The Providence Bruins and South Carolina Stingrays made their first transaction since the start of the season Wednesday when forward Alden Hirschfeld was elevated to the AHL. Whether or not he actually debuts in game action may depend on the performance of the current P-Bruins lineup in the earlier phases of their three-game weekend.
For the second consecutive weekend, Providence will face three different adversaries and sandwich a Saturday road trip with a pair of home dates.
Andrew Bodnarchuk’s second trip back to the Dunkin Donuts Center as a Manchester Monarch this Friday will be one of as many as three returns by a recent ally. A Bridgeport Sound Tigers team featuring Marc Cantin and Nathan McIver is dropping in for a Sunday matinee.
In between, the P-Bruins will open the last of their yet-to-be-tapped divisional season series with an excursion to Portland Saturday night. The host Pirates, who enter the weekend in the middle of the Atlantic leaderboard with an even .500 winning percentage, return a dozen skaters from the club that went 4-4-2 against Providence last year.
As it happens, the Bruins have mustered only one win at Portland’s Cumberland County Civic Center in each of the previous two years. In both cases, they reaped it in their first visit of the season series.
Providence’s two upcoming visitors constitute two of the AHL’s top 10 power-play squadrons, Bridgeport having converted 21.1 percent of its chances and Manchester an even 20 percent. Although, the Bruins’ improving penalty kill kept the Monarchs off the board in each of seven shorthanded segments in last Saturday’s 3-0 loss at Verizon Wireless Arena.
After going 19-for-27 on the PK through its first seven games, Providence is 22-for-24 in the four games since. Only Worcester, having gone a combined 4-for-8 in two meetings, has mustered any power play conversions at the Bruins’ expense this calendar month.
Manchester and Bridgeport could each offer a telling measuring pole in that department this weekend.
In their first weekend without Hirschfeld and on the heels of a 2-4-0 road trip, the Stingrays are home for three consecutive divisional game nights. They will tangle with the defending Kelly Cup champion Florida Everblades both Friday and Saturday before hosting the South Division-leading Gwinnett Gladiators.
South Carolina has already split of pair of meetings with each upcoming adversary.