Boston Bruins Farm Report: Despite Call-Ups, Providence Is at Its Sharpest

Al DanielCorrespondent IIFebruary 4, 2013

With improved performances in both zones, prospect Torey Krug is starting to make a better case to return to Boston.
With improved performances in both zones, prospect Torey Krug is starting to make a better case to return to Boston.Bruce Bennett/Getty Images

Jamie Tardif notched his team-best 21st goal of the season and extended his goal-getting streak to three games during the Providence Bruins’ visit to Bridgeport last Thursday. With his timely tally, the P-Bruins drew a 2-2 knot with 5:13 to spare in regulation and proceeded to extend their winning streak to an identical three games in the shootout.

Tardif was subsequently summoned to the parent Boston Bruins, who had just lost a shoddy 7-4 decision to Buffalo as well as forwards Daniel Paille and Shawn Thornton in their own Thursday night outing. The multitude of injuries at the top level would mean stripping Providence of Tardif on top of the longer absence of Chris Bourque and giving the child club nothing in return.

But the remainders of Bruce Cassidy’s pupils made like their black-and-gold brethren and finished the weekend by flexing their depth. A 5-1 home lashing of the Albany Devils on Friday and a 2-0 whitewash of Worcester on Saturday augmented their winning streak to five games, matching a season high set in the first half of December.

Saturday’s score was ultimately settled when Carter Camper and Torey Krug collaborated to set up Craig Cunningham with a mere 2:33 gone in the first period. En route to giving Providence a fifth straight triumph, all three of the skaters in question helped themselves to a five-game scoring streak.

On the home front, the three goals allowed in three nights by goaltenders Niklas Svedberg and Michael Hutchinson constitute the best total in any succession of three games to date in 2012-13.

Hutchinson faced a manageable 22 shots, his lightest workload in any of his full-length outings, to help vanquish Albany and claim his first winning decision since Dec. 22. Svedberg rotated back in at Worcester and only needed to repel 26 Sharks stabs to extend his personal winning streak to five games and unbeaten run to nine (8-0-1).

For that, no small amount of credit is owed to the blue-line brigade, which was also instrumental in filling the opposing cage.

For the better part of 2012-13, the rookie defenseman Krug has not flaunted much of the skill set that earned him a two-game tryout in Boston after dropping out of Michigan State last March. Prior to Jan. 25, he had a 3-5-8 scoring log and minus-eight rating to his credit throughout a season spent strictly in the AHL.

But concomitant with the farm team’s five-game winning streak, Krug is fostering a five-game production tear, in which time he has charged up a 3-6-9 scoring transcript and padded on a plus/minus point each night.

Krug had a hand in setting up both of the P-Bruins’ regulation goals in Bridgeport, thus deleting 1-0 and 2-1 deficits. His goal on Friday, coming a mere 66 seconds after Max Sauve’s icebreaker and in the critical final minute of the opening frame, proved to be the game-clincher against Albany.

By night’s end, Krug had company in the multipoint club with fellow defender Matt Bartkowski and forwards Sauve and Ryan Spooner.

Though kept off the scoresheet in the team’s last two road ventures, Sauve likewise appears to be regaining his rhythm. He had four goals in his first seven outings of 2012-13, but then went through 26 consecutive appearances without one until he tuned the mesh again versus Portland Jan. 25.

Starting with that, he has five points in as many contests to coincide with the team’s active winning streak.

Spooner was silenced by the Sharks as well, but not before the rookie logged a career-best three points on Friday to extend his production streak to four games. He logged six assists in that span along with his first goal in two weeks.

Like Krug, Cunningham has made a tangible contribution to each of Providence’s five unanswered victories, most recently the icebreaker/game-winner in Worcester for his third goal in the last two weeks.

Cunningham previously had only one instance of points in consecutive games and no cases of hitting the net in two straight contests. The team’s reigning goal-scoring leader may finally be thawing out of his sophomore slide.

Rounding out the hot hands of late, Camper boasts a 1-7-8 scoring log since the start of the streak. Over the weekend, his 23 assists (along with Spooner’s 21) have eclipsed Bourque’s 20 for the team lead in the playmaking department.