Providence Bruins Preview: Sixth Time's a Charm

With magical Movember mustache powers, David Warsofsky has scored shootout winners twice this season, including last Sunday. He has 11 assists and is a +9. - ME/Flickr

Providence has lost to Manchester five times already this season, but I like their chances to get their first win against the best team in the Eastern Conference tonight.

Providence swept last weekend with three wins in three nights on a road trip that included two games in Norfolk and a third in Hershey. It was the second time this season have have won three games in three days and this is the first time they will play back-to-back weekends with three games. All three games are against division opponents this weekend, with the most important being tonight against the division leading Monarchs that Providence has lost to five times already this season.

Tonight will be the sixth of 12 meetings between the P-Bruins and Monarchs this season. After losing the first two in shootouts, Providence has lost three in a row to the Atlantic division and Eastern conference leading Monarchs. The Monarchs are coming off a stunning loss to last place Bridgeport last Sunday as perhaps the toll of losing their starting goaltender and top two forwards to the Los Angeles Kings is starting to show. Meanwhile, Providence looks to make it four straight wins and three in a row for Niklas Svedberg.

Tonight: P-Bruins (11-7-1-2) vs Monarchs (15-4-1-3), 7:05pm EST

They seemingly play Manchester every weekend. This is the sixth of 12 meetings this year, with the next coming on New Years Eve in Manchester. As difficult as these games are for Providence, it's time they start beating teams that are actually ahead of them in the standings. This will be an important game to measure how they've progressed after several sloppy games early this season.

They have been outscored 20-11 through five games and outshot 170-155. They have been outscored in the first period 6-2, in the second period 5-4, and in the third period 7-5.

Manchester has averaged 12.6 shots in the first period to Providence's 8.2; 11.2 in the second period to Providence's 11.0; but Providence has outshot Manchester in the third period this season, averaging 10.2 over five games to Manchester's 9.4.

Game Notes

Manchester Providence
Record 15-4-1-3 (34 pts in 23 GP) 11-7-1-2 (25 pts in 21 GP)
Division 1st in Atlantic T-2nd in Atlantic
Conference 1st in Eastern 6th in Eastern
League 2nd 12th
Last 10 7-2-0-1 6-3-1-0
Home/Away Away: 7-3-0-3 Home: 4-4-1-1
PIM/Game 13.8/G 18.7/G
Goal Differential +16 (72 GF/56 GA), 4th in AHL +3 (74 GF, 71 GA)
Leading After 1st Period 6-0-0-1 6-0-0-0
Tied After 1st Period 7-1-1-2 4-0-1-2
Losing After 1st Period 2-3-0-0 1-7-0-0
Leading After 2nd Period 12-0-0-2 9-0-0-1
Tied After 2nd Period 1-1-1-1 1-0-0-0
Losing After 2nd Period 2-3-0-0 1-7-0-1
Record in 1-Goal Games 7-2-1-3 6-2-1-2
Record in 2-Goal Games 3-0-0-0 0-0-0-0
Record in 3-Goal Games 5-2-0-0 4-4-0-0
Record in Shootouts 3-3 3-2

Special Teams

Manchester Providence
Power Play 25th, 13.8% (12-for-87) 6th, 21.0% (17-for-81)
Home/Away PP Away: 11.9% (7-for-59) Home: 17.8% (8-for-45)
Penalty Kill 7th, 84.9% (16 GA on 106 PKs) 30th, 73.0% (20 GA on 74 PKs)
Home/Away PK Away: 85.3% (10 GA on 68 PKs) Home: 75.5% (12 GA on 49 PKs)
Shorthanded Goals For 2 1
Shorthanded Goals Against 2 0

Special teams haven't been great for either team in the season series thus far. In the previous five games, Providence has three goals on 15 power plays, but Manchester has four goals on 13 power plays. Providence also gave up a penalty shot goal.

Lineup Notes

Niklas Svedberg is starting tonight and will probably face Jean-Francois Berube, who has played in nine straight games since Martin Jones was called up to the NHL.

