The Providence Bruins won both games in Norfolk against the Admirals on Friday and Saturday evening and look to sweep the weekend with a third win a row when they faceoff against the Hershey Bears, affiliate of the Washington Capitals, on Sunday afternoon. They ended the month of November on a good note and hopefully can start December with another win. A win against Hershey tonight could also put Providence back in a playoff spot.
Friday Recap: P-Bruins 5, Admirals 4
Providence went up 3-0 in the first period and 4-1 in the third period and nearly let the game get away from them. The Admirals were unable to convert on a power play late in the third when it was 5-3, but they scored a goal with the goaltender pulled for the extra attacker. They were unable to tie the game, and Svedberg got the win with Spooner's early third period goal standing up as the winner.
Providence was 1-for-3 on the power play, but also gave up a power play goal on five penalty kills. Although they outshot Norfolk in the first two periods, they were outshot in the third 13-6. The shot total for the game was 35-32 in favor of Providence. Spooner and Devante Smith-Pelly each had six shots on net.
Saturday Recap: P-Bruins 3, Admirals 2
It was Malcolm Subban versus Brad Thiessen, who was in net for the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins for the final four games of last year's second round playoff series in which Providence blew a 3-0 series lead and lost in game seven. He was damn good after Jeff Zatkoff was hilariously bad in the first three games.
He and Subban both played well, but the P-Bruins were able to get more chances generated in what was an otherwise uneventful game. Only one penalty was assessed, against Matt Fraser in the third period, and other than that, the only penalties went to Bobby Robins and Kurtz for fighting. It was a pretty good fight though.
Khokhlachev's set up on Camara's third period goal to make it 3-1 would end up being the game winner when the Admirals again scored with less than one minute left and the goaltender pulled for a sixth skater.
Warsofsky had three assists in two nights, while Spooner and Johnson each had one goal and two assists. Khokhlachev had two assists, while Griffith and Camara each had a goal and an assist.
The win gives Providence the edge in the season series with Norfolk, 2-1-0-0. Each game has been a one-goal game.
After a relatively relaxed schedule in October (8 games in which they went 4-2-0-2, with identical record of 2-1-0-1 at home and on the road), Providence had a heavier schedule with 12 games in November. Overall, the month of November produced a record of 6-5-1-0, with a 2-3-1-0 record at home and a 4-2-0-0 record on the road.
For the goaltenders, each played six games and each came away with three wins and three losses. In seven appearances, Svedberg made 149 saves on 173 shots, letting in 24 goals. In the same number of apperances, Subban stopped 163 of 177 shots, letting in 14 goals. That's approximately a save percentage of .861 for Svedberg versus .921 for Subban.
Providence was shorthanded 48 times in November and allowed 11 power play goals (77.1%). On the power play, they had 12 goals on 53 opportunities on the power play (22.6%).
Here are the numbers for November, ranked by points:
Player of the Month
At November's first home game, the Providence Bruins had a small pregame ceremony where they presented Nick Johnson with the Player of the Month award for the month of October. The team-issued award is based on the ranking of three stars of the game throughout the month.
14 different players received one of the three stars of the game honors in the month of November, with Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser receiving the most games with star honors (three each), followed by two apiece by Malcolm Subban, Craig Cunningham, Carter Camper, and Seth Griffith. The other players were Tommy Cross, David Warsofsky, Bobby Robins, Jared Knight, Alexander Khokhlachev, Anthony Camara, and Matt Lindblad .
Given his honors as first star twice and second star once, he by far seems like the winner for the November Player of the Month. I would expect the award is announced at December's first home game. He's had a good season. Until his single point performance on Saturday evening, he had not been held to one point in a game. If he scored any points, he had at least two. Nevertheless, the Bruins are 7-1-0-0 this season when Spooner records a point.
Tonight: P-Bruins (10-7-1-2) @ Hershey Bears (7-7-2-2), 5pm EST
These teams have't met since the first round of the playoffs last year, when the Bears went up in the best-of-five series 2-0 but eventually lost to the P-Bruins in the fifth game. The Washington Capitals affiliate seems to be struggling this year, but it's always hard to tell because every team in their division is good. They need to beat teams that are below them in the standings, which Hershey currently is. It's especially important as Providence sits on the cusp of a playoff spot - currently one point behind both Norfolk and the Syracuse Crunch.
Also, expect a big crowd tonight. Hershey averages by far the most attendance, and they have their own uniquely devoted fans. Last night they played in front of over 10,000 fans in a win over the baby Pens and average nearly at least 9,000 per home game.
