Sunday, April 14, 2019, when the Springfield Thunderbirds fly into town to take on the baby B’s at the Dunk. It should be an exciting end to the 2018-19 AHL regular season!

Friday, April 12, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Lehigh Valley Phantoms (HOME)

The Friday match-up marks the sixth 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 most recent match-up saw the baby B’s win 5-3 getting goals from Lee Stempniak (2), Zach Senyshyn, Peter Cehlarik, and Gemel Smith. In net, Dan Vladar played well stopping 19 of the 22 shots that were sent his way.

The Lehigh Valley Phantoms skate into the game 37-30-4-3 (81 points) and 6-3-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fifth in the Atlantic Division and ninth 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 10-12-2-1 against the Flyers’ affiliate including 5-5-1-1 at home. 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 29-4-2-2 when leading after the second period, and the Phantoms are 26-1 when leading after two.

Special teams will also play a major key in who wins this game. The Flyers’ affiliate boasts the third-best penalty kill in the Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference at 85.3%. Meanwhile, the baby B’s power play is ranked sixth in the Atlantic Division and 12th in the Eastern Conference at 17.4% On the flip-side the Bruins have the second-best penalty kill in Atlantic Division and the Eastern Conference at 85.7% and the Phantoms have the third-best power play in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference at 19.0%. 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, April 13, 2019 (AWAY), and Sunday, April 14, 2019 (HOME), Providence vs. Springfield Thunderbirds

The weekend home and home marks the 13th, and the 14th time 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 ninth meeting 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 10th battle between the Providence Bruins and the Springfield Thunderbirds saw the baby B’s fall 4-2 getting goals from Paul Carey and Emil Johansson. Goalie Dan Vladar turned away 28 of the 31 shots that were fired his way. The 11th chapter of the long season series saw the Bruins come out on top 5-2 getting goals from Paul Carey (2), Urho Vaakanainen (2), and Connor Clifton. Goalie Zane McIntyre stopped 27 out of the 29 shots that came his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins fall 3-1 getting their one goal from Urho Vaakanainen. In net, Zane McIntyre was good turning away 20 of the 23 shots fired his way.

The Springfield Thunderbirds come into the weekend home and home series 31-28-9-5 (76 points) and 5-3-2 in their last 10 games. This is good for seventh in the Atlantic Division and 12th 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 22-13-3. 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 234 goals in the 73 games they’ve played this season which is 3.20 goals a game their problem is they’ve given up 233 goals in that time frame as well which is 3.19 per game and a goal differential of just one.

Providence’s defense, on the other hand, is quite good giving up only 199 goals in their 73 games which is only 2.72 goals a game. Their offense is no slouch either scoring 219 goals in 73 games which is 3.00 goals a game and a goal differential of 20. 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 24-1-2 when leading after two periods and 1-25-1-2 when down after two periods. Meanwhile, the Baby B’s are 29-4-2-2 when leading after two and 4-20-3 when trailing after the second period. It should be an exciting game that you do not want to miss.

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

Hot

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has made his way into the hot category once again. It seems like he’s here every other week, but that’s just a testament to how well he’s been playing for Providence since being traded from Ottawa in early January. In 29 games with the baby B’s, the former Boston College Eagle has netted 21 goals while tallying 11 assists for 32 total points. That’s a point per game total of 1.10. That includes netting five goals and dishing out four assists for nine total points in his last five games. The two-time NCAA champion was so good this week he was named the CCM/AHL player of the week. Hopefully, the scoring continues as the playoffs come to a beginning.

Cooper ZechCooper Zech is new to the weekly hot or not list. Signing his first contract the second week of March, the young defenseman came to Providence by way of Ferris State. While a freshman at Ferris State, he led the team in scoring netting eight goals and dishing out 20 assists for 28 total points in 36 games. That’s a point per game clip of 0.78. In 10 games since coming to Providence, the 20-year old has not found the back of the net but has dished out four assists while playing great defense. This includes the nice little three-game point streak that he is currently on. Let’s hope he can continue his play through the end of the season and the playoffs.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: At one point during the season, Ryan Fitzgerald was the Providence Bruins’ best forward. You could have made the case that he deserved to be called up to Boston to get a shot with the big club. However, injuries hampered the former Boston College Eagle’s season. In his past nine games, the young forward has netted one goal while also dishing out one assist for two total points. Despite this, the season hasn’t been all bad. In 58 games, the 24-year old has netted nine goals and dished out 26 assists for 35 total points. Hopefully, the gritty forward can pick up his play as we head towards the playoffs.