Tanner Pearson will return to the Monarchs lineup as he was returned to the AHL from the Kings this week. Pearson hasn't played with Manchester since November 13th and they have still managed to score without him, so they will be even more dangerous tonight.

On defense, Jeff Schultz was recalled to Los Angeles, so the Monarchs will be trying to get by with the six defensemen they have left (Andrew Campbell, Andrew Bodnarchuk, Vincent LoVerde, Derek Forbort, Chris Huxley, and Colin Miller.

Kevan Miller remains with the Boston Bruins, so the P-Bruins will be going with Tommy Cross, David Warsofsky, Joe Morrow, Mike Moore, Zach Trotman, and Ben Youds tonight with Chris Casto being the healthy scratch. Youds hasn't played since November 23, which was coincidentally the last time Providence played Manchester.

Mark Divver reported that the healthy scratches at forward will be Rob Flick, Tyler Randell, and either Seth Griffith or Jared Knight. Knight was supposed to be a healthy scratch last Friday, but Alexander Fallstrom was a late scratch due to illness.

Regardless, Knight and Griffith are actually the P-Bruins most prolific scorers against the Monarchs this season, but Knight in particular has had trouble scoring at all lately. After scoring two goals in the first three games of the season, he has just one goal in 18 games since and has been held without a point in four straight games.

Nick Johnson succumbed to an illness himself on Sunday and missed his first game of the year, but will be back in the lineup tonight. He had three points in two games last weekend and has seven points in seven games.

Previous Matchups

Leading scorers for each team in the previous five games this season. Justin Florek and Youds are the only P-Bruins in with plus/minus ratings that are positive, rather than zero or negative. Craig Cunningham has a team worst -5 versus Manchester, while three Monarchs (Kozun, Weal, LoVerde) are +5 versus Providence.

Manchester Providence
Player Goals Assists Points Player Goals Assists Points
Brandon Kozun 3 6 9 Seth Griffith 3 2 5
Jordan Weal 1 6 7 Jared Knight 1 4 5
Tanner Pearson 3 2 5 Nick Johnson 2 1 3
Andrew Bodnarchuk 2 3 5 Joe Morrow    0 3 3
Brian O'Neill 2 2 4 Matt Fraser 2 0 2


Leading Scorers

Manchester Providence
Player Goals Assists Points Player Goals Assists Points
Jordan Weal 4 17 21 Ryan Spooner 4 15 19
Brandon Kozun 6 14 20 Matt Fraser 12 5 17
Nick Deslauriers 9 7 16 Nick Johnson 10 6 16
Tanner Pearson 7 4 11 Carter Camper 3 13 16

Jordan Weal is tied for 14th in points in the AHL. Nick Deslauriers's 81 shots are 2nd in the league as well. Matt Fraser for Providence is tied for 4th in goals at 12. Alexander Khokhlachev is tied for 14th among rookie point scorers with 15.

Manchester's excellent goal differential shows in their plus/minus. The 2nd and 3rd top plus/minus ratings belong to Monarchs - Bodnarchuk is 2nd with a +15 and LoVerde is 3rd with a +14. Providence's defensemen have improved on their plus/minus lately as well. Zach Trotman leads the team with a +10 followed by David Warsofsky at +9.

Goaltending Matchup

The goaltenders will be Svedberg versus Berube. Berube is 1-0-0 against the P-Bruins this season, giving up two goals on November 23.

Svedberg will be getting his first start versus Manchester since he was pulled halfway through the game in a 5-2 loss on November 1. He surrendered 4 goals on just 13 shots; he had previously lost twice in shootouts to the Monarchs this season. He is 0-1-2 with a 3.82 GAA (10 goals given up) and 0.885 save percentage against Manchester.

On the season, Svedberg's save percentage has improved to 0.900. He is 8-3-2 in 14 appearances and has a GAA of 3.21, giving up a total of 42 shots this season on 419 total shots. Berube is 6-3-1 this season with a 0.920 save percentage and 2.28 GAA.

