Providence Bruins fall to Worcester Sharks in shootout, 3-2

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Providence Bruins fall to Worcester Sharks in shootout, 3-2

PROVIDENCE The Providence Bruins didnt get the twopoints on Sunday afternoon, but they probably should have.

The P-Bruins outshot the Worcester Sharks by a 53-32 marginand dominated long stretches of the contest, but ended up falling to the Sharksin the shootout by a 3-2 score at the Dunkin Donuts Center. For the weekend,however, Providence took five out of six points continuing to place themselvesin an improving position within the Eastern Conference.

Were disappointed but were not discouraged, saidP-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy. We wanted that additional point today, but wetook five out of six points. Thats been our best weekend so far, so well takeit.

James Sheppard scored as the first Sharks shooter in theextra session shootout and five Providence players were kept off the board tohand Worcester the extra point. Sharks goalie Harri Sateri went into thecontest featuring an ugly 3.64 goals against average and a weak .867 savepercentage, but he turned away nearly everything the P-Bruins threw at himwhile making 51 saves.

That helped tip the scales for a Worcester team thats beenlooking for some good goaltending.

Christian Hanson scored his second goal in as many gameswhen he pushes a shot past Sateri in the first period, and Providence appearedin complete control while outshooting the Sharks by a 25-8 margin. But theP-Bruins had a skater fall down during a power play at the end of first thatopened the door for a Yann Gourde shorthanded strike that tied things up with20 seconds to go in the first.

That killed Providences momentum and set up another evenperiod where Justin Florek and Tyler Kennedy traded goals. Floreks score washis first AHL goal of the season in 16 games while Kennedy sniped a top shelfbomb past Niklas Svedberg. Both sides battled to an even third period beforeProvidence dominated the overtime, but it took the always-exciting shootout toeventually decide things.

GOLD STAR: Hanson had two points and a first period goal that attempted to set the tone for the P-Bruins, and he had three shots on net. That the big-bodied center was able to do it after losing linemate Lane MacDermid to a first-period injury and adjusting to the introduction of Justin Florek to their line makes it all the more impressive. Even better Hanson was one of the players instrumental in getting Philadelphia Flyers scoutYou Can Play Executive Director Patrick Burke into the dressing room following the game to talk about ending homophobic slurs in the hockey locker room. All of that adds up to a massive impact on and off the ice on Sunday. Clearly, Sharks goaltender Harri Sateri was the player of the gamewith 51 saves in a stand-on-your-head type effort.

BLACK EYE: Jordan Caron and Ryan Spooner are two of the biggest offensive talents on the P-Bruins roster, but both were resoundingly silent Sunday. They both finished with one shot on goal apiece, and its amazing to think they barely had any offensive impact on a day when Providence had 50 plus shots on net. While Spooner has clearly done his offensive duty as the second-leading scorer on Providence this season, Caron could stand to pick up some offensive steam with five goals and seven points in 19 AHL games.

TURNING POINT: Providence could have put Worcester away by burying a few more of their first period chances while they were ringing up 25 shots on net, and MacDermid was smacking his only scoring chance of the game off the post before going down with an upper body injury. But instead the P-Bruins surrendered a short-handed goal in the closing seconds of the first period that tied things up, and all of their potential momentum was gone. Its been a common malady for Providence this year: outshooting opponents but having little to show for it at the end of the offensive outburst. It really speaks to needing more finishers on offense.

BY THE NUMBERS: 8 the number of shots on net for defenseman Zach Trotman, who has shown a tremendous ability early in his career to snake points shots through traffic all around the net. Thats something any NHL defensemen corps can use more of.

QUOTE TO NOTE: If you watched our games this weekend, I think our team is really coming together. Were starting to play the type of game thats going to make us effective: getting pucks deep, banging bodies and getting pucks to the net. Its simple hockey that I think the Bruins play top to bottom. Christian Hanson, who put together back-to-back multiple point games on Saturday and Sunday.

Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

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Rask stops 35 shots in Bruins' 2-1 win over Sabres

BUFFALO, N.Y. - Tuukka Rask made 35 saves to help the Bruins hold off the Buffalo Sabres 2-1 on Saturday

David Krejci and Patrice Bergeron scored to give Boston a 2-0 lead and the Bruins improved to 3-0-1 in their past four.

Evander Kane scored his first goal of the season for Buffalo. Robin Lehner returned after missing one game with a hip injury and made 32 saves.

The Sabres combined for nine goals in their previous two wins but the NHL's lowest-scoring team reverted to form from the first 21 games, when star center Jack Eichel was out of the lineup with a high-ankle sprain.

Krejci got the Bruins on the scoreboard with 5:50 left in the first when he deflected Brandon Carlo's slap shot from the point off the right post and into the net.

The Sabres appeared to tie the game late in the second period but replays determined Brian Gionta kicked the puck into the net.

Bergeron made it 2-0 at 7:10 of the second at 7:44 of the third when he knocked on the rebound of his own missed shot. Bergeron initially hit the puck with his forearm on the left edge of the crease and skated around the net to chase down the puck and slip a backhand past Lehner.

The Sabres answered two minutes later, scoring on Rask for the first time in 109:12 this season. Sam Reinhart's feed off the rear wall set up Kane for a wrist shot from the slot that bounced in off Krejci. Reinhart has five points in his last four games.

NOTES: Bruins F Matt Beleskey was escorted to the dressing room in the final minute of the first period with a lower-body injury and did not return. ... Sabres D Josh Gorges did not play after injuring his foot blocking a shot in Thursday's win over the New York Rangers. With Dmitry Kulikov (lower back) and Zach Bogosian (MCL sprain) also out, the Sabres were down three of their top four defenseman and recalled 19-year-old Brendan Guhle from the minors to make his NHL debut. Guhle hustled back to thwart a breakaway by Krejci late in the third period. ... F Anton Blidh became the seventh Bruin to make his NHL debut this season after being recalled from the minors on Friday. ... The Bruins scratched F Jimmy Hayes. D Zdeno Chara, the Bruins' captain, missed his sixth straight game with a lower-body injury. ... Rask got a shutout in Boston's 4-0 win over Buffalo on Nov. 7.

UP NEXT

Bruins: Host Florida on Monday.

Sabres: At Washington on Monday.

 

© 2016 by STATS and The Associated Press.

Gronkowski put on IR, officially ending his season

Gronkowski put on IR, officially ending his season

The Patriots have placed Rob Gronkowski on injured reserve, officially ending the injured tight end's season. 

The Patriots have added running back D.J. Foster to the 53-man roster. 

Gronkowski underwent surgery on his back Friday in Los Angeles. There was some hope he might be able to return if the Patriots reached the Super Bowl, but this move ends that.

More to come...