We're all pretty bummed about the suckfest that is the Boston Bruins and the looming doom of game seven tonight, but I like to remind myself of the great things in life, like the fact that the Providence Bruins are actually still playing hockey and are actually winning. It seems like forever ago, but games one and two of the second round series with the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins took place on Friday and Saturday night in Providence. Providence won both games by an awesome combined score of 12-7.
Game three isn't until Wednesday unfortunately. Games three, four, and if necessary, game five will all be in Wilkes-Barre because the AHL is the stupid and even though the second round is an improvement over the first round in that it is a best-of-seven (yay!) rather than a best-of-five, the format is not that which actually gives the home team home ice advantage. Rather than 2-2-1-1-1, they play 2-3-2. So unless this game goes at least six games (it better not), we won't be seeing Providence play at home again until the next round, assuming they advance (they better, so help me GOD).
Anyway, now that we have established why the AHL is a pain in the ass, let's get back to celebrating why the P-Bruins are awesome. A lot happened in the two games on Friday and Saturday night, so it might be easy to forget. If you blinked on Friday night, you probably missed a goal. Providence won 8-5 in game one and then 4-2 in game two, scoring a combined 12 goals in four periods against Penguins goaltender Jeff Zatkoff before he was benched at the start of the second period in game two.
Let's do a quick recap, because why the hell not?! Game one, in which I pretend I was not actually at the Bruins game in Boston and didn't totally miss this entire game in Providence:
- WBS is awarded a penalty shot while already on a power play. The call is questionable. I remain suspicious. Chad Kolarik scored the first goal of the series on this penalty shot. I'm surprised and disappointed that Niklas Svedberg is showing human qualities such as not being a perfect goaltender. He stopped all three penalty shots he faced in the regular season and was one of the best in the league in shootouts, so I considered one-on-one scenarios one of his strengths. Then again, I didn't actually watch this game live or see the penalty shot, so who knows what the hell happened.
- Luckily for as average as Svedberg has been in the playoffs, the spirit of Marc-Andre Fleury roams the halls of the Penguins organization and has landed in Jeff Zatkoff's soul, stripping him of all goaltending talent. Zatkoff was the best goalie in the league during the regular season in goals against average (1.93), but the P-Bruins first goal against him in this series was a weak one. It was also Ryan Spooner's first professional playoff goal! Woohoo!! Spooner is shaking off the rust of his first pro playoff series experience from Hershey and kicking ass now.
- In a period of about seven minutes during the second period, Providence scored four goals and WBS scored two. This was not a clinic in goaltending, unless this clinic is run by Vesa Toskala. Jordan Caron opened the scoring in the second period and capped it off with a sweet celebration at the camera man. It was glorious.
- WBS came back and tied it up at two for a short while before Kyle MacKinnon scored his first of the playoffs to make it 3-1 Providence, followed quickly by Jamie Tardif's first of the series, then Carter Camper on the power play to make it 5-2. Paul Thompson scored for WBS to make it 5-3.
- Craig Cunningham opened the third period scoring to make it 6-3. This would be the eventual game-winner.
- Shit hit the fan in the third period. The teams were already pissed at each other when Bobby Robins threw a hit that injured Penguins defenseman Dylan Reese and in the third, captain Joey Mormina went high on Justin Florek, which drew Exelby and eventually Robins. In the end, about an hour of penalty minutes were assessed and somehow the Penguins came out with a power play.
- Chris Collins scored on the ensuing power play to make it 6-4, then Thomspon scored his second of the game to make it a one-goal game with under three minutes left.
- Thankfully, Chris Bourque came to the rescue, scoring on Zatkoff before they had the chance to pull him for an extra attacker with just under two minutes left. After that Providence got a power play, which Tardif cashed in on to make the final score 8-5.
- In the end, 13 different P-Bruins had at least a point, and eight P-Bruins had multi-point games - Caron, Spooner, Camper, MacKinnon, and Cunningham each had one goal and one assist; Trent Whitfield had two assists; Tardif had 2 goals; and Bouque had one goal and three assists. (David Warsofsky, Tommy Cross, Christian Hanson, Kevan Miller, and Jared Knight [!!!] each had one assist - Knight had his first professional playoff point.)
- Somehow Torey Krug was a -1 because he plays with dead weight named Exelby as a defensive partner. Krug hasn't produced much offensively this postseason, and was kept off the scoresheet in game one despite having four shots.
- Chris Bourque seriously has the WBS Penguins number. Their fans really hate him. It's great.
- The Penguins scored first again, this time on a shorthanded goal by Warren Peters, who will later try to murder Zach Trotman (this may be an exaggeration).
- One minute and eight seconds later was all it took for Providence to tie this game up. On a 5-on-3 power play, Tardif tied the game at one. Later on in the first period, Ryan Spooner scored in his second straight game to give Providence a 2-1 lead. Tardif scored again on the power play late in the first to make it 3-1 before Bourque gave the team a 4-1 lead with 30 seconds left in the first.
- Zatkoff didn't start the second period as a result of sucking. In four periods against Providence, he saw 40 shots and only made 28 saves. That's math that is too hilarious to bother doing.
- Brad Thiessen only faced 16 shots from Providence in the next two periods, so the fact that he didn't allow any goals isn't really that shocking.
- The Penguins cut the lead to 4-2 on a power play goal late in the second period, and that was it for the scoring in this game.
- Peters hit Trotman high in the third period, and Trotman was down for a while. He had a pretty bad concussion during the regular season. When he got up with the help of two teammates after the hit, he nearly fell down headfirst into the boards...he was very dazed and unable to walk himself. He was basically carried off by two teammates. So I'm gonna go ahead and assume he is a no-go for game three, which means the worst possible scenario has come true...Colby Cohen will be on defense in game three.
- Physical play and dirty hits
- Special teams: lethal power plays/horrible penalty kills
- Goals in bunches
- Questionable goaltending
- The Bourque-Spooner-Tardif line