P-Bruins Continue to Play Well
The New Year is upon us, and with the midway point of the AHL season looming, the Providence Bruins remain in good shape. Their record stands at 16-12-0-2 with 34 points, good for third in the Atlantic Division. Recently, they have continued their good play, going 6-4 over the last ten games. December was especially good for the P-Bruins, recording a record 8-3-1, the best winning percentage in a month under Coach Cassidy. The team continues to play strong on offense and defense, many nights out-shooting their opponents. They have shown that the early season difficulties are behind them and their hot stretch is not a fluke.
Offensively, the team has been led by their two veterans, Chris Bourque and Jamie Tardif. Bourque is the team’s leading scorer with 25 points, 18 of them coming on assists. He turned around any early season struggles to become the offense weapon Providence thought they would be getting. Bourque, who led the AHL in scoring last year, is tied for 16th in the league this year, but his playmaking skills and his ability to make everyone around him better are big reasons why this team is succeeding. Tardif is leading the team in goals, and his 15 goals are tied for 6th in the AHL. His rating of plus 3 is also tied for 5th on the team.
In net, both goalies continue to be strong. Niklas Svedberg has been the man the team is relying on, playing in 20 of the team’s 30 games. Overall, he is 12-6-1-1 with a strong 2.48 GAA and a save percentage of 92%. All of his numbers are good for at least top 20 in the league, and has cemented himself as the number one goaltender for the Bruins. Backup Michael Hutchinson has been solid as well, allowing Svedberg games to rest. His record is only 4-6-1, but that doesn’t mean he hasn’t played well. His save percentage is close to 90% and his GAA sits at 2.72. As we have seen in Providence over the past few years, a team cannot go anywhere without strong play from their goalies, and the team should continue to compete so long as these two keep up their current pace.
For a while, it has been known that the P-Bruins would be hosting the 2013 Dunkin’ Donuts AHL All-Star Classic on January 27-28. Now, we know who the captains for the game will be. Quintin Laing of the Abbotsford Heat will captain the Western All-Stars, and Providence captain Trent Whitfield will assume the role for the Eastern All-Stars. Both captains have had many years of AHL experience while making appearances at the NHL level. Whitfield has only suited up for six games this season, dealing with injuries since October.
The P-Bruins have 11 more games to go before the All-Star break, two coming over the weekend. On Friday night, the team will take on Portland at 7:05. After a day off Saturday, they will hit the ice again at 3:05 against Springfield. Both games will be home at the Dunkin Donuts Center.