Providence Pregaming: P-Bruins Host A-Devils; Hirschfeld Recalled

Ryan Spooner finished off the month of January on a hot streak and hopefully won’t miss a beat, beginning the month of February as Providence’s leading scorer in the absence of Jamie Tardif.

The Providence Bruins look to extend a 3-game winning streak and continue to close in on the Portland Pirates for 1st place in the Atlantic division tonight at the Dunkin Donut Center as they host the Albany Devils in what may come down to yet another shootout showdown.

Providence is 23-16-0-3 (49 points) in 42 games this season, placing them 2nd in the Atlantic division and 5th in the Eastern conference.

Albany is 17-14-1-8 (43 points) in 40 games, putting them 3rd in their Northeast division and out of the current playoff picture at 11th in the Eastern conference.

Providence is coming off of a shootout victory last night in Bridgeport, which may be fitting because the previous 2 games between Providence and Albany this season have both been decided in the shootout. Providence has won both of those games by a score of 2-1 – once in Providence on November 9th and again in Albany on December 15th.

Last time around, David Warsofsky got the game-winning goal in the 9th round of the shootout in a game that saw Zach Trotman score the only regulation goal for Providence and Michael Hutchinson notch the number 1 star on the night. Niklas Svedberg had won the previous shootout win against the Devils.

Providence has a 12-7-0-3 record on their home turf, while the Albany Devils are 9-6-1-3 on the road. Providence also has a great record against the Northeast division: 11-6-0-0; against the Atlantic, Albany is merely 3-3-0-3 this season. Still, in their last 10, both teams are similar: Providence is 6-3-0-1, and Albany 5-3-0-2. What separates them is shootout victories.

In fact, Albany is 0-8 in shootouts this season, the only team in the East without a shootout win yet and only 1 of 2 teams in the league. Providence is 6-3 in shootouts.

Taking a look at special teams, Providence has a rare advantage in numbers on the power play. Albany is 27th in the league in power play percentage with 12.2%, while Providence is 21st at 15.6%. On the penalty kill, however, Albany has the advantage at 83.9% (14th) to Providence’s 82.4% (18th). Each team has 1 power play goal in the season series.

Providence will have to make do without their leading goal scorer and 2nd leading goal scorer in the entire AHL, Jamie Tardif (21 goals), who was called up to Boston on an emergency basis last night. (Since then, Alden Hirschfeld has been recalled from South Carolina of the ECHL.) That leaves Ryan Spooner as the P-Bruins top scorer at 8 goals, 19 assists and 27 points on the season. Spooner is also an impressive +9 on a team that has an overall goal differential of -5.

The next leading scorers for Providence are Carter Camper (5-20=25), Craig Cunningham (9-9=18), Max Sauve (5-11=16, +4), and Christian Hanson (5-10=15). Torey Krug is next on the list and the top scoring defensemen with 5 goals and 9 assists for 14 points.

The Albany Devils leading scorer, Bobby Butler, has 16 goals and 10 assists for 26 points. Butler has a +11 rating, 5 power play goals, and 1 shorthanded goal. The Massachusetts native has 1 of Albany’s 2 regulation goals against Providence this season (the other was scored by Adam Henrique, who is now with the New Jersey Devils).

Albany’s next leading scorers are Joe Whitney (11-13=24, +14), Steve Zalewski (7-16=23), Harri Pesonen (9-10=19), and Mattias Tedenby (9-8=17). Their leading scorer on the blue line is Eric Gelinas (4-8=12).

Providence continues to be lead in penalty minutes by Bobby Robins, with 211 total PIM. That number also leads the entire AHL. Robins also tops the AHL in majors, with 25. The Albany Devil with the most penalty minutes is Tim Sestito, with 55. In the one fight that took place in the previous 2 games this season, Robins dropped the gloves with Alexander Urbom.

Both goaltenders for each team have played against this opponent this season.

For Providence, starting rookie goaltender Niklas Svedberg, with a record of 19-6-2 in 28 games – including 4 shootout wins – ranks 2nd in the entire AHL in goaltender wins. He has a 2.32 GAA (9th best) and a 0.922 save % (7th). He has recorded 1 shutout. Backup Hutchinson has played in 16 games and has a record for 4-10-1 with a 2.73 GAA and 0.897 GAA.

Albany’s starting goaltender is Keith Kinkaid, who has played in 26 games and posted 2 shutouts. He has a record of 14-8-4. His 14 wins put him in a tie for 11th most in the AHL. His 2.36 GAA is 12th best in the AHL, while his 0.917 save % is 15th. Jeff Frazee, who has played in 14 games, is 3-7-4 with 2.47 GAA (18th in the AHL) and .909 save %. Both goaltenders share an AHL record for most shootouts without a win, as they both have 0 wins in the shootout this year.

The puck drops at 7pm tonight. Make sure to check it out, it should be a good game!

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