5 thoughts: Springfield-Providence

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5 thoughts: Springfield-Providence

SPRINGFIELD, MA -- Here are five thoughts from the first period with the Springfield Falcons and Providence Bruins tied at 1-1 after the first 20 minutes at the MassMutual Center.

1) Funny how stone cold professional veterans like Trent Whitfield and Chris Bourque are when it comes to tuning up for the pro season. It was Whitfield that scored the goal for the P-Bruins when he shoveled in a rebound of a Lane MacDermid shot from the circle halfