When the Providence Bruins went up 3-0 in the series against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, I had a thought in the back of my mind: "dear God, please don't let this go seven games." But here we are.
I'll skip the painful details. The main reason we are here is that the Bruins top scorers (Bourque, Spooner, Tardif) just aren't cutting it in the last three games that have gone the Penguins way. The series has been a bloodbath, dating back to the first game in which the AHL declined to suspend some worthy dirty plays. It escalated when Zach Trotman was concussed and taken out of the remainder of the playoffs with a third major head injury of the season in game two, but that player was not suspended either.
There was an all-out brawl in game five that resulted in only one player, Graham Mink, getting four games. He is replaceable on the fourth line, but the biggest thing the Bruins have been missing is defense. They suffered the first major blow when Matt Bartkowski got called up before the series even started, and then Torey Krug got called up after game two.
Krug's absence has been the most noticeable on the power play, where the Bruins have barely been able to get shots on net. They haven't had a power play goal since game two. Since then, they have gone 0-for-14. The Penguins have scored at least one power play goal in every game except game three, including going 3-for-11 in game five.
Meanwhile, the Penguins have been scoring at a ridiculously high rate on their own power play opportunities - which have been suspiciously high to begin with, if you ask me. But it boils down to the P-Bruins just not getting it done. Niklas Svedberg stole one game - game three, which Carter Camper won 31 seconds into overtime - but he has been pretty bad ever since.
Game six ended in overtime with a goal from Trevor Smith to send the series to a game seven, despite the Bruins firing 47 shots at Brad Thiessen to only 18 shots on Niklas Svedberg. It sets up a pretty good drama that everyone should give a chance to tune in to tonight. If you can't get to Providence to watch the game, go to the AHL website and tune in on AHL Live.