Talking Points: P-Bruins blank IceCaps, 3-0

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Talking Points: P-Bruins blank IceCaps, 3-0

PROVIDENCE, RI The Providence Bruins (3-5, 6 points) have been searching all season for a win they can point to as a complete game, and they finally got it in a 3-0 shutout of the St. Johns IceCaps on Sunday afternoon at the Dunkin Donuts Center.

P-Bruins energy line brawler Bobby Robins finished with a goal and an assist and Swedish goaltender Niklas Svedberg made 18 saves for his first AHL shutout in a white-washing of the IceCaps. Even better the P-Bruins penalty kill shut down St. Johns power play in seven chances, and Providence chipped in a power play goal in a solid special teams display.

This kind of effort hasnt been common enough in a 3-5 start for Providence this season, but clearly P-Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy will take it.

It was our most complete game of the year, and I thought the Christian Hanson line with Robins and Lane MacDermid dominated from beginning to end, said Cassidy. They set the tempo, Niklas Svedberg made a big save when we needed it in the second period and the power play chipped in with an important goal. That was just a good, complete win from beginning to end.

Robins started the scoring by snapping in a goal just 22 seconds into the contest to give the Bruins both the lead and the momentum, and Providence just kept right on pushing. That included a shorthanded breakaway in the second period with the team still clinging to a one-goal lead: Maxine Macenauer hopping on a loose puck and sped the other way with a chance all alone against Svedberg, and the Swedish goalie calmly kicked away the bid with a flick of his leg pad.

Minutes later the P-Bruins power play cashed in when Ryan Spooner fed a cross-ice pass to Carter Camper, and the Bruins forward slammed the puck into the empty net to double the lead. The P-Bruins tacked on one more in the third when MacDermid pounced on the rebound of a Robins rocket, and made a diving stab for the insurance goal.

GOLD STAR: Bobby Robins has earned plenty of respect while piling up 33 penalty minutes in Providences first six games of the season built mostly on hockey fights and hustle plays. On Sunday afternoon the energy winger contributed to the scoreboard with his first goal of the season just 33 seconds into the first period, and a smoked shot from the slot in the third period that set up Lane MacDermids insurance goal. Robins went into the game scoreless in his first six games of the season and hes not expected to be a big offensive performer in his grinding, energy role and came through at a big time for Providence.

BLACK EYE: Justin Florek took a delay of game penalty early in the game and didnt have a shot on net when the game was over, and wasnt any kind of a factor in a game that featured many standouts for Providence. Florek is now scoreless in five games with a minus-2 rating on the season and hasnt yet made much of an impact in his first full AHL season in the Bruins organization.

TURNING POINT: Niklas Svedberg only needed to make 18 saves in a game where the ice seemed titled in favor of Providence much of the time against a weary St. Johns team, but his biggest save came with the game on the line. Maxime Macenauer shot in toward the Providence net all alone on a shorthanded breakaway with Providence clinging to a slim one-goal lead, but Svedberg calmly kicked the shot away with his right pad. Minutes later Carter Camper potted a power play goal to double Providences lead, and the Bruins were in the drivers seat.

BY THE NUMBERS: 5 the number of players with a positive plusminus rating for the Providence Bruins through eight games: Christian Hanson, Lane MacDermid and Bobby Robins are all a plus-1 and defensemen Zach Trotman and Garnet Exelby are a team-best plus-3.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Whether the energy comes from big hits, fights, a goal like tonight or some kind of veteran leadership, its my job to create energy that gets the rest of the guys all riled up before and during the game. Bobby Robins, who used his offensive touch (two points) to help the P-Bruins to victory on Sunday afternoon.

WATCH: Celtics vs. Rockets

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WATCH: Celtics vs. Rockets

Tune into CSN to watch the Celtics play the Rockets in Houston. You can also click here to watch the Celtics livestream presented by McDonald's on the NBC Sports App. Coverage begins at 7:30 p.m. with Celtics Pregame Live Presented by ACE Ticket.

