The Boston Bruins organization will have its first look at Boston College product and prized New York Rangers rookie Chris Kreider when Providence visits the Connecticut Whale this Saturday. It will also be the Baby Bs’ first encounter with second-time Rangers farmhand and former Boston University defenseman Matt Gilroy.
Gilroy, a former 2009 NCAA championship teammate of P-Bruins blueliners Colby Cohen and David Warsofsky, has had a hand in three of Connecticut’s nine power-play goals to date. Both of Kreider’s first two AHL points have been assists on extra-man conversions.
Entering this weekend’s action, the Whale are fifth in the AHL with a 28.1 percent success rate on the man advantage, while Providence has yet to go through a single game without authorizing at least one opposing power-play goal.
Before the Bruins and Whale converge on the XL Center, both parties will have a chance Friday to do something about their winless records on home ice. Providence will return to the Dunkin Donuts Center to conduct a rematch with the Springfield Falcons six nights after reaping a 3-1 victory out of the MassMutual Center.
Providence tamed the previously unbeaten Falcons in their last outing by rapidly eliminating an initial 1-0 deficit and negating a flurry of power-play and even-strength onslaughts before inserting two unanswered tallies at the other end.
A more assertive start to Friday’s tilt will be well-advised, as Springfield will doubtlessly be vying to bury its chances as they come. The Falcons have overcome only one deficit to date this young season, that being a 1-0 hole on opening night, but were in unfamiliar territory by the time they trailed by multiple goals against Providence last Saturday.
Conversely, the P-Bruins―who have led at one point in all four games-played thus far―made a breakthrough during last weekend's two-night, two-stop road trip when Jordan Caron raised the upper hand to 2-0 versus Manchester.
Over their excursion to Manchester and Springfield, they ultimately granted the hot-handed netminder Niklas Svedberg three different two-goal leads, plus a momentary 3-0 edge, none of which he allowed to evaporate in their entirety.
Svedberg figures to get the nod for a rematch with Falcons netminder Curtis McElhinney while the temporarily injured rookie Jared Knight should be reintegrated to shore up the Providence strike force.
In a deviation from the norm, Boston’s ECHL affiliate in South Carolina has already commenced its slate of action for this week, beginning a three-night road trip to Florida on Wednesday with a 5-4 shootout triumph over the Everblades.
Goaltender Shawn Hunwick repelled 39 out of 43 shots-faced in the first 65 minutes, followed by three of the five lightning-round stabs. Four of the Stingrays skaters logged a multipoint outing, including a playmaker hat trick for Mike Ullrich.
The Rays, who have followed a strict win-loss-win pattern over their first five games, will drop in on the Orlando Solar Bears Thursday night before turning back around for another tangle with the defending Kelly Cup champion Everblades on Friday.
The Solar Bears will return the visit to the North Charleston Coliseum Tuesday to help South Carolina conclude the first calendar month of the season.
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