Weekend Schedule

- Friday: vs Manchester, 7:05pm

- Saturday: @ Worcester, 7:00pm

- Sunday: vs Portland, 3:05pm

Game Updates:

Tonight's lines for Providence, with starters in bold:

Fraser - Spooner - Johnson

Cunningham - Lindblad - Florek

Koko - Camper - Griffith

Camara - Fallstrom - Robins

Providence defense pairs:

Warsofsky - Trotman

Morrow - Cross

Moore - Youds

Robins and Warsofsky are wearing the alternate captain A's tonight. Healthy scratches: Flick, Randell, Knight, Casto.

Manchester forward lines:

Deslauriers - Weal - Kozun

Andreoff - Shore - Pearson

Bishop - O'Brien - Backman

Sabourin - Czarnik - Kitsyn

Defense pairs:

Campbell - Forbort

Bodnarchuk - LoVerde

Miller - Huxley

1st period:

- Providence goal: Warsofsky (1) from Trotman, Koko (7:55, PPG). 1-0 Providence. Penalty was holding by Colin Miller. Original penalty drawn by Florek on a good play to split the defense.

- Fight: Andreoff vs Camara. Andreoff wins. ew

- Manchester goal: Shore (3) from Sabourin, Miller (8:42). Tied 1-1.

- Manchester goal: Sabourin (7) from Kitsyn, Huxley (16:36). 2-1 Manchester.

- Fallstrom and Robins on for both Manchester goals. Second goal was a result of a poor attempt to clear; clear shot from the point got through, Sabourin wide open for rebound. He has 3 goals in 2 games vs Providence.

- After the first period, Manchester leads 2-1 and outshot Providence 14-7. Providence was 1-for-1 on the power play. Manchester had no power play opportunities.

2nd period:

- Bobby Robins decides to take things into his own hands to try to get his team to wake up. He fights Sabourin, kicks his ass, Sabourin officially has a Gordie Howe hat trick.

- Providence outshooting Manchester in the 2nd period 4-2 with 13:57 left.

- Camper is down on the ice and has to be escorted, immediately to the locker room. No idea what happened (THANKS AHLLIVE)

- Spooner has improved a lot in the faceoff circle. Another offensive zone win leads to the tying goal: Fraser's 13th from Spooner and Johnson.

- Providence gets a late power play, but are unable to score despite good puck movement. they are 1-for-2 on the PP tonight.

- 2nd period ends, tied at 2. Shots are 24-21 Providence. They outshot Mancheser 17-7 in the 2nd.

- Camper has not returned to the game.

3rd period:

- What a beautiful goal. Warsofsky takes a pass in stride through the offensive zone from Lindblad, great pass to Cunningham, who is able to backhand it over Berube's shoulder. 3-2 Providence.

- Providence going on their first penalty kill of the night. They're 30th in the league. Actually worse...they're like 50th in the league. They miraculously kill off the Fallstrom penalty.

- Fraser scores another goal to make it 4-2 Providence. Fraser's 2nd of the game and 14th of the season comes from Lindblad and Johnson.

- Khokhlachev quickly makes it 5-2. Warsofsky with the assist on Koko's 6th of the year. Warsofsky's third point of the night. Magical mustache.

- Tommy Cross gets his 3rd of the season to make it 6-2 in the third period. THE MONARCHS MAY FINALLY LOSE TO PROVIDENCE. Bobby Robin and Camara get the assists.

- Matt Fraser nets his second hat trick of the season to make it 7-2. Assists to Spooner and Morrow.

Final: Providence 7, Manchester 2

3 stars: 3. Cunningham, 2. Warsofsky, 1. Fraser

- Svedberg with 25 saves.

- 4th win in a row for Providence.

- Shot final is 33-27 Providence.

- They went 2-for-3 on the PP, and killed off the only penalty against them.

- Multi point nights for: Warsofsky (1 G, 2 A), Lindblad (2 A), Koko (1 G, 1 A), Cunningham (1 G, 1 A), Spooner (2 A), Fraser (3 G), Johnson (2 A).

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