Providence Bruins

P-BRUINS WEEK IN REVIEW: 11/6/18 – 11/13/18

Nov 13, 2018

P-BRUINS WEEK IN REVIEW: 11/6/18 – 11/13/18

The Providence Bruins continue to dig themselves out of an early season hole, but the team put together their best weekend of the season and are showing signs that their struggles are gone. The P-Bruins took five of a possible six points, and although they sit in eighth place in the Atlantic Division at 5-7-2, they are just four points out of the third spot. With plenty of games within the division, the team still has the potential to skyrocket up the standings.

Weekend Recap

Playing just their second three-in-three weekend of the year, Providence kicked off their slate of games at home against the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins. The team led most of the night on the strength of a Martin Bakos first period goal, but with 4:52 left the Penguins tied things up 1-1 to send the game to overtime. While on a 4-on-3 power play, Ryan Fitzgerald made sure the crowd went home happy by lighting the lamp to give the P-Bruins a 2-1 win. The team traveled to Bridgeport Saturday looking to make it two wins in a row, however fell behind 4-2 into the final period. Jakub Zboril and Ryan Donato netted goals to send the game to overtime and secure a point, but the Sound Tigers eventually went on to a 5-4 win. Taking on the Pens at the Dunk again Sunday afternoon, Providence dominated play from started to finish for a convincing 5-2 victory. The P-Bruins outshot Wilkes-Barre Scranton 18-3 in the first period to set the tone of the day, and a pair of goals from Donato helped lead the offensive attack.

Dynamic Duo of Donato and Kovar

Donato and Jan Kovar did not start the season with the P-Bruins, but the team is happy to have them on board now and are benefiting from their production. Donato led the team this weekend with three goals and two came on the power play. Kovar tied for the team lead in weekend points (four) with all but one coming on the man-advantage. In his eight AHL games, he has scored at least in point in seven of them. The duo has been on the same line for the past four games with Donato on the left wing and Kovar at center, and the pair have come as advertised. Donato was sent to the AHL to regain his goal-scoring confidence and Kovar signed with the team as a playmaker from the KHL. Both have lived up to their reputations and have made an impression on both the Providence and Boston Bruins front office.

Top Performers

In addition to Donato and Kovar, several other P-Bruins had productive weekends. Fitzgerald tied Kovar for the team lead in points with a pair of multipoint games, including the game-winning overtime goal Friday. Cave also had four points and led the team with four assists. He continues to have a great season and is tied for 12th overall in the AHL with 15 points. He is almost halfway to his total scoring output from last season and is on pace to shatter his personal bests in all categories. Zach Senyshyn and Cody Goloubef each posted three points with Goloubef and Kovar being the only players to score in each of the team’s three games.

Special Teams Stepping Up

The Providence power play easily had their best weekend of the season thanks in no small part to the added talent. Going into Friday’s game the team was converting on just 15.9% of their chances, but the team scored a pair of goals on the man-advantage in each game to push their success rate up to 21.7%. Overall, they were 6-16 (37.5%) and nearly doubled their season total of power play goals. The team spread the wealth as five different players scored goals while up a man, including the first career goal for Joel Messner. Adding a prolific scorer like Donato helps, but Goloubef has been key to the power play success. He assisted on three of the goals and seven of his eight points this year have come via the power play. Cave has also earned his way into some chances, picking up his first two power play points of the season this weekend.

The team’s penalty kill has been strong all season and was again this weekend by killing off 15 of 16 opponent power plays (93.8%). On the year, the Bruin PK is first in the AHL with a 90.3% kill rate and are the only club with a mark above 90%. They are also the only team that has yet to allow a power play goal at home, as they have stopped each of their opponents last 20 attempts at the Dunk.

Roster Notes

The roster saw plenty of action this week as four players got the call up to Boston. On November 9, Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson earned his first NHL promotion since signing with the organization out of college. He has seen time in all situations for Providence this season and is now getting his chance to win the third line center role at the NHL level. Joona Koppanen was reassigned to Providence from Atlanta to take his place on the roster.

Jeremy Lauzon played Friday and Saturday for the P-Bruins, but injuries on the Boston blueline led to his second NHL recall November 11. It was a day for the youngster to remember, as not only did he get promoted, but scored his first NHL goal against former P-Bruin goalie Malcolm Subban. Injuries have also led to an opportunity for Jakub Zboril, who was promoted November 13. This marks the first time Zboril has been called up to the big club after they selected him 13th overall in the 2015 NHL Draft.

With Tuukka Rask on a leave of absence, Dan Vladar received the call up to Boston after Friday’s Providence game to serve as the team’s backup. Vladar has been the P-Bruin’s best goalie so far this season, posting a 2.52 GAA and save percentage of 90.9%. He did not get into any game action with Boston and was assigned back to Providence Tuesday when Rask returned to the team. Providence signed Sean Bonar to PTO to serve as Zane McIntyre’s backup on Saturday and signed Jake Hildebrand to a PTO to be the backup on Sunday.

What’s Ahead

The P-Bruins have a pair of home games this weekend, the first time in 2018 they will get to play back-to-back nights at the Dunk. The team faces Lehigh Valley Friday night at 7:05pm as Providence welcomes back the Phantoms bunch that ended their 2017-18 season in the first round of the playoffs. They follow that up with a 7:05pm face-off with the Rochester Americans, who make their only visit of the year to the Ocean State.

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The Providence Bruins are the American Hockey League affiliate of the NHL’s Boston Bruins, playing their home games at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Providence, RI. Spanning more than 25 years, the Boston/Providence affiliation is one of the longest and most successful player development partnerships in professional hockey history.

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