The Providence Bruins look to extend their winning streak to 4 games tonight as they host the Bridgeport Sound Tigers at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence. The P-Bruins hope to leave for their extended road trip on a positive note; after tonight’s home game, they will be on the road for the next 7 games, not returning to The Dunk until April 12th.
This is the 7th of 8 meetings between the 2 teams this season. Providence, after losing the first 2 games of the season series, has won the last 4, including sweeping a home-and-home on February 15th and 16th by a total score of 12-6 in 2 games.
- Providence is 1st in the Atlantic division, 2nd in the Eastern Conference, and 3rd in the AHL overall with a 38-19-0-5 record after 62 games.
- The Sound Tigers are fighting for their playoff lives with 15 games left in the season, currently sitting at 4th in the Northeast Division and 13th in the Eastern Conference. Bridgeport has a record of 26-25-6-4 in 61 games, but their 62 points is only 6 points behind 8th place Connecticut.
- Providence has a favorable home record (21-9-0-3), and the visiting Sound Tigers have a poor road record (11-17-3-1).
- Providence is 7-2-0-1 in the last 10; Bridgeport is 4-2-3-1.
- Power Play: Providence ranks 8th in the AHL (18.5%); Bridgeport is 13th (17.2%)
- Penalty Kill: Providence ranks 8th (84.9%); Bridgeport is 27th (80.3%)
Goaltending Match Up
- Hutchinon v Reiter
The starting goaltenders for both teams will have the night off as Bridgeport’s Rick DiPietro will miss the game due to illness and Niklas Svedberg will rest up for a game against Worcester tomorrow night. This means Michael Hutchinson will get the start in net for Providence. Hutchinson is 8-12-3 this season, posting a .911 save % and 2.38 GAA. He has 1 shutout. Hutchinson started 1 game against Bridgeport previously this year, which was the 1st game against the Sound Tigers back in October when the Bruins lost 4-2.
Starting in net for Bridgeport will be rookie Kenny Reiter. He has yet to post a win this season, going 0-4-1 with a .913 save % and 2.69 GAA.
Fresh Faces and Line Up Notes
Bridgeport announced the addition of 2 new players to the roster today with the signings of 2 forwards – Sean Wiles out of the ECHL’s Las Vegas Wranglers (to a PTO) and Joey Diamond out of the University Maine of the NCAA to an ATO.
Meanwhile, Alex Khokhlachev will make his much-anticipated professional debut for the Providence Bruins. He will center a line with Jamie Tardif and Kyle MacKinnon.
Unfortunately, Providence will be without top forwards Ryan Spooner (still on NHL callup, obviously), Chris Bourque (upper body), and Christian Hanson (hand). Tyler Randell and Jared Knight are also out with injuries, although Knight is optimistic about returning to the lineup soon. On defense, Colby Cohen and Tommy Cross will be healthy scratches.
- Camper, Cunningham, Krug, Tardif
- DeFazio, Wishart; Niederreiter, Nelson, Donovan
In the season series between Providence and Bridgeport, Carter Camper has 7 points in 6 games. All 7 points are assists. Torey Krug has 6 points in 6 games (2 G, 4 A), and an uncharacteristic fighting major. Craig Cunningham has 5 goals in 6 games against the Sound Tigers.
Camper has 37 points this season (6 G, 31 A), 3rd on the team behind Spooner and Tardif. Camper has only appeared in 44 of the 62 games for Providence.
Cunningham is right behind Camper on the scoring sheet with 33 points (20 G, 13 A). Krug also has 33 points (9 G, 24 A).
Cunningham is the only player to appear in all 62 games for Providence this season.
Brandon DeFazio has 6 points against Providence in 6 games this season for Bridgeport (3 G, 3 A). Ty Wishart also has 6 points in 6 games (2 G, 4 A). Wishart only 15 points total on the season (4 G, 11 A), while DeFazio is only slightly better with 17 points (9 G, 8 A).
Bridgeport’s leading scorers are Nino Niederreiter, who has 26 G and 19 A for 45 points. Behind him is Brock Nelson (17 G, 25 A = 42 Pts), and defenseman Matt Donovan (9 G, 23 A = 32 pts).
Who & What to Look Out For
- Khokhlachev, Krug, Sauve
- Special teams
Aside from the obvious (Khokhlachev), Bruins fans should keep an eye out for Krug (as usual), who is on a 5 game point streak in which he has tallied 7 assists. Max Sauve has also gotten hot as of late after having a disappointing season – he has 3 goals in the last 4 games.
Tardif is returning to the lineup after missing 2 games with a brief injury. He and MacKinnon, who has 3 points in 3 games, should benefit greatly from having Khokhlachev as their centerman. Tardif still is one of the league leaders in PP goals, ranking 2nd in the AHL with 12.
Speaking of power play goals – did you notice the Bruins PP ranking climbing along with the PK? They have been fantastic the last few months on special teams. PP success usually dictates individual game success for the Bruins in this 2nd half of the season. In the last 10 games, they have had a PP of 26.3% – scoring 10 PP goals in 38 opportunities. They have gone only 2 games in that span without a PP goal, but have twice scored 2 PP goals in 1 game.
Their PK has also been unreal – they haven’t allowed a power play goal since February 26th! That’s 9 games with a PK success rate of 100% on 35 penaly kills. In the last 10 games, they have killed 38 of 39 – that’s 97%.
Hopefully they can keep up the great work against a desperate Sound Tigers team tonight.