Providence Bruins Preview: Falcons Must Be Stopped

Remember when Cunningham made his NHL debut this year? Good times. He scored Providence's only goal in last night's loss. - Jared Wickerham

Providence faces fatigue from a 3pm game today after traveling from Adirondack after a disappointing 3-1 loss to the Falcons last night, and they are facing one of the best teams in the league in the Springfield Falcons today.

Quick pre game update:

The Providence Bruins have been in a tough position as a result of the Boston Bruins injuries that have necessitates recalls and depleted the Providence roster. Although it is the nature of the AHL to deal with losing top players to recalls, it's tough to deal with last second emergency recalls like the ones on Saturday that left Providence with five defensemen in a strange, far away land known as Adirondack.

Prior to facing the Philadelphia Flyers AHL affiliate, the Adirondack Phantoms, the P-Bruins knew they were without Niklas Svedberg, and they've been without Ryan Spooner and Matt Fraser. And they knew they'd be without Nick Johnson and David Warsofsky, as they'd just been recalled to the Bruins in Ottawa. But another last second blow was losing Zach Trotman on emergency recall to fill in for Zdeno Chara. Trotman barely made it to the game in Ottawa on time, having had to take a cab from New York.

Thus, Providence dressed only 19 players last night - 17 skaters that included just five defensemen (Ben Youds, Joe Morrow, Mike Moore, Tommy Cross, and Kevan Miler). Despite scoring first on Craig Cunningham's 11th goal of the season, where Carter Camper's assist extended his personal point streak to four games, the P-Bruins fell to the Phantoms 3-1 with three power play goals against. They oushot the Phantoms 39-17 - including 17-8 in the second period alone, and were outscored 2-0 in the second period.

All in all, Providence went 0-for-4 on the power play while the Phantoms were 3-for-7 on the power play. Malcolm Subban made 24 saves on 27 shots. They face an equally difficult task today in the best team in the league, the Springfield Falcons, who are on a nine game point streak, where they have gone 7-0-0-2. This is the fifth game against the Falcons this year, and Providence has managed only one win in the previous four.

Providence (15-10-1-5) @ Springfield (24-4-1-3), 3pm EST

Providence will at least be able to dress six defensemen today as they have recalled Steve Spinell from the South Carolina Stingrays of the ECHL. As for the rest of the lineup, I'd expect it to the be the same as last night, but game-time decisions will be made. Alexander Khokhlachev is still out with a hand injury, and Matt Lindblad has recently been out with a groin injury. Tyler Randell and Chris Casto are also injured.

Game Notes

Providence Springfield
15-10-1-5 Record 24-4-1-3
36 Points 46
31 Games Played 29
2nd Division Rank 1st
7th Conference Rank 2nd
12th League Rank 3rd
4-3-0-3 Last 10 Games 7-1-0-2
5-5 Shootout Record 6-3
104 GF, 98 GA (+5) GF/GA 94 GF, 69 GA (+25)
Away: 9-5-0-3 Home/Away Home: 11-2-01
18.0 PIM/G 18.9
7-1-0-2 Leading after 1 12-0-1-0
5-0-1-3 Tied after 1 7-1-0-2
3-9-0-0 Trailing after 1 2-3-0-1
10-0-1-3 Leading after 2 15-1-1-1
4-1-0-1 Tied after 2 5-0-0-0
1-9-0-1 Trailing after 2 1-3-0-2

Special Teams

Providence's penalty kill has been a work in progress, and last night it was a train wreck. All three goals against were power play goals. Meanwhile, they are facing the AHL's best penalty killing team in the Falcons. On the power play, the Falcons actually have more goals, but have had far more advantages than the P-Bruins, thus giving Providence the edge in the PP ranking.

Providence Springfield
22.3% (25/112) PP Percentage 17.9% (27/151)
4th PP Rank 13th
75.9% PK Percentage 1st
28 GA on 116 PKs PK GA 14 GA on 132 PKs
2 SHGF 5
0 SHGA 3

Team Leaders

Carter Camper leads the P-Bruins in scoring (5 goals, 17 assists, 22 points). He has an impressive 11 power play points, which means 50% of his total points have come on the man-advantage. He only recently scored his first goal of the season that wasn't a power play goal.

Next on the scoring depth chart are Craig Cunningham (11 G + 8 A = 19 pts, 8 PPG) and defenseman Joe Morrow (3 G + 16 A = 19 pts). Justin Florek is tied with the inactive Khokhlachev with 17 points (3 G + 10 A), followed by Seth Griffith with 15 points.

Springfield is lead by the dangerous Jonathan Marchsessault (formerly JAM!). He has 10 goals and 14 assists for 24 points, and 6 PPG for a total of 13 PP points.

Defenseman Frederic St. Denis is tied for second on the Falcons with 18 points (6 G + 12 A). He is tied with Patrick McNeill (5 G + 13 A). Defenseman Blake Parlett has 14 points (4 G + 10 A), followed by fellow d-man Cody Golobef (4 G + 9 A), who is tied with Andrew Joudrey with 13 points.

Joe Morrow and Frederic St. Denis are among the AHL leaders in points from defenseman. Morrow is tied for fifth with 19 points while St. Denis is tied for 10th with 18 points.

Season Series

Springfield has won two of the previous four games this season by a score of 5-2. The other two games were decided in shootouts, with Providence winning on October 25 in a 4-3 shootout and Springfield taking the latest decision between the two teams on December 20 in a 3-2 shootout win.

Carter Camper leads skaters for both teams in scoring in the season series with five points (all assists). Sean Collins and Patrick McNeill of Springfield each have four points against Providence this season.

With three points in the season series are Justin Florek (3 goals) and Craig Cunningham (1 G, 2 A) for Providence, and for Springfield St. Denis (2 G, 1 A), Golobef (1 G, 2 A), and Jake Hansen (1 G, 2 A). Hansen is tied for most shorthanded goals in the AHL this season with three, by the way.

Goaltenders

In net, Jeremy Smith for Springfield has played all four games and has a 3-0-1 record with a 2.16 GAA and 0.931 save percentage against Providence.

Meanwhile, Malcolm Subban is 0-1-1 with a 2.90 GAA and 0.855 save percentage against the Falcons. Niklas Svedberg, who was returned to the AHL yesterday but did not join the team last night, is 1-1-0 against Springfield this season with a 3.41 GAA and 0.904 save percentage. It is unclear if Svedberg will be with the team today.

Both Smith and Subban played last night, but would be the presumed starters. On the season, Smith is 14-3-2 with a 2.43 GAA and 0.910 save percentage. His 14 wins are among the best in the AHL. Subban is 4-6-2 with a 2.51 GAA and 0.914 save percentage.

End of the Road

Providence will have one more game after today in the calendar year of 2013. On New Year's Eve they will face the Manchester Monarchs in Manchester, to wrap up the current five-game road trip.

Read more on the Bruins:

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