Boston Bruins: Weekend Preview for Their Minor League Affiliates

Al DanielCorrespondent IIDecember 13, 2012

UNIONDALE, NY - MARCH 31: Jordan Caron #38 of the Boston Bruins skates against the New York Islanders at the Nassau Veterans Memorial Coliseum on March 31, 2012 in Uniondale, New York. The Bruins defeated the Islanders 6-3.  (Photo by Bruce Bennett/Getty Images)
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

The Providence Bruins will try to follow the New England Patriots’ act of hosting and humbling the best team in their conference when the Springfield Falcons drop in Friday night. They will also be under observation in the attacking zone all weekend as their presumably improving offense will face a multitude of the league’s better backstops.

Springfield holds an Eastern Conference- and AHL-leading .727 winning percentage and, as was the case when these teams opened their season series Oct. 20, enter the action on a three-game winning streak.

So far, each party has claimed a regulation win at each other’s domain, the Falcons’ Curtis McElhinney posting a 33-save, 3-0 shutout at The Dunk in their last encounter Oct. 26.

At that point in the season, the five-game mark, the P-Bruins had scored on 10 of their 141 shots on net for a 7.1 percent conversion rate. Now, after 22 games, they have nailed 53 of 745 shots for an identical 7.1 success percentage, although they most recently scored 10 times out of 107 registered tries in three outings last weekend for 9.3 percent connection.

McElhinney, who as of Thursday morning is the third among AHL stoppers with a 1.92 goals-against average and .940 save percentage, will be a top-echelon measuring pole for the Providence strike force.

So too will another extra-divisional rival in Saturday’s contest against Albany, whether it is Jeff Frazee or Keith Kinkaid―both among the top 10 in goals-against average―scraping the blue paint for the host Devils.

The Bruins will return home from that night trip Sunday to seal their season series with the St. John’s IceCaps and another fairly stingy stopper in Eddie Pasquale. Presumptive starters Pasquale and Niklas Svedberg of Providence have swapped shutouts against each other’s teams and the Bruins hold a 4-3 points edge by virtue of a 3-2 shootout triumph on the road Nov. 24.

Not unlike the P-Bruins with Springfield and St. John’s, the Bruins’ ECHL affiliate in South Carolina will have a shutout loss to avenge this weekend, but will also play a reversed role. They start on Friday with their third unanswered bout with the Greenville Road Warriors in six days and then return home Saturday to host the Gwinnett Gladiators.

The Stingrays were victims of a 6-0 whitewash at the hands of the Warriors last time out. Conversely, they force-fed Gwinnett a lemon-based, 2-0 doughnut in their last encounter two weeks ago.