The Providence Bruins erased a two-games-to-zero series deficit to force a decisive game five Wednesday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center. After losing the first two games on home ice, Bruce Cassidy's team won two in a row in Hershey. The top-seeded Bruins will have to win a third consecutive game to avoid being upset in the first round of the Calder Cup Playoffs.
Chris Bourque has been a big catalyst for the P Bruins the last two games. The oft-maligned son of Bruins Hall of Famer Ray Bourque notched two goals and three assists in games three and four. Carter Camper has five goals and two assists in the series to lead all Bruins players. Another player to keep an eye on in Wednesday's decisive game five is Graham Mink. The former Hershey Bear was a healthy scratch for the first game, but has three goals in the last three contests.
Former UNH star Peter LeBlanc has been an assist machine for Hershey. He has seven assists in the four games. Joey Crabb has four goals in the series and linemate Jeff Taffe has four assists.
Neither goaltender has a save percentage above .900, but both Hershey's Philipp Grubauer and Providence's Niklas Svedberg have looked stellar at times.
A possible key to game five will be the Providence Bruins' ability to stay disciplined. Leading 2-0 after the first period in the fourth game, the Baby Bruins took five penalties in the second stanza.
Statistically, Providence has been better on the man-advantage than Hershey. The Bruins are 5-for-14 during the series while Hershey is 6-for-22. The Bears have had eight more power play opportunities than the Bruins. Providence needs to stay out of the box. In the two Hershey victories, the Bears were 5-for-10 on the power play.
The Bruins came out sluggish and hesitant in the first game, showing some nerves of a young team lacking playoff experience, according to Cassidy. The Bruins need to be confident with the puck and make quick decisions. If Providence can avoid the temptation to make the perfect play and be disciplined, round two might be in sight.