Providence Bruins Preview: Ursine Playoff Battle

After his first NHL game last week, Lindblad had a goal in his first game back in the AHL on Sunday - Hartford Wolf Pack

The Providence Bruins currently sit in the 8th and final playoff spot in the Eastern Conference with 11 games left in the season. They face the 9th place team, the Hershey Bears, tonight.

Tonight is a very big game for the Providence Bruins as the regular season ending nears. Providence is currently in the 8th place in the Eastern Conference with 75 points in 64 games. Tonight, they host the team chasing them for the final playoff spot in the Hershey Bears, who are in 9th place with 70 points and 62 games played.

After the Bears, there is a significant drop off in points in the 10th place team (the Worcester Sharks), so the playoff race essentially comes down to the top nine teams in the East. In fact, the teams in seeds six through eight each have 76 points, so a win for Providence could put them in sixth place if Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (who they face next Wednesday) loses.

It will be a tough game as games with the Hershey Bears usually are, especially a team desperate to make get into the final playoff spot with the few games they have in hand.

Game Preview: Hershey @ Providence, 7pm EST

This is the second and final meeting between the two Ursine teams this season. The previous game was in Hershey on Sunday, December 1, 2013. Providence won in the shootout, 3-2. Ryan Spooner and Alexander Khokhlachev missed the first two shots for Providence, but Seth Griffith, Anthony Camara, and David Warsofsky scored in the shootout, with Warsofsky's goal clinching the win. Niklas Svedberg stopped three of four shooters - Ryan Stoa was the only Bears player to beat him in the shootout.

Svedberg made 26 saves on 28 shots in the game. He faced David Leggio, who made 42 saves on 44 shots. On the power play, Providence went 0-for-3 while Hershey was 1-for-1.


Hershey Providence
GP 62 64
Record 31-23-4-4 33-22-2-7
Points 70 75
Division 4th (East) 3rd (Atlantic)
Conference 9th 8th
Last 10 2-6-1-1 4-4-1-1
Home 20-10-1-3 16-10-2-3
Away 11-13-3-1 17-12-0-4
Shootouts 6-4 10-7
GF 185 205
GA 179 186
PP 15.8% 21.9%
PP Rank 22nd 2nd
PK 83.40% 80.30%
PK Rank 11th 13th
SHGF 8 5
SHGA 11 3
PIM/G 19.2 15.1
Leading After 1 15-5-0-1 17-3-0-2
Tied After 1 13-6-3-3 10-5-2-4
Trailing After 1 4-12-1-0 6-14-0-1
Leading After 2 20-1-2-2 22-1-2-4
Tied After 2 7-4-1-1 9-4-0-1
Trailing After 2 4-18-1-1 2-17-0-2

In the P-Bruins win back in December, Khokhlachev and Craig Cunningham scored in regulation for Providence. Koko currently leads Providence in scoring by a large margin. He is in the top 20 in AHL scoring and third overall among rookie point scorers.

Leading Scorers


Name GP G A P +/- PIM PPG Pt/G Shots
Khokhlachev 54 19 31 50 11 22 5 0.93 113
Griffith 57 19 24 43 -1 20 9 0.75 95
Cunningham 64 21 19 40 -5 36 8 0.62 199
Johnson 40 17 21 38 16 12 1 0.95 117
Spooner 38 8 28 36 9 6 1 0.95 126
Florek 60 15 18 33 14 23 4 0.55 152
Warsofsky 54 6 26 32 8 11 4 0.59 132
Morrow 46 5 21 26 -5 26 4 0.57 110
Fraser 36 17 7 24 -2 32 7 0.67 99
Lindblad 44 8 15 23 -2 4 1 0.52 73
Parlett 52 4 19 23 -2 22 2 0.44 62
Camara 56 9 13 22 2 45 1 0.39 60
Youds 45 2 18 20 6 26 0 0.44 54
Moore 64 7 12 19 11 97 0 0.3 87
Trotman 42 5 13 18 10 21 1 0.43 80
Knight 52 4 14 18 1 14 1 0.35 110
Robins 56 5 8 13 -2 210 0 0.23 70
Randell 36 4 6 10 1 80 1 0.28 29
Casto 41 2 7 9 7 19 0 0.22 47
Cross 51 3 4 7 -10 46 0 0.14 49
Cherniwchan 24 4 2 6 1 12 0 0.25 35
Fallstrom 25 2 4 6 -2 17 0 0.24 29
Flick 44 1 5 6 -5 78 1 0.14 53
Campbell 23 2 1 3 -3 0 0 0.13 14
Lavin 3 0 1 1 2 0 0 0.33 2
Collins 3 0 0 0 -2 0 0 0 4

Keep an eye out on Seth Griffith and Koko - both rookies are on fire lately. Especially Koko. Ryan Spooner has also picked up his game recently with five points in three games last weekend.

Lineup & Injuries

The injured reserve continues to carry significant weight for Providence, although some key players may return this weekend.

The injury list: Matt Fraser and Joe Morrow are out with knee injuries; Alexander Fallstrom and Andrew Cherniwchan are out with shoulder injuries; Nick Johnson is out with a concussion; David Warsofsky is out with a hand injury. (Information mainly gathered from here.)

Johnson may actually return this weekend, although according to Mark Divver, not likely tonight. He hasn't played since February 5th. Joe Morrow is also possible for this weekend. He hasn't played since February 4th.

Goaltending

Niklas Svedberg will get the start tonight for Providence.


Player GP Record GAA Save% Shutouts
Providence
Svedberg 39 21-14-3 2.79 0.907 2
Subban 26 12-8-4 2.39 0.916 1
Hershey
Leggio 37 17-16-3 2.73 0.911 1
Grubauer 22 11-10-1 2.73 0.910 2

Watch

If you can't make it to Providence to watch, check it out on AHL Live if you can (to kill time before the late Boston game!)

For an idea of how important tonight's game is, here are a look at the Eastern standings...Keep in mind: top three seeds are division leaders and more importantly, the AHL regular season is shorter than the NHL season; they play 76 games instead of 82, which means Providence has exactly 11 games left including tonight!


Eastern Conference

Rank Team GP W L OTL SOL Points
1 Manchester Monarchs 65 40 17 2 6 88
2 Springfield Falcons 62 38 18 1 5 82
3 Binghamton Senators 62 36 21 1 4 77
4 St. John's IceCaps 62 38 20 1 3 80
5 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins 62 34 20 3 5 76
6 Albany Devils 63 33 20 3 7 76
7 Norfolk Admirals 63 34 21 1 7 76
8 Providence Bruins 64 33 22 2 7 74
9 Hershey Bears 62 31 23 4 4 70

Go Bruins!

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