Mark McNeill: Mark McNeill has been on a bit of a cold streak. The gritty forward started out by having a very good year, but since has dropped off a bit. The WHL product in 54 games, has netted eight goals and dished out 17 assists for 25 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.46. Despite this, in his last 22 games, the veteran has netted one goal and dished out two assists for three total points. This means, before the cold streak he had netted seven goals and dished out 15 assists for 22 points in 32 games. The Providence Bruins are hoping he can find the scoring touch again as we come to the end of the season.

My players to watch this weekend

Up Front

Gemel Smith: Gemel Smith has been excellent since being traded to Boston from Dallas in December. In 44 games with the Providence Bruins, the young forward has netted 15 goals and dished out 21 assists for 36 total points. That’s a point per game total of 0.81. As good as the OHL product has been overall, he’s been exceptionally good against Lehigh Valley and Springfield this season. In 13 games against the two hockey clubs this season, Smith has netted six goals and dished out seven assists for 13 total points. This means that 36% of his total points have come against these two teams. Hopefully, the winger can continue that hot play this weekend.

On the Blue Line

Urho VaakanainenDespite missing time because of injuries and the World Junior Championships, Urho Vaakanainen has had an excellent first professional season with the Providence Bruins. In 29 games with the Baby B’s the young defenseman has netted four goals while dishing out 10 assists for 14 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.48. This is much higher than his Finnish Liiga days of 0.21 (7-16-23 in 109 games). To top it off, the rookie has played very well against Springfield. In eight games against the Thunderbirds, he has netted three goals while dishing out five assists for eight total points. This means 57% of his points have come against the Panthers’ affiliate. Hopefully, the young defenseman can carry that play into this weekend.

In Net

Zane McIntyre: Zane McIntyre is another guy that has had an interesting season. On the year, the veteran netminder is 25-12-7 with a goals against average of 2.48, and a save percentage of .901. 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 20 of his 25 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 four points. With 3 games remaining the team’s magic number is 1. 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 just needs to at the very least let one of the next three games go to overtime, and they will make the playoffs.

Now, hopefully, they can win a few of these last three games and gain some momentum going into the post-season. Unless the Bruins move up in the standings, it looks their first-round match-up will be against the Division and Conference-leading Charlotte Checkers, a team that the boys in black and gold went 4-3-1 against this season. 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 final three games of the season and Go, B’s, Go!

Interested in going to any Boston Bruins 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games or the last regular season contests for the Providence Bruins? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from SeatGiant. Click the links below and use discount code BNGP to save a little cash!

—–> Click Here To Get Your Boston Bruins First Round Stanley Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—-

—> Click Here To Get Your Providence Bruins Regular Season & Calder Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Weekend Recap

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Sam Fryman  |  Follow Me On Twitter @sfryman20

 

There’s an old saying regarding April showers and what they may bring. For the Providence Bruins, that has meant two things to begin the month. Many goals and many games consecutively to make the team work harder than they ever have before. The first two games of the weekend came against the Bridgeport Sound Tigers in a home and away series, giving the Bruins a chance to decrease their magic number to nearly zero.

Friday, April 5, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Home)

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

First Period:

The game started as quickly as one could imagine with Bridgeport’s Grant Hutton getting his first goal of the season just over a minute into the game. The goal came on the power play with Providence’s Jeremy Lauzon getting called for hooking at the 49-second mark. Just one minute later the Bruins would answer back with the gritty play of Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson. JFK made a great play behind the cage of Jeremy Smith that managed to get across the line. The tally also kept his scoring streak intact.

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Another player looking to extend a streak was Paul Carey, and he would get the chance to do so at the 9:40 mark thanks to another Bruins’ power play. The alternate captain sent a great pass from circle to circle where Gemel Smith was waiting to put a one-timer in the back of the net. Thanks to the Sound Tigers second hooking call in as many minutes, the Bruins increased their lead to two with a goal from Ryan Fitzgerald. For Fitzgerald, it was a quick shot from the high slot, given plenty of help from his teammates on the second power-play unit. While Bridgeport would get one back late, the Bruins ended the period outshooting their opponents by a two to one margin.

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Score: 3-2 Bruins

Second Period:

In the second period, the Bruins would prove that when it rains, it pours. At the 3:37 mark, they would start an offensive barrage that would see them score three goals in just under two minutes of playing time. Mark McNeil, Paul Carey, and rookie Bruin Victor Berglund scored in that order. All three exhibited some fantastic dangles on their goals. As they did in the first period; however, the Sound Tigers would battle back and cut the lead back down to two. Otto Koivula and highly touted prospect Josh Ho-Sang were responsible for the Bridgeport tallies.

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Score: 6-4 Bruins

Third Period:

Entering the third, special teams had worked very well in favor of Providence, and they would get another opportunity to prove themselves. With Bridgeport defender Kyle Burroughs in the box for holding, Bruins captain Jordan Szwarz netted his 22nd goal of the season, deflecting a slap shot from Paul Carey. The score left the Bruins three for four with the man advantage, one of their best special teams showings this season. Carey would cap off a four-point night with an empty netter to seal the game after Bridgeport had gotten the Providence lead down to one. The final score marked the most goals the Bruins have scored in a game this season.

