P-BRUINS STILL ALIVE
The Providence Bruins are once again at the bottom looking up. They are currently last in the Atlantic Division at 26-28-3-3. They have amassed only 58 points, but still have some hope at making it into the postseason. The two teams tied for second place, Worcester and Manchester, both have 61 points. With 16 games left to play for the P-Bruins, they certainly have a chance to make up the three points they currently trail by. They will face Manchester once before the end of the season and Worcester twice, including a game in the final month of the season. The one aspect not to be overlooked when it comes to catching Worcester is that the Bruins have already played three more games than the Sharks. The task of becoming a playoff team is a challenging one no doubt, and if the Bruins continue their poor play it will soon be impossible.
The biggest problem the Bruins had last home stand was their goaltending. With Anton Khudobin suffering a wrist injury and Michael Hutchinson being recalled to Boston, the P-Bruins goaltending depth was thin. Goalies Adam Courchaine and Karel St. Laurent both had a dismal weekend. The two let up a combined 14 goals in three games, an average of 4.67 goals per game. It is hard to say who was worse. Courchaine allowed two soft goals in his start Friday and followed up the next day getting pulled in the first period. St. Laurent was pulled in the second period after allowing 5 goals, many of them shots the average goalie would get to. This obviously will not get it done in the regular season or postseason. Luckily for Providence, the Boston Bruins have assigned Hutchinson back to Providence after they signed veteran goalie Marty Turco to be Tim Thomas’ backup. He will take over between the pipes where he has had solid numbers. Though he is only 6-11, he has a 2.62 GAA and a save percentage of .920. He will be relied upon until Khudobin is able to return to action. As long as Providence can remain solid in net, they should have a strong final push based on their recent offensive play.
Though the team got swept over the weekend and played awful in net, they did not play as bad as one might think. Friday night they faced Michael Leighton, former Flyers starting goalie. They moved the puck well and set up plays, but just couldn’t light the lamp more than once. Saturday was once again an example of them moving the puck well but not having much to show for it. Sunday’s game may have been one of the better offensive performances the team had all year. They scored on three power play attempts and their passes looked crisp. They finally have started looking like a team with chemistry and they have done it three games in a row. It is still early to say they have done it consistently, but a strong performance this weekend and that statement may not be so crazy.
The P-Bruins will play three games again this weekend, including one against the Worcester Sharks. Every game and every point is important at this point in the season, and the Bruins need to step up if they are going to steal a playoff spot.