A LOOK AHEAD
The Bruins have another great opportunity to put some points in the bank this weekend, taking on three struggling teams – two on home ice.
Friday will see the Albany Devils make their last regular season trip to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center. Albany is a team that has dropped six straight (0-3-1-2), and a team that has failed to score more than one goal in any of those six games.
Albany hasn’t played since losing 5-0 on home ice last Saturday night at the hands of the Bruins. In the thick of the North Division playoff race, expect Albany to come into Providence desperate on Friday night.
On Saturday the Bruins will travel to Springfield to take on the Thunderbirds before returning home on Sunday to host the Hartford Wolf Pack.
WEEK IN REVIEW
Providence took care of business last weekend, sweeping a three-in-three, winning all three games by a combined score of 13-3.
Peter Mueller delivered the game-winning goal on Friday night against the Hartford Wolf Pack, scoring early in the second period to break a 1-1 tie. Providence went on to win 3-1, outshooting Hartford 49-24 in the process.
On Saturday, in what might have been the team’s last ever visit to Albany’s Times Union Center, the Bruins exploded for four goals in the second period on the way to a 5-0 win over the Devils. Daniel Vladar earned his first pro shutout, and the team saw five different goal scorers contribute to the dominating effort. Six players registered two points apiece, and Vladar ultimately turned aside 34 shots to improve his AHL record to 4-0-2.
Sunday’s return to Hartford saw the Bruins erase another early 1-0 deficit, scoring five more goals en route to a 5-2 win over the lowly Wolf Pack. Alex Grant scored a pair of goals, increasing his career high total to 16 through 62 games played. He now has 42 points this season, matching his career high total from a year ago.
COACHES CORNER – JAY LEECH
On last weekend: “My takeaway from [last] weekend was how consistently hard we played for each game, which was encouraging. On the road, playing teams that, on paper, you should win against. It was up to us to bring it every game, and we did.”
On having a crowded D corps: “It’s a ‘moving target’ as Kevin Dean would say. You’ve got nine guys and obviously our guys who have played all year will have a good opportunity. And we’ve got some kids who are well regarded in the organization, and they’re going to have to play too. Hopefully we can make it work where it makes sense for everybody. And we’ve got nine games left and hopefully each guy is playing enough to get tuned up for what we hope will be a good playoff run – and that’s the ideal way of looking at it and that’s our goal moving forward.”
On this weekend: “We’ve got to take Albany, they’re going to be hungry, they’ve lost some games – their last game was us – and so they’ve been sitting all week on that and it will be a tough one.”
PLAYERS PERSPECTIVE – TOMMY CROSS
On the team’s balance between veterans and rookies: “I think both those groups have guys that play important roles. On any given weekend – on a Friday night it’s the young guys that are pushing us and the rest of the weekend maybe it’s the older guys. We have some bridge guys too, guys who have been here for two or three years, who are carrying their weight too. We’ve been doing it by committee and I think it’s going to continue.”
On avoiding a letdown this weekend: “I think you just look at the standings and realize how tight it is and if you do that, the thought of taking a step backwards shouldn’t even cross your mind. I think all the teams [in the playoff race] are going to keep winning, so the first team to start losing is going to be the team that’s not going to make it. We don’t want that to be us so I think we’ve just got to keep grinding and collecting points.”