P-BRUINS LOOK TO PLAY SPOILER VS. WHALE
Providence Hosts Connecticut in the First Game Since Being Eliminated from the Playoffs
Providence, RI - The Providence Bruins (33-35-3-3, 72 PTS, 5th Atlantic) host the Connecticut Whale (38-28-2-6, 84 PTS, 3rd Atlantic) tonight at the Dunkin' Donuts Center for the teams' final meeting of 2010-11. This season, the P-Bruins are 4-4-0-1 against the Whale, but just 1-3-0-0 in Rhode Island.
Providence was shutout 3-0 on Tuesday in Portland by the Pirates, officially eliminating the P-Bruins from contention for the Calder Cup Playoffs for the second straight year. That marks only the first time in the team's 19-year history that it's missed the postseason in consecutive seasons.
Connecticut is currently third in the Atlantic Division and will likely be the last New England team to make the playoffs. The Whale have not played a game since Sunday, when the P-Bruins came out on top 4-2 at The Dunk. Kirk MacDonald had the game's winning goal and added an empty-netter to seal the deal in the final minute of play. Trent Whitfield had a power play goal and two assists, while Khudobin blocked 31 shots.
The game is of the utmost importance for Connecticut, which is just four points ahead of Worcester for what will likely be the Atlantic's final playoff spot after Binghamton crosses over from the East Division. All three squads have just six contests left in the regular season.
Jamie Arniel's 45 points and 20 goals are both Providence highs, while Zach Hamill leads the way with 32 assists. Center Kris Newbury currently leads the Whale in points (56) and assists (41). Jeremy Williams has lit the lamp 29 times, tops for all Whale skaters.
P-Bruins goalie Anton Khudobin is 26-15-2 with a 2.51 GAA, .912 save percentage and two shutouts this season. In 13 games for Providence, he is 7-3-1 with a 2.32 GAA. Back-up goalie Michael Hutchinson is 10-10-1 with a 3.33 GAA, an .898 save percentage and one shutout. On the other side, Whale netminder Dov Grumet-Morris has an 11-4-1 record with an even 2.00 GAA, a .927 save percentage and one shutout. Fellow Connecticut goalie Cameron Talbot is 11-6-2 with a 2.56 GAA, .913 save percentage and two shutouts.
Williams is the top point-getter in the season-series with 10 points against Providence, including five goals and five assists. Newbury's seven assists are a season-series high. Maxime Sauve is the P-Bruins' leader with five goals and his six points are tied with Arniel and Hamill, who each show five assists.
Talbot owns the best record (3-0-0), GAA (1.00), and save percentage (.968) of all net-minders in the series this season. Grumet-Morris picked up his first regulation loss against the P-Bruins last weekend, and has a 2-1-1 overall mark against them, along with a 2.66 GAA and .918 save percentage. For the P-Bruins, Khudobin has the best stat line of active Providence goalies against Connecticut with a 1-0-1 record and 2.40 GAA, as well as a .919 save percentage.
The P-Bruins rank 29th (13.3%) in the AHL on the power play and 27th (78.6%) on the penalty kill, where they've successfully silenced 11 straight man-advantages. Connecticut is sixth (19.5%) on the man advantage and tied for 11th (83.4%) when killing off penalties.
The P-Bruins will be in Worcester for a 7:05 p.m. puck drop on Saturday before returning home to host the Sharks on Sunday at 4:05 p.m. for Team Poster Night. The posters are free to the first 1,000 fans in attendance. To purchase tickets or for more information, call the Providence Bruins' ticket office at (401) 273-5000 or log on to the team website at providencebruins.com.
For all the latest Providence Bruins news, updates and special offers, become a fan of the P-Bruins on Facebook at facebook.com/providencebruins or follow the club on Twitter at twitter.com/AHLBruins.