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Final: 8-6 Bruins

Saturday, April 6, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Bridgeport Sound Tigers (Away)

( Photo Credit: Gregory Vasil/Getty Images )

First Period:

Coming into the second game of the weekend, Bridgeport certainly wanted to put Friday’s game behind them. The Bruins had the opportunity to decrease their magic number to six, but it was the Sound Tigers who came out with the fire early. Ryan Bourque tipped in a shot to give the home squad a 1-0 lead just 3:29 into the game. After Jakub Zboril was sent to the box for tripping, Oliver Wahlstrom doubled the lead for Bridgeport, and the Bruins were in a hole before the halfway mark of the first period.

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Late in the first frame, the hottest Bruin of the last few games would continue to be hotter than an inferno. Paul Carey was able to walk in and net his 24th goal of the season to cut the lead in half with just about four minutes left in the period. With 42 seconds left in the period, Carey did it again to leave the game tied as the first frame came to a close. Jordan Szwarz picked up an assist on Carey’s second of the night.

Score: 2-2

Second Period:

The second period turned out to be fairly even between the two teams until late. Right after the penalty kill had come up large for the Bruins, Ryan Bourque was able to net his second of the night to give Bridgeport their second lead of the night. Although Dan Vladar continues to come up big, Providence couldn’t capitalize on their man advantage chances, and they ended the second period behind.

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Score: 3-2 Sound Tigers

Third Period:

In the final twenty minutes, Bridgeport was able to get a big insurance goal as Travis St. Denis was able to put a rebound past Vladar to make the lead 4-2. Despite JFK adding a critical tally late, it wouldn’t be enough for the Bruins to overcome and the magic number would stay stagnant going into the final matchup of the weekend against the Utica Comets. After the final whistle, the tempers would get the best of the Bruins as Mark McNeil would get a fighting major as well as a game misconduct for throwing punches after the game was declared official. Providence would also get some needed reinforcements back as Boston announced that Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, Jeremy Lauzon, and Zach Senyshyn would return to the AHL.

Final: 4-3 Sound Tigers

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

( Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins/Flickr )

First Period:

Zane McIntyre was back in net for the Bruins as a revamped squad was ready to take on Utica and get their magic number down to one with only a few games remaining in the regular season. All four of the Bruins latest additions from Boston were in the starting five and came out with a solid burst of offense. Just like Saturday’s contest, however, the opponents would get on the board first with Vincent Arseneau netting his 8th goal of the season for the Comets. Providence would get two late power-play opportunities but wouldn’t get the game tied as the first twenty minutes came to a close. The shot total was in favor of the Comets 10-8.

Score: 1-0 Comets

Second Period:

Late in the second frame, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson made it three consecutive games with a goal as he tied the game with a fantastic wrist shot from the near side circle. Zech and Cehlarik picked up the assists at the 16:42 mark. The tally also gave the Bruins a power play tally in each one of their games during the weekend. Utica goalie Ivan Kulbakov remained strong for the rest of the period to keep the game and the shot total even.

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Score: 1-1

Third Period:

In the third period, the Bruins would make it a game in their favor with two more players that had provided offense all weekend long. Paul Carey gave Providence the lead right off of the draw with his 26th tally of the season to give the Bruins a one-goal lead. Anton Blidh then finished off the game with an empty net goal, and the Bruins magic number was moved down to just one. Jordan Szwarz picked up the assists on both third-period goals to give him yet another multi-point game. It was certainly a weekend to remember for Providence, and with a magic number as low as it can possibly be they will play another three in three to close out the regular season.

Final: 3-1 Bruins

Interested in going to any Boston Bruins 2019 Stanley Cup Playoff games or the last regular season contests for the Providence Bruins? Take a look at the upcoming schedule and ticket availability from SeatGiant. Click the links below and use discount code BNGP to save a little cash!

—–> Click Here To Get Your Boston Bruins First Round Stanley Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—-

—> Click Here To Get Your Providence Bruins Regular Season & Calder Cup Playoff Tickets From The Great Folks at SeatGiant! <—

Bruins AHL Affiliate: Providence Bruins Week 25 Preview

providencebruins

Photo Courtesy of Providence Bruins / Flickr

By: Tim Richardson | Follow Me On Twitter @TimARichardson

Week 25 of the AHL season is here, and the Providence Bruins skate into it 34-23-8-3 (79 points) and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games this is good for third in the Atlantic Division and sixth in the Eastern Conference. With just eight games left in the regular season, the baby B’s are making their final push towards the playoffs. Right now, our boys in black and gold sit firmly in the middle of the playoff picture. They’ve played well recently, and we hope they can finish strong the last few weeks of the season. This weekend won’t be an easy one with both games coming on the road against strong opponents, but we will get an idea of what this team may be able to do come playoff time.

