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Calder Cup Playoffs Round 1: The monkey on their backs

Once again the Providence Bruins must play their post-season Kryptonite. Can they finally shake them off?

Zane McIntyre in pregame ceremonies at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence.

Everything You Need To Know About This Series:

Providence Final Record:

43 wins, 23 losses, 6 Overtime Losses, 4 Shootout Losses

Providence Final Points total:

96 pts, 4th in the AHL Atlantic Division

Leading Goal-Scorer:

Jordan Szwarz, 22 points in 64 games (Career AHLer, don’t get excited.)

Leading Assist-Getter:

Wayne Simpson, 33 assists in 76 games (See above)

Who Are They Playing?:

The Wilkes/Barre-Scranton Penguins

Who are they, and why are they the monkey on their backs?:

Wilkes/Barre-Scranton is the post-season problem that the P-Bruins simply cannot get rid of.

Dating back to the 2012-13 season, and barring all but one year after that, Providence has in some way encountered WBS and has been bounced from Calder Cup contention in their series against each other. Granted, a good chunk of the recent results are typically one goal games with high scoring on both sides, but no matter what they do or how well they play, Wilkes-Barre always stands on top in the postseason for whatever reason. They are the living embodiment of a team designed to weed the Gold and Black out.

Even worse, the way the AHL playoffs work is that round one is a best of 5 series across all divisions. Three losses, and you’re gone. In their last two first rounds, they’ve been swept.

Is there hope?:

Of course, there’s always hope!

Three players on Providence almost finished with 50 points, including Peter Cehlarik, Jake DeBrusk, and Danton Heinen, to say nothing of course of the Career AHLers Wayne Simpson and Jordan Szwarz who’ve been making the most of their opportunity. and the P-Bruins have been prolific in terms of points in the depth, it takes almost two or three lines worth of forwards before you get to players that’ve accrued less than 30 points, and two whole pairings of defensemen who’re in the same boat.

On top of that, a big shot in the arm in Zach Senyshyn and Jeremy Lauzon will find Providence with even more offensive and defensive talent than they did only a week ago!

In a similar vein, Providence’s defense, although it’s been sluggish as of late, is currently 2nd best in division in GA, and tied for 4th in the league. Even with the multitude of concerns (real or imagined) about the goaltending, Zane McIntyre currently leads the AHL in SV% with .930%.

And of course, as we all know, the playoffs is a weird, magic time. Narratives love to write themselves about any sort of series, even at the semi-pro level. And this series? Should be absolutely no different. They just have to put their best foot forward and win game one emphatically.

Calder Cup Playoff Schedule:

Game 1 - Friday, April 21st at 7:05pm EST, Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence

Game 2 - Sunday, April 23rd at 3:05pm EST, Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence

Game 3 - Thursday, April 27th at 7:05pm EST, Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre

Game 4 - Friday, April 28th at 7:05pm EST, Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre (If needed)

Game 5 - Sunday, April 30th at 3:05pm EST, Mohegan Sun Arena in Wilkes-Barre (If needed)

Any other reason I should dislike the WBS Pens?:

Win by 30, Providence.