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.