P-Bruins Week in Review
The 2018-19 regular season is nearly complete, but it certainly looks like there will be postseason hockey in Providence. By taking four of a possible six points this weekend, the P-Bruins are close to their seventh straight postseason berth and 22nd in 27 years. The team's magic number sits at one, meaning any win by Providence, any game that goes to overtime or any loss by the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins clinches a spot in the postseason. Seeding is still to be determined, but they currently sit fourth in the Atlantic Division at 37-25-8-3 and 85 points.
The P-Bruins welcomed the Bridgeport Sound Tigers to the Dunk Friday night in their highest scoring game of the year. The teams combined for 14 goals with Providence lighting the lamp a season-high eight times. The Sound Tigers jumped out to an early lead, but the P-Bruins answered back with three straight goals and six of the next seven to take a commanding 6-2 lead. Bridgeport chipped away at the lead and eventually trimmed their deficit to 7-6 with five minutes left, but a late empty net goal sealed an exciting 8-6 Providence win. The teams met again Saturday night in Bridgeport, and again the Sound Tigers took the early lead 2-0. Paul Carey evened the score with a pair of goals in the final five minutes of the first, sending the clubs to intermission knotted 2-2. The Sound Tigers bounced back with a goal in the second and a goal in the third to regain a two-goal lead, and ultimately came away with a 4-3 win. Returning home Sunday against the Utica Comets, the P-Bruins fell behind 1-0 into the second period. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson tied things up late in the middle frame with a power play goal and Carey put Providence on top for good midway through the third. An empty netter from Anton Blidh secured the game and gave the P-Bruins a 3-1 victory.
Carey named AHL Player of the Week
The American Hockey League named Paul Carey the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending April 7, 2019. Carey scored five goals and totaled eight points in three games while leading the team in scoring since being acquired from the Senators January 11. Carey had multipoint performances in all three games, including a four-point night Friday. He capped the weekend with a game-winning, third period goal on Sunday and now has six game-winners with Providence.
Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson put together his best weekend of the season and is riding a five-game point streak. He scored a goal in each of the team's three games over the weekend and had a multipoint game Friday. Forsbacka Karlsson totaled four points despite having new line mates each night, and over his point streak has four goals and two assists for six points. The center has moved between the second and third line and has been back and forth from the NHL, but his scoring pace at the AHL level is still slightly ahead of where it was last season.
In addition to Carey and Forsbacka Karlsson, two other Bruins scored in each game while four others recorded at least one multipoint game. Jordan Szwarz did both, scoring in each contest while posting multipoint games Friday and Sunday. He was second on the team with five points and continues to lead the team in overall scoring with 44 points. Rookie defenseman Cooper Zech also scored in all three games, tallying an assist in each one. Ryan Fitzgerald and Gemel Smith each scored a goal and an assist on Friday, while Lee Stempniak posted a pair of helpers on Saturday.
Now that Boston's regular season is complete, the team has returned some of Providence's key players from emergency recall. Anton Blidh, Trent Frederic, Jeremy Lauzon and Zach Senyshyn all came down after getting a taste of the NHL, and for Senyshyn it was his first career call-up to Boston. Michael Doherty also returns to the team after signing another PTO with the club, so the team's depth should be strong going into the postseason. Two key members of the team not returning for the foreseeable future are Karson Kuhlman and Connor Clifton, who will remain in Boston for the start of their playoff run.
The P-Bruins wrap up the regular season with one final three-in-three weekend. The team welcomes Lehigh Valley to the Dunk Friday night at 7:05pm before heading to Springfield for their last road game of the year Saturday at 7:05pm. Providence concludes the season Sunday at the Dunk with a 3:05pm matinee against the Thunderbirds.
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