Remembering the Battle of the Ursine
The first round meeting between the Bears and Bruins last season was pretty fun because Providence won, so let's take a quick look back for those of us who weren't paying attention back then (the Boston Bruins were in the midst of their Stanley Cup run).
- Game 1: Hershey 5, Providence 2
- Game 2: Hershey 5, Providence 4
- Game 3: Providence 5, Hershey 1
- Game 4: Providence 5, Hershey 4
- Game 5: Hershey 2, Providence 3
It was a battle of Svedberg vs Grubauer, although this was when Svedberg starting showing signs of cooling off after being the best goaltender in the AHL through the entire regular season.
Only a few current P-Bruins that had an impact on that series remain with the team, while the rest are gone (Chris Bourque, Jamie Tardif, Graham Mink, etc.) Carter Camper had the Bears (and Penguins in the next round for the first three games) number. He had eight points, including a hat trick, a game winning goal for five total goals and three assists.
Kevan Miller had four assists. He had an assist on all three game winning goals in the series. Craig Cunningham had three points with one goal and two assists. Justin Florek and Bobby Robins each had one goal and one assist. Ryan Spooner had two assists, and Tommy Cross and David Warsofsky had one assist each.
|Record||10-7-1-2 (23 pts in 20 GP)||7-7-2-2 (18 pts in 18 GP)|
|Division||3rd in Atlantic||5th in East|
|Conference||9th in Eastern||12th in Eastern|
|Home/Away||Away: 6-3-0-1||Home: 4-4-1-2|
|Goal Differential||+2 (71 GF, 69 GA)||-1 (55 GF, 56 GA)|
|Leading After 1st Period||6-0-0-0||6-2-0-1|
|Tied After 1st Period||3-0-1-2||1-3-1-1|
|Losing After 1st Period||1-7-0-0||0-2-1-0|
|Leading After 2nd Period||9-0-1-1||7-1-2-1|
|Tied After 2nd Period||0-0-0-0||0-3-0-0|
|Losing After 2nd Period||0-7-0-1||0-3-0-1|
|Record in 1-Goal Games||5-2-1-2||2-1-2-2|
|Record in 2-Goal Games||0-0-0-0||2-4-0-0|
|Record in 3-Goal Games||4-4-0-0||1-0-0-0|
|Record in Shootouts||2-2||1-2|
Providence has an excellent record when they are able to score first and maintain any kind of lead through the first and/or second period. Hershey seems to rely on scoring first. If they don't have a lead to start a period, their chances to win are seriously challenged. The same can be said if they are tied to start a period.
|Power Play||4th, 21.8% (17-for-78)||19th, 15.5% (16-for-103)|
|Home/Away PP||Away: 27.3% (9-for-33)||Home: 13.6% (9-for-66)|
|Penalty Kill||30th, 74.0% (19 GA on 73 PKs)||6th, 85.4% (14 GA on 96 PKs)|
|Home/Away PK||Away: 70.8% (7 GA on 24 PKs)||85.5% (8 GA on 55 PKs)|
|Shorthanded Goals For||1||3|
|Shorthanded Goals Against||0||4|
Providence actually has a decently rated power play these days, especially compared to the Bears, who have fewer PP goals with over 20 more opportunities. They are even more dismal on the PP at home, while the P-Bruins actually are even more efficient on the road on the PP. The P-Bruins PK is still pretty awful.
For the Bruins, Mark Divver reports that Tommy Cross is a healthy scratch and Chris Casto will play for the first time this weekend. There may be changes among the forwards as well; Alex Fallstrom, who was supposed to play on Friday evening while Knight was meant to be a healthy scratch, has missed both games this weekend with illness. I'm sure the all-night bus ride from Norfolk to Hershey didn't help.
|Ryan Spooner||4||15||19||Casey Wellman||7||5||12|
|Matt Fraser||12||4||16||Jeff Taffe||6||6||12|
|Nick Johnson||10||6||16||Peter LeBlanc||6||5||11|
|Carter Camper||3||12||15||Derek Whitmore||4||5||9|
|Alexander Khokhlachev||4||10||14||David Kolomatis||2||7||9|
With Grubauer up with the Capitals, I'm not sure who the Bears second goaltender is, but here are their normal backups numbers.
Niklas Svedberg will start in net tonight.
- Friday, December 6: Manchester Monarchs @ Providence, 7pm
- Saturday, December 7: Providence @ Worcester Sharks, 7pm
- Sunday, December 8: Portland Pirates @ Providence, 3pm