The weekend kicks off on Friday, March 29, 2019, when the Providence Bruins skate into Syracuse, New York to take on the home team Syracuse Crunch at The Oncenter War Memorial Arena. The weekend then continues Saturday, March 30, 2019, when the baby B’s invade the Giant Center in Hershey, Pennsylvania to take on the home team Hershey Bears. Both games will serve as a test for the Providence hockey club, with both of their opponents sitting in playoff spots. It’s going to be an exciting weekend of hockey that you would kick yourself for missing.

Friday, March 29, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Syracuse Crunch (AWAY)

The Friday night contest marks the second time these two teams have played each other this season. The first meeting saw the Providence Bruins blank the Crunch 4-0 getting goals from Cameron Hughes, Karson Kuhlman (2), and the now departed Ryan Donato. Goalie Zane McIntyre was superb in net turning away all 27 shots fired his way. The Crunch come into the game 42-19-4-3 (91 points) and 6-2-1-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for first in the North Division and second in the Eastern Conference. They are also one of two teams to already secure a playoff spot.

Over the past five seasons, the two teams have not played each other much because they are in different divisions, but the Bruins have a record of 2-3 against the Crunch in that time frame. Something to keep an eye too, the Crunch are 24-6-1-2 at home. With the Providence club being 12-15-4-2 on the road it’ll be a tough task. The Syracuse Crunch score a lot of goals. It is going to take a total team effort defensively to keep them off the score-sheet, and team defense is going to be a major key for the Bruins if they want to win. In 68 games the Tampa Bay affiliate has scored 235 goals. This is good for the most in not only the Eastern Conference but the entire AHL. That’s an eye-popping 3.45 goals a game.

Luckily, for the Baby B’s they boast one of the best defenses in the Eastern Conference giving up 184 goals in 68 games played which is 2.70 goals a game. Another reason why I said it would take team defense to beat the Crunch is that you can’t stop just one guy or even one line from scoring and be okay. They have nine players with a point per game total of at least 0.60 and six of those players have at least 40 points on the year. It should be an exciting game from Syracuse, New York.

Saturday, March 30, 2019, Providence Bruins vs. Hershey Bears (AWAY)

The Saturday games will mark the sixth time that Providence has played Hershey this season. In the first meeting between the two clubs, the Baby B’s beat the Washington Capitals’ affiliate 6-2 with the Bruins getting goals from Jordan Szwarz (2), Cameron Hughes, Anton Blidh, Kyle Cumiskey, and Tanner Pond while goalie Zane McIntyre looked great in net stopping 19 of 21 shots he faced. The second meeting saw the Providence club win 4-1 getting goals from the now departed Cody Goloubef (2), Karson Kuhlman, and Mark McNeill. Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent in net turning away 23 of the 24 shots that were fired his way.

The third battle saw the Bruins fall 2-1 getting their lone goal from Karson Kuhlman. Goalie Zane McIntyre was still great in net stopping 17 of the 19 shots that were sent his way. The fourth match-up between the two clubs saw the Bruins win 3-2 in a shootout getting goals from Jordan Szwarz, Paul Carey, and Anton Blidh (SO). Goalie Zane McIntyre was excellent in net stopping 28 of the 30 shots fired his way. The most recent battle saw the Bruins win 4-3 in overtime getting goals from Trent Frederic, Urho Vaakanainen, and Paul Carey (2). Goalie Dan Vladar was able to earn the win stopping 19 of the 22 shots that were sent his way.

The Hershey Bears skate into the weekend 36-24-3-4 (79 points) and 4-3-2-1 in their last 10 games. This is good for fourth in the Atlantic Division and seventh in the Eastern Conference.  Over the past five seasons, Providence is 15-7-2-1 against Hershey going 5-5-2 at the Giant Center in that time frame. Despite the record in Hershey, this should be a good match-up for our boys in black and gold based on how they’ve played the Capitals’ affiliate overall not only this season but over the past five seasons. With both teams being neck and neck with each other, this game is going to be very important to the playoff seeding.

The first key is who is leading after the first and second periods. Hershey is 19-3-0-3 when they are ahead after the first period of action. They are also 25-1-1-2 when leading after two. Meanwhile, when down after one their records dips to 5-12-1-1 and when trailing after the second it falls even further to 5-21-1-1. On the other side, the Providence Bruins are 16-6-3-1 when ahead after the first period and 27-3-2-2 when they are leading after two. When trailing after one, their record dips to 7-15-2 and when down after two periods it dips even further to 4-19-3. Getting a lead early and holding onto it will be a major key into winning both games.

