P-Bruins Week in Review
There are just six games left in the AHL season and the Providence Bruins remain in strong postseason position. The team sits fourth in the Atlantic Division at 35-24-8-3 with 81 points and are five points clear of fifth place Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. They are two points back of third place Hershey, however the Bears have played one fewer game than the Bruins. The P-Bruins, which took only two of a possible six points this week, does hold the tiebreaker against each of those clubs and their magic number to clinch a seventh consecutive postseason berth is now 10.
Providence started their week Wednesday in Wilkes-Barre/Scranton against a Penguin team looking to make up ground in the playoff race. In what was close to a must-win game for them, Tristan Jarry and the Penguins shutout the Bruins 2-0. It was just the second time all season Providence had been shutout as Jarry stopped all 23 shots the team threw at him. The P-Bruins bounced back Friday in Syracuse, defeating the Crunch 3-2 to sweep their season series. Lee Stempniak put Providence on the board first in the opening period, but Syracuse tied things up early in the third. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson made sure the score was not tied for long, scoring just 15 seconds later to help Providence regain the lead. Gemel Smith netted a goal two minutes later to give the team some breathing room and the P-Bruins went on to a 3-2 win. Facing off against Hershey Saturday, Providence looked to be heading for another victory to put some space between themselves and the Bears. However, the team let a third period lead slip away and ultimately fell to Hershey 2-1.
The P-Bruins scored four goals this week, and Lee Stempniak had his fingerprints on every one of them. Stempniak scored a pair of goals and had the primary assist on the other two in what was his best week of the season. He skated at right wing with Peter Cehlarik at left wing and Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson at center while also being part of the team's top power play unit. The veteran now has six goals and six assists for 12 points in 15 games played and has been a solid source of production since signing in mid-February.
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson posted two points this weekend, scoring the go-ahead goal Friday and posting an assist on their only goal Saturday. Gemel Smith netted the game-winning goal Friday and is now tied for third on the team with 14 goals on the year. He now has posted career highs in both goals and points (34) despite playing in just 41 AHL games. Peter Cehlarik earned a pair of assists this weekend and was one of three Bruins (Stempniak, Forsbacka Karlsson) with multiple points. He is four points from tying his career high and five points away from his 100th AHL point.
Karson Kuhlman has been up-and-down on emergency recall to Boston, but has not played for Providence since March 20. He looks to be Boston's top forward option the rest of the way, so going between the NHL and AHL won't be uncommon. No other players have been added or subtracted from the roster, but one of their new additions made his pro debut. Former Brown captain Tommy Marchin skated at left wing on the team's fourth line Friday and Saturday, going scoreless in two games. He signed a one-year AHL deal for next season and is currently on a PTO.
The P-Bruins have another three-in-three weekend upcoming, and it starts against a division rival. Providence plays at the Dunk Friday night at 7:05pm for the start of a home-and-home series with the Bridgeport Sound Tigers. After traveling to Bridgeport Saturday at 7pm for the road half of the series, the team returns home Sunday at 3:05pm for their final matchup of the season with the Utica Comets.
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