The Providence Bruins and Syracuse Crunch meet only twice this season, with last night being the first game followed by tonight's game in Syracuse. Prior to this season, Providence and Syracuse hadn't met since the 2009-10 season despite both being members of the Eastern Conference. The Syracuse Crunch went to the Calder Cup Final last season but lost to the Grand Rapids Griffins. The Crunch are also the affiliate of the Tampa Bay Lightning.
Last Night @ Providence: P-Bruins 1, Crunch 0 (SO)
Last night's game was physical and rough without a lot of shots on net or prolific scoring chances. Both goaltenders played well enough to stop all 23 shots they faced in regulation, and Niklas Svedberg recorded his second shutout of the season. Both goaltenders were credited with the shutout as they allowed zero goals through 65 minutes of hockey.
One of Svedberg's strong saves in his shutout last night.
The play got pretty dirty throughout the game, with the Crunch seemingly targeting Joe Morrow and other star players. The following knee-on-knee hit was delivered by Luke Witkowski against Morrow, and was only a two minute minor penalty for kneeing. Morrow finished the game, but is questionable for tonight's game. Immediately after the knee was delivered by Witkowski, Tommy Cross jumped to Morrow's defense and fought Witkowski.
The game was tight-checking where the game plan of both teams was to frustrate the opponent. They were able to take away time and space, which resulted in only two shots on net for Providence in the second period (and 10 for Syracuse) followed by five shots for Syracuse in the third and 11 for Providence. Each team ended with 23 shots on net.
In the shootout
Svedberg stopped three of five Syracuse shooters. Providence improved to 6-5 in shootouts with goals from Alexander Khokhlachev, Jared Knight, and Seth Griffith.
Svedberg stops Syracuse's final shooter to seal the victory
Koko's shootout goal:
Knight's shootout goal:
Griffith's shootout goal and game winner:
Providence earned their 20th win of the season in the victory. By the way, they were wearing camo jerseys for Military Appreciation Night, which they will also wear on Sunday in the afternoon game against Manchester. The jerseys will be auctioned off next week.
Tonight: Providence Bruins @ Syracuse Crunch, 7pm
The second half of the home-and-home and the final game of the season series between these two teams wraps up tonight. Providence Coach Bruce Cassidy expects another physical game.
Cassidy 'absolutely' expects hard edge of tonight's game to carry over to Saturday night in Syracuse.— Mark Divver (@MarkDivver) January 11, 2014
Despite going to the Final last year, Syracuse (15-14-2-4) is currently in the last place of their division and 11th in the Eastern Conference. Providence (20-11-1-5) is in second place of the Atlantic divison and fifth place in the Eastern Conference. In the last ten games, Providence is 6-2-0-2 while Syracuse is 3-4-1-2. At home, Syracuse is 5-7-0-2 and on the road, Providence is 11-6-0-3.
Providence went 0-for-4 on the power play last night, and Syracuse was 0-for-3.
Providence has the fifth ranked power play in the league at 22.0% (30/134). On the road, their power play is 24.2% (15/72). Syracuse has the 16th ranked power play (17.0%, 28/165). At home, their power play is slightly better a 18.4% (14/76).
On the penalty kill, Providence is 26th (78.5%). On the road, the P-Bruins have an 80.3% PK. Syracuse is 20th in the league with an 80.9% PK, with a much lower penalty kill percentage at home (73.5%).
Providence has scored two shorthanded goals, and given up zero against (one of only three teams in the league without a shorthanded goal against yet). Syracuse has scored four shorthanded goals and given up six.
Malcolm Subban has been out with an ankle injury, which means the P-Bruins have recalled David LeNeveu from the South Carolina Stringrays of the ECHL. He backed up Svedberg last night, and will be making his AHL debut in net tonight against Syracuse.
Watch the Game:
Although AHL Live charges a fee to watch games (about $7), check this game out if you need a way to kill time before the Boston game starts at 10:30, and you're not into watching football like I am. You can watch it here.