The other major key to the game will be team defense. The Providence Bruins have one of the best defenses in the entire Eastern Conference ranked third in goals against with 184 in their 68 games played. This means they are giving up 2.70 goals a game. On the other side of things, the Hershey Bears are ranked seventh in the Eastern Conference in goals against with 199 in their 67 games played. This is 2.97 goals given up per game. The big difference is that despite their record, the Capitals’ affiliate has a goal differential of –15. This means they’ve given up 15 more goals than they’ve scored on the season. To give you an idea of just how bad that is the baby B’s differential is +17. A combination of the Bruins’ stingy defense and the Bears’ mediocre offense bodes well for our boys in black and gold this weekend.

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

Hot

Jordan SzwarzThe Bruins Captain has been very good for the team this season. In 60 games for the Providence hockey club, the veteran forward has found the back of the net 21 times while dishing out 17 assists for 38 total points. This is a point per game total of 0.63. Recently, in the game against the Belleville Senators on March 22, 2019, the OHL product scored his 20th goal of the season. This made Szwarz the fifth player in Providence Bruins history to record 20+ goals in a season for three separate seasons. On top of that, the Captain has recorded a point in seven of his last 10 games finding the back of the net three times while also dishing out six assists for nine total points. Congratulations to Szwarz on the accomplishment and let’s hope he keeps it rolling this weekend.

Trent Frederic: Trent Frederic has had a pretty good year for Providence. While he has proven to be a streaky player, he’s also had a few different call-ups to Boston playing in 13 games for the big club. In 48 games with the Baby B’s the former University of Wisconsin Badger has netted 11 goals while also dishing out 11 assists for 22 total points. That’s a point per game total of 0.46. That includes registering a point in four of the past six games the young forward has played in for Providence. Netting one goal and dishing three assists for four points in that time frame. Frederic is one of the better prospects the Boston Bruins have so it’s nice seeing the center find his scoring touch at the end of his first full professional season.

Not

Ryan Fitzgerald: Ryan Fitzgerald has had an up and down season for Providence. The former Boston College Eagle started out the year on fire. He was leading the team in scoring, and really showing off his playmaking ability. Then, unfortunately, injuries derailed the once excellent season. On the year the winger has netted eight goals while dishing out 25 assists for 33 total points in 53 games played. That’s a point per game total of 0.62. Over his past 11 games, the young forward has netted one goal and dished out three assists for four points. With the playoffs around the hope is that Fitzgerald can find his scoring touch again and help lead the team to a championship.

Anton BlidhAnton Blidh has proven to be a streaky player since coming over from Sweden where he was playing for Frolunda HC of the Swedish Hockey League. On the year, the winger has found the back of the net eight times while dishing out 12 assists for 20 total points in 67 games played. This is a point per game total of 0.29. On top of that, the young forward has not scored a goal since February 15, 2019, and in the 17 games since then has dished out two assists for two total points. Despite being on a cold streak as cold as the ice he skates on, the baby B’s hope he can pick up some scoring in the last few weeks of the regular season. If Blidh can get on a hot streak going into the playoffs, it could go a long way for our boys in black and gold.

My players to watch this weekend for the Bruins

Up Front

Paul Carey: Paul Carey has been excellent since being traded to the Bruins from the Senators this year. In 24 games with Providence, the former Boston College Eagle has netted 16 goals while also dishing out seven assists for 23 total points. Playing at a point per game pace of 0.95 has really helped the Providence offense out a great deal. The two-time NCAA champion has also played well against Hershey this season. In two games against the Bears this season, he has netted three goals while also dishing out one assist for four total points. The veteran forward has been so good for the Baby B’s that he signed a contract extension for two-years. Look for him to have a big weekend.

On the Blue Line

Victor Berglund: Victor Berglund is a name you might not recognize. That’s because he has not played a game with Providence this season. The young defenseman has been playing in Sweden for MODO Hockey of the Allsvenskan league, which is Sweden’s second-tier league. While playing there this season, the 19-year old in 50 games netted four goals and dished out nine assists for 13 total points. Recently, he signed his professional contract to play for Providence. He has joined the team, and we may see him make his debut for the baby B’s this weekend. All indications are that he is someone to be excited about because of his skating and shooting ability. Keep an eye out for him.

In Net

Dan VladarDan Vladar has had an up and down season for the Providence Bruins. On the year, he is 11-12-4 with a goals against average of 2.70 and a save percentage of .901. The good news is that seven of the 11 wins the young netminder has on the season have come on the road. With both games over the weekend coming away from the Dunk, this may be a weekend that we see Vladar shine.

