Whale swallow up P-Bruins, 6-3

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Whale swallow up P-Bruins, 6-3

HARTFORD, CT The Providence Bruins are dipping into a troubling pattern of all-or-nothing weekends.

After dropping their first two games on opening weekend they swept Manchester and Springfield last weekend, and reverted back to the hockey victims while getting swept again this weekend.

They were blanked by Springfield on Friday night at home, and fell to the Connecticut Whale by a 6-3 score at the XL Center on Saturday night buried under a blizzard of Brass Bonanza clips. The killer was a second period where the P-Bruins were outscored by a 4-1 margin and had to pull goaltender Michael Hutchinson in order to stop the bleeding.

Weve got to get some points out of these weekends, said P-Bruins head coach Bruce Cassidy. If you cant manage to scrape and grind for some points out of a weekend like this then its going to catch up to you later on in the season.

The P-Bruins actually registered a season-high 40 shots on net and managed to pot a pair of power play goals in six tries in what should have been a good evening for them, but they just couldnt contain the Whale attack. Jamie Tardif tipped a Kyle MacKinnon puck in the first period to open the games scoring, and the youngest Bourque sibling, Ryan, tied things up when he teed off on a nifty Chris Kreider feed.

The roof caved in on Providence in the second period as the Whale scored four unanswered goals from Chad Kolarik, Kreider, Logan Pyett and Tommy Grant and took advantage of some less-than-stellar defensive play from Colby Cohen and Torey Krug.

Providence showed some fight when Chris Bourque found Jordan Caron on the doorstep for a power play goal at the end of the second period, and the Bruins clawed to within two scores when Max Sauve popped in another PP strike three minutes into the third period.

Caron now leads the P-Bruins with four goals on the season and Sauve leads the team with five points.

But the Whale iced it when Niklas Svedberg botched an attempt to fish a puck out of the corner, and instead put it right on Kris Newburys stick for Connecticuts sixth goal of the evening.

GOLD STAR: Chris Bourque had a pair of assists including a sweet cross-ice slap-pass from the right point to a wide open Jordan Caron cutting to the net for a second period goal and shared the team-lead with five shots on net against the Whale. The P-Bruins finished 2-for-6 on the power play for the evening, and much of that was due to Bourques quarterbacking of the Providence power play via quick decision-making with the puck and outstanding on-ice vision while spotting open teammates.

BLACK EYE: Michael Hutchinson allowed four goals on the 13 shots he faced before getting pulled halfway through the first period, and hasnt done much to keep the Providence coaching staff from continuing to call Niklas Svedbergs number. Hutchinson is 0-3 with a 4.03 goals against average and an .833 save percentage in three games to start the year for the P-Bruins, and thats not what the team is looking for. This is a pivotal season for the goalie in the Bs organization, and he needs to turn it around quickly.

TURNING POINT: The second period was a disaster for Providence, their defensemen, their goaltenders and, consequently, the coaching staff that watched Connecticut pot four unanswered goals to blow things open. The final goal saw both Torey Krug and Colby Cohen both fall asleep defensively and allow Tommy Grant to sneak behind them before beating Niklas Svedberg once he was all alone in front with the puck. Krug and Cohen were a combined minus-5 in the loss.

BY THE NUMBERS: -6
The team-worst plusminus rating for young defenseman Torey Krug, who is experiencing some difficulty locking things down in his own end and was a minus-3 in Saturday nights loss.

QUOTE TO NOTE: Theres an opportunity for him going into this year to be the No. 1 goaltender. Its got to be playing on his mind. Only he could tell you if hes putting too much pressure on himself. But its November now and he still doesnt have a win for us at this point. Providence Bruins coach Bruce Cassidy on goalie Michael Hutchinson, who was struggled thus far this season.

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

Julien: 'A lot of problematic things' in Bruins loss to Avalanche

BOSTON – The Bruins simply weren’t ready to play on Thursday night when the puck was dropped against the Colorado Avalanche at TD Garden. 

They fell down quickly by a 2-0 score, had a couple of completely inept power plays in the first period that sucked all the game’s momentum away from them and received some subpar goaltending from Anton Khudobin on the way to a 4-2 loss to the lowly Avs. About the only B’s person above reproach in this one was David Pastrnak after scoring a pair of goals in the second period to get Boston back into the game, but it all fell short in a very frustrating, lackadaisical loss to a Western Conference team that isn’t very good. 

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Needless to say B’s coach Claude Julien wasn’t too happy after a loss where the Bruins might have had more success with a smarter approach to holding the puck. 

“There were a lot of problematic things [in the loss]. No doubt that the power play could have helped us in the first period, and failed to do that. They’ve got to be better,” said Julien. “We needed some saves tonight, and we didn’t get them. [Anton Khudobin] has got to be better. 

“A lot of things here that we can be better at, and take responsibility [for]. But at the same time, you got to move on here.  It’s one of those nights that had we been smarter from the get go, we would have had a chance.”

Clearly it was about a lacking group effort when dissecting the loss, and the minus-3 for David Krejci on Thursday night marked back-to-back negative performances from the playmaking Czech center in big spots. The goaltending was shoddy with Anton Khudobin allowing four goals on 22 shots for Colorado, and unable to make plays on a couple of Colorado shots from outside the painted area that built up the Avs lead in the first place. 

But it was also very much about the inability of the Bruins to generate consistent offense outside of David Pastrnak’s offensive burst in the second period, and the complete breakdown of the Boston power play in the opening 20 minutes. The Bruins struggled to enter the zone in their first PP possession of the game, and then allowed a Nathan MacKinnon shorthanded goal after Torey Krug futilely dove at the blue line to try and keep the puck in the offensive zone. 

The Krug misplay at the offensive blue line gave MacKinnon a clear path the net, and he buried a wrist shot past Khudobin to get the one-sided loss rolling. Beyond the costly mistakes that ended up in the back of the net, the Bruins looked sloppy and slow-reacting in their breakouts and more than willing to settle for outside perimeter shots.

That doesn’t exactly make for a winning combo even when it comes against a flawed, underachieving team like Colorado, and especially when it comes less than 24 hours after a hard-fought road game in Washington DC. 

“I think we were still sleeping there early in the game and they were able to capitalize on their opportunities. We couldn’t claw our way back,” said Brad Marchand, who picked up an assist on David Pastrnak’s second goal of the night on a perfect dish for the one-timer. “I think it was definitely a mental [block]. You’re able to battle through that physical fatigue. It was more the mental mistakes and not being prepared right off the hop of the start of the game. Again, that’s kind of where we lost it.”

The sleepwalking Bruins lost Thursday night’s valuable two points as soon as the opening puck was dropped against the Avalanche, of course, and the Bruins never got out of lollygag mode at a time when intensity should have been automatic. 

THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

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THURSDAY NIGHT FOOTBALL: Chiefs hold off Raiders 21-13 to take control of AFC West

KANSAS CITY, Mo. - Tyreek Hill had touchdowns receiving and on a punt return, Kansas City's defense made life miserable for Oakland quarterback Derek Carr, and the Chiefs beat the Raiders 21-13 on a frigid Thursday night to take control of the AFC West.

Charcandrick West also had a touchdown run for the Chiefs (10-3). They moved into a first-place tie with Oakland (10-3) but holds the tiebreaker with two wins over their longtime divisional rival.

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