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Celtics-Rockets preview: Get ready for 3-point showdown

Celtics-Rockets preview: Get ready for 3-point showdown

Earlier this month the Boston Celtics took a season-high 42 three-pointers in a game which raised a few eyebrows. 

And you know what?

No one would be surprised if the Celtics (12-8) surpassed that total tonight when they face the Houston Rockets who have set the pace when it comes to launching 3-point bombs in the NBA this season with 37.0 attempts per game. 

The Celtics aren’t too far behind, averaging 30.8 three-pointers which ranks fifth in the NBA.

But what makes these two teams so unique is that in addition to taking a lot of 3s, they also rank among the NBA’s leaders when it comes to knocking them down. 

The Rockets (13-7) make an NBA-high 14.0 three-pointers per game while the Celtics are fifth in the league with 11.1 made 3s per game. 

And the key to that stat is that both teams shoot a surprisingly high percentage from 3-point range as well. 

Houston’s 37.8 percent from 3-point range is the fifth-best mark in the NBA while the Celtics shoot 36.0 percent on 3's which ranks 10th in the league. 

So what does all this 3-ball shooting mean? 

It means get your popcorn ready for what should be one of the more exciting, high-scoring games on the Boston Celtics’ schedule this season.

Here are some other key stats to keep tabs on during tonight’s game. 

 

FIRST QUARTER SCORING

There is no team in the NBA better at jumping on you from the outset, then Houston. They lead the NBA in first-quarter scoring with 31.2 points per game while shooting 51.9 percent in the quarter which is also tops in the NBA. But there’s a downside to their first quarter success. Houston’s first quarter defense is pretty bad, ranking 27th in the league in first-quarter points allowed (28.5) while allowing teams to shoot a league-worst 52.3 percent from the field in the game’s first 12 minutes. 

 

FOURTH QUARTER SCORING

As impressive as Houston is to start games, the Boston Celtics are just as dominant offensively in the fourth quarter. Boston averages a league-best 29.1 points per game in the fourth compared to the Rockets whose 24.4 points in the fourth ranks 21st in the NBA. Boston’s strong finish to games is aided by a defense that seems to save its best work for the fourth quarter. Opponents are shooting just 40.6 percent against the Celtics in the fourth which ranks as the third-best fourth quarter defense in the NBA.

 

OFFENSIVE REBOUND PERCENTAGE

Boston’s struggles on the boards are well documented which includes - but is certainly not limited to - offensive rebounding. The Rockets will present a major problem to Boston when it comes to trying to avoid Houston getting second and third-shot opportunities. The Rockets rank fifth in the NBA in second-chance points (15.3) per game while the Celtics’ defense allows 15.2 second-chance points which ranks 27th in the league. And Boston’s offensive rebounding percentage for opponents ranks dead-last in the NBA at .265.

 

BALL MOVEMENT

Both teams rank among the league leaders in assists per game with Boston’s 24.4 assists per game average No. 2 in the NBA and Houston’s 24.3 assists ranks fourth. But more telling is how the Celtics rely more heavily on keeping the ball moving, more so than the Rockets. You see this in Boston averaging 329.2 passes per game which ranks third in the NBA while the Rockets’ 273.5 passes per game average is 29th in the league. Still, Houston’s passing game is to be respected especially when you consider the lofty assists numbers they’ve racked up in addition to them getting 59.2 points created via the assist according to nba.com/stats

 

TURNOVERS

These two are at opposite ends of the basketball world when it comes to turnovers. Boston commits 12.3 per game which is the fourth-fewest committed in the NBA while the Rockets are turning the ball over 16.1 times per game and that ranks 27th in the league. And these two remain widely far apart in the fourth quarter which is when the Celtics turn the ball over a league-low 2.2 times per game in the fourth while Houston turns the ball more than twice as much (4.5) which ranks 29th in the league.