The Providence Bruins are currently sitting firmly in a playoff spot. With 8 games remaining the team’s magic number is 14. 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 baby B’s are sitting in a good position right now and can hopefully make that magic number dwindle down this weekend. 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 Sign Paul Carey To Two Year Extension

paul_carey_bruinsPhoto Courtesy Of NBC Sports

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

Bruins General Manager Don Sweeney announced this afternoon that the team has signed forward Paul Carey to a two year, two way extension through the 2020-21 NHL season with an annual cap hit of $700,000.

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Carey has skated in a pair of games for the Bruins this season and has skated in 23 games for Providence since being acquired from Ottawa on January 11th in exchange for defenseman Cody Goloubef. Carey has posted 16 goals and seven assists for Providence since the trade. Carey skated in five games for the Senators this season prior to the trade and had appeared in 29 games for AHL affiliate Belleville where he posted five goals and 22 assists for 27 points.

Carey has played for four teams prior the Bruins in his NHL career, Ottawa, New York Rangers, Washington and Colorado. He has appeared in 99 games, posting eight goals and eight assists for 16 points. The Boston native has also skated in four playoff games in his career. He was originally drafted by the Colorado Avalanche in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry Draft. Carey has looked pretty good in his short time in Boston and should be a valuable depth piece for the near future.

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What Do The Bruins Gain With Carey/Frederic Over Cehlarik?

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Photo Credit: Winslow Townson/USA TODAY Sports

By: Cam McCusker | Follow Me On Twitter: @CSthinks

I will not sit here and pretend to be some kind of savant who has superior knowledge over NHL GMs when it comes to the business side of hockey. The extent of my knowledge on the business side of an NHL team could be summed up by the phrase, “pay the better guys more money.”

With that out of the way, my focus shifts to the prolonged influx of Providence Bruins that have been gracing the lineup of their older brother (or sister) team over the course of this season. Names like Vaakanainen, Clifton, Frederic, Lauzon, Kuhlman, Forsbacka-Karlsson, Zboril, Bjork, Smith, Stempniak, and now Carey, have all found shelter from the AHL storm for at least a few nights this season. Some have shown more promise than others. Some have demonstrated that they are not yet ready for the NHL. Some showed the raw talent that has yet to be harnessed into an effective system within the confines of a team.

And almost all of them have demonstrated that their names are difficult to pronounce. Kudos to Gemel Smith, Connor Clifton, and Paul Carey for making it easy on me.

Importance

With the Bruins settled fairly squarely in a playoff spot barring any sort of colossal blunder to finish the season, the quest for home ice is one that cannot, in my opinion, be under-emphasized. Currently, the Bruins are the meat in the Tampa/Toronto sandwich (there are so many better ways to say that, but I’m very hungry). This group of three teams (TB, BOS, TOR) currently sits as three of the top five teams in the entire league.

With the notion that Toronto will almost certainly be the first-round matchup for the Black and Gold, a rational hockey observer will take note of how things have changed since last season’s matchup with the Leafs. Matthews and Marner are both having career years, and John Tavares has brought even more offensive punch to the lineup. With Morgan Reilly gaining another year’s experience, Toronto is a better team than they were last year. This makes home ice all the more important for the Bruins to secure.

This doesn’t happen without a strong finish—something that will require a lineup that is most conducive to effective and sustained play. As things look now, the influx of players from Providence– most recently Trent Frederic and Paul Carey (along with Connor Clifton)– constantly joining then leaving the Bruins does not seem most conducive to success down the stretch for the team.

 

Win Now.

The Bruins have a team that is good enough to pursue a “win now” approach. While many might rightfully slot Tampa as a stronger team entering the playoffs, it is well within the realm of possibilities that Boston squeaks out a win in a seven-game series against the Bolts. I mean, this is sports. Don’t be ignorant.

For a team that needs to place significant importance on maintained success heading into the postseason, their lineup is changing far too much. Spotty, three-game stints for more than half a dozen AHL-ers might be something that is more fathomable when the playoffs and home ice is so close within reach. If the Bruins were out of playoff contention, then, by all means, I might say “go nuts” and maybe even support a scenario where the P-Bruins and the big club even switch jerseys and have a fun little time! But that’s not the case. Also sounds like a decent idea for a screenplay. So I’ve got that going for me. Which is nice.

Consistency.

Anyone who has played hockey at a high level understands that chemistry, consistency, and familiarity with those around you are all conducive to enhanced on-ice performance. With the exception of Karson Kuhlman and Cehlarik, no call-up from Providence has been able to quickly gel with the line-mates with whom they are placed. This speaks volumes about the versatility of each of these two.

The events of the past few days have defied logic in the sense that the Bruins are now relying on players unfamiliar with the Bruins personnel and style of play to join the squad and move things forward. Chemistry is fostered through players being given sufficient time to learn one another’s play styles. Sure, it would be awesome if everyone knew one another’s tendencies on the ice after just shaking hands. But to my knowledge, we don’t have the technology to make that happen yet. And thus, that is not how things work.

