Boston Bruins: Weekend Preview for Their Minor League Affiliates
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No later, and possibly sooner, than Sunday’s home date with the Manchester Monarchs, the Providence Bruins will be down six regulars. Mark Divver of the Providence Journal noted Wednesday that forwards Chris Bourque, Lane MacDermid, Ryan Spooner and Jamie Tardif will join defensemen Matt Bartkowski and David Warsofsky at Boston’s belated training camp, which should be starting Sunday.
In a Tuesday tweet, Divver also noted that injuries to Colby Cohen and Garnet Exelby will leave the Bruins without two other blueliners.
It is unclear whether Providence will be icing this heavily revised roster for one or all of its three weekend games, but odds are similar repercussions will affect every opponent.
The first of those adversaries will be the Bridgeport Sound Tigers, who may or may not have the recently injured likes of Brock Nelson and Travis Hamonic back in action. It is safe to assume that point-per-gamer Nino Niederreiter is a call-up candidate for the parent New York Islanders, but he may still dress for Bridgeport if NHL training camp does not start until Sunday.
A little less than two months later, they hope to flaunt another example of their recent redress when the Sound Tigers visit the Dunkin Donuts Center on Friday.
With three games in hand, the Bruins will enter this matchup trailing Bridgeport by two points for sixth place in the AHL’s Eastern Conference. In addition, the converging adversaries have a similar track record so far in the new calendar year.
Providence is 1-2-0 so far in January while Bridgeport is 0-2-1. As is the case for the P-Bruins, the Tigers’ two most recent regulation losses have been dealt by the Portland Pirates―complete with hot-handed goalie Mark Visentin―and the Springfield Falcons.
As it happens, Providence will have another shot at the Falcons when they venture up to the MassMutual Center on Saturday. In their last contest, the host Bruins let a 1-1 draw swiftly devolve into a 4-1 loss in the second half of the third period.
Sunday’s tilt with the Monarchs will bring the P-Bruins to the halfway mark of their 12-game season series with Manchester. Providence has a 3-2-0 upper hand thus far, having won each of the past two meetings at home by identical 3-2 scores, Nov. 16 and Dec. 7.
Naturally, the repercussions of NHL training camp extend to the lower levels of the minors. Providence has plucked two regular forwards in Justin Courtnall and Tyler McNeely (a former Sound Tiger) out of South Carolina, which will be in Trenton both Friday and Saturday and Wheeling on Sunday.
Ironically, another P-Bruins reinforcement, former Providence College defenseman Eric Baier, was last seen in action with the Trenton Titans.
Sans Baier, the Titans will try to avenge a pair of overtime/shootout losses to the Stingrays from when the Bruins’ ECHL partner hosted them Dec. 7-8.
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