On a day when the NHL’s top story signaled that he will not be catering to the congregants of Boston’s TD Garden any time in the near future, Jordan Caron carried on. In doing so, he proved an invaluable insurance man to the Providence Bruins, as his hat trick piloted a 4-3 win over the host Manchester Monarchs.
Each of Caron’s three goals augmented an existing lead to 2-0, 3-0 and 4-2. His third strike on as many shots, coming at 8:34 of the second period, also proved to be the P-Bruins’ third power-play conversion in as many tries up to that point.
The awakening of those two entities, who were both noticeably quiet in back-to-back losses last weekend, was the most jutting difference, as the Bruins finally followed up on a jumpstart sparked by the likes of Ryan Spooner and Jamie Tardif.
Spooner converted Tardif’s feed to help their line draw first blood for the third time in as many games this season. But this time, the edge never vanished and special teams could only bend, never break Providence.
In turn, the adage the third try's the charm came to fruition for Bruce Cassidy’s pupils.
That said, the multifold three had ample company among the noteworthy data in Friday’s finished product, which speaks to a P-Bruins team that was good enough, though still far from infallible.
Manchester goals scored on veteran defenseman Garnet Exelby’s watch. He joined only Zach Trotman in that distinction among the Bruins' blueliners and joined only Craig Cunningham and Christian Hanson in the way of increasing their plus/minus rating.
Assist apiece for fellow Boston University alumni Chris Bourque and David Warsofsky, who collaborated to set up Caron’s second tally, which gave Providence a 3-0 edge at 16:17 of the opening frame.
Last season, Bourque was the top playmaker among all AHL skaters while Warsofsky led P-Bruins defensemen with 24 helpers. After Warsofsky imported Bourque’s feed on the far point and let his laser chip in off Caron’s twig, they each had their 2012-13 icebreaker in the point column.
In addition, Warsofsky was heavily involved in drawing his team’s first two power plays and was the only skater on the ice for all three Providence conversions.
There is yet more to this digit’s importance Friday night besides the goal bushel for Caron and the Providence power play.
Elsewhere, Manchester mustered three shots on goal during its first of two unanswered power plays in a scoreless third period. Bruins backstop Niklas Svedberg, who had let a two-goal lead dissolve to 4-3 during the previous penalty kill late in the previous stanza, stood firm this time to repel every bid.
Total penalty minutes on the night for Tardif, who nearly wrapped up a Gordie Howe Hat Trick when he made a run for the Monarchs' empty net in the waning seconds of the third period.
Tardif fought with Richard Clune late in the second period and sandwiched that infraction with a pair of two-minute minors for hooking and elbowing.
Seconds between the completion of the Bruins’ first penalty kill and the insertion of their second goal. Upon breaking out of the box, defenseman Matt Bartkowski forced a turnover and left a loose puck for Caron to scoop up and take to the other end for his first of three deposits on the night.
It was not quite the same burn as what Providence brooked a couple of times last weekend when allowing shorthanded goals that drew a 1-1 knot and effectively reversed the momentum. But by nabbing that previously elusive 2-0 lead so soon after thwarting an opposing power play, they set a refreshingly assertive tone with the contest barely eight minutes old.
Shots on goal by Manchester after the halfway mark of regulation, which was one more than the 16 stabs it took within the first 30 minutes of play.
Conversely, the P-Bruins had landed 12 stabs at Monarchs netminder Martin Jones, including all four goals, before the second period was half over. Yet they would only muster five more for the rest of the night, all the while taking four shifts on the penalty kill as opposed to only one more on the power play.
They pushed their luck a little bit in that regard, but Svedberg never cracked and never spilled the lead en route to a 30-save win in his AHL debut.