Peter Cehlarik got sent down to Providence after Bruce Cassidy made him put on his seatbelt, securing him to the bench, for the third time in less than two weeks. Cehlarik was afforded a bafflingly short leash, and by all accounts actually played a strong style of hockey when he was allowed to be on the ice. He found early chemistry with David Krejci, and more recently proved to be a compatible linemate for newcomer Charlie Coyle amidst an absolute jumble of forwards thanks to injuries. Coyle and Cehlarik strung together shifts that consisted of sustained possessions, offensive zone time, and that resulted in offensive zone face-offs. While not a whole lot of scoring resulted from the play of these two, it’s difficult to produce when you are secured to the bench.

While the handling of Cehlarik is a touch bothersome, it has been clear that of the AHL call-ups this season, he has been far and away the most effective. Which makes it even more frustrating that he has been sent to Providence in favor of Paul Carey and Trent Frederic. Frederic had around 10 games with the Bruins earlier in the season. He showed toughness, strong skating, and a good compete level. But what shone through even more than these things was that he was both raw, and not ready to join Bruins regularly.

Carey is new to the Bruins organization, and has shown consistent production and reliability at the AHL level. However, he has seen time in just five NHL games this season, amassing zero points with zero goals, and zero assists. There is a lot more to hockey than point production. But Cehlarik has proven that he brings more than scoring, so the decision to go with an untested call-up inserted into the lineup when consistency and chemistry are at a premium is a real kick in the shin.

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Photo Credit: David Zalubowski/ AP

Moving forward.

I hope I’m wrong about the drawbacks of the recent activity between Providence and Boston. If I’m wrong, then we win.

Here’ the thing, though: I don’t think I’m wrong. I will be absolutely shocked if suddenly Trent Frederic and Paul Carey outshine Peter Cehlarik’s 200-foot game in their time with the Bruins.

If I’m right, then not only will the Bruins suffer, but they will have thrust more young prospects (Carey is not all that young) into the fire before they were ready. Confidence is a real thing that coaches and GM’s should be expected to manage, and if these prospects are treated with the same zero-tolerance policy that Cehlarik was, then we might see a tucking of tails among them.

In any case, it’s unreasonable to expect a player to find their groove in their first game or two. Unless that player is Dean Youngblood.

But even he was given a short leash by his coach.

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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 Assign Peter Cehlarik To Providence

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(Photo Credit: Steve Babineau / Getty Images)

By: Patrick Donnelly | Follow me on Twitter @PatDonn12

Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy announced this afternoon that forward Peter Cehlarik has been assigned to Providence, in addition to several other updates, including Connor Clifton and Paul Carey being recalled. The 23-year-old has split time between the big club in Boston and the Providence Bruins this season, having suited up in 20 games for Boston and 39 for Providence.

During his time with the Bruins this season, Cehlarik has 4/2/6 totals to go along with a plus-3 rating and six penalty minutes; with Boston’s AHL club, the Czech has totaled 10 goals and 19 assists for 29 points in addition to a minus-1 rating and eight penalty minutes. In 37 career games played in the NHL, the 6-foot-2, 202-pound winger has amassed 5/5/10 numbers on top of a plus-5 rating and eight penalty minutes.

“The time for him [Cehlarik] to get better is in Providence,” Cassidy said of the team’s decision to re-assign the winger. Cassidy also mentioned that, ideally, Cehlarik would stay and practice with the team; however, the way the schedule looks for the near future, the team felt the best option would be to send him down.

A third-round pick in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft (90th-overall), Cehlarik returns to a P-Bruins lineup that sits fourth in the Atlantic Division–two points off sole possession of third place–and is entering an important stretch of games as the team jockeys for position with the Calder Cup Playoffs creeping closer. With 41 goals and 49 assists for 70 points in 123 AHL games played, Cehlarik will look to return to his role as a key contributor for Providence as the team’s regular season draws to a close.

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Bruins Recall Connor Clifton and Paul Carey from Providence

AR-181128743Photo Courtesy Of The Patriot Ledger

By: Garrett Haydon | Follow Me On Twitter @thesportsguy97

On Wednesday afternoon, Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy announced that the team had recalled defenseman Connor Clifton and forward Paul Carey from Providence.

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Clifton has skated in nine game for the Bruins this season, going scoreless. He made his NHL debut on November 16th in Dallas against the Stars. Clifton also has spent 53 games with Providence this season, posting six goals and 21 assists for 27 points. Carey has skated in 21 games for Providence since being traded from Ottawa, scoring 14 goals and adding six assists for 20 points. Carey made his NHL debut with the Colorado Avalanche on March 12th, 2014 against the Chicago Blackhawks

Clifton was originally drafted by the Arizona Coyotes in the fifth round (133rd overall) of the 2013 NHL Entry Draft. Carey was originally drafted by the Avalanche in the fifth round (135th overall) of the 2007 NHL Entry draft. Both players should see ice time as soon as tomorrow night as the Bruins continue to be banged up on the recent road trip. Clifton looked fairly solid in his time in Boston this season so he should be a good addition. Carey being an experienced player, should bring some stability to a lineup that desperately needs it.

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Providence Bruins Weekend Recap: 3/9 and 3/10

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

By: Sam Fryman  |  Follow Me On Twitter @sfryman20

Check out my Friday night March 8th Providence Bruins Vs Hershey Bears game recap from the Dunkin’ Donuts Center by CLICKING HERE

Bruins vs Bears, 3/9/19

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

A shootout was needed to decide the first game of the weekend between Providence and Hershey, and the Saturday sequel would not disappoint. Both teams have been swinging back and forth in the Atlantic Division standings over the last few weeks and the weekend was a prime opportunity for one team to gain a solid amount of distance on the other.

First Period:

The defense showed up first and foremost, holding Hershey to just 4 shots through the first twenty minutes and killing off an early power play. Trent Frederic got the scoring started for Providence at the 9:51 mark. After keeping in a clearing attempt on the half wall, Frederic fired a slap shot that Ilya Samsonov was unable to get out of the air. It was Frederic’s eleventh goal of the season.

Score: Providence 1-0

Second Period:

Just like the Friday contest Hershey always seemed to linger, tying the game up just 1:30 into the second period with Riley Barber beating Dan Vladar on a delayed penalty call.

Providence got to show off the special teams to get right back in the game courtesy of Uhro Vaakanainen. It would be the first goal on what ended up being six power plays in the game for the Bruins. Barber would score his second goal of the evening on a breakaway to tie the game again for Hershey 2-2 late in the second period.

Score: 2-2

Third Period:

Jayson Megna gave Hershey their first lead of the night just about halfway through the third period.

A few minutes later, the Bruins were given a good break when Beck Malenstyn was called for tripping. That power play allowed Paul Carey to lift a puck from right in front of the net to tie the game back up for Providence. Connor Clifton also continued to dish out the assists, notching his fourth in the last two games.

Score: 3-3

Overtime:

As fate would have it, Carey’s night was destined to end more dramatically. After a Bruins faceoff win to begin the overtime period, Carey streaked into the offensive zone and ended the game earlier than expected for the crowd at Dunkin Donuts Center. The Bruins would finish the weekend with a contest against the Springfield Thunderbirds, once again in front of a home crowd.

Final: Providence Wins 4-3 

Bruins vs. Thunderbirds, 3/10F

( Photo Credit: Providence Bruins / Flickr )

After picking up two wins in post-regulation against their division rivals Hershey, the Providence Bruins looked to make it a clean sweep of the weekend against the Springfield Thunderbirds, a team that is a lowly 9-14-5 on the road this season. Paul Carey came into Sunday’s contest with 6 points in his last 4 games, and with a few additions back on the Providence, roster looked to keep it intact.

First Period:

With Providence getting their first power play opportunity in the first period, Trent Frederic came off from the bench and made a beautiful two on one pass to defenseman Urho Vaakanainen, his third goal in the last four games.

Springfield looked to get the momentum back in their favor when Jacob McDonald went after Michael Doherty just about halfway through the period, with both receiving matching fighting penalties. The bad blood continued to the very last seconds of the period when all players on both teams gathered in the near side corner of the ice to apply some shoves.

Score: 1-0 Providence

Second Period:

Joel Lowry tied the game for Springfield just 2:17 into the second. After a shorthanded chance by Trent Frederic went off of the post, Lowry went right back the other way with Sebastian Repo and beat Zane McIntyre cleanly. Just a minute and a half later, Anthony Greco continued his goal-scoring streak to give the Thunderbirds took a 2-1 lead. Springfield continues to be ranked in the top ten of the AHL in second period scoring with 73 goals for.

Providence took the deficit and started to fire a flurry of shots towards the Springfield cage. Turnovers lead to great chances by the Bruins forwards but they were all stopped, including an incredibly athletic save by Chris Driedger with just over seven minutes to go.

Score: 2-1 Thunderbirds

Third Period:

With 7:39 to go in the third period, Vincent Praplan scored his first goal as a Springfield Thunderbird after the penalty kill had come up large for most of the period. The forward also had his family in attendance after making a late surprise trip from his native Switzerland. That would be all as far as the Bruins efforts would go as they could not get any more shots past goaltender Chris Driedger. Still, the Bruins managed to get four of a possible six points on the weekend to keep themselves in a playoff position. Providence will rest for the week then be back in action against the Lehigh Valley Phantoms, who currently sit just outside of a playoff spot.

Final: 3-1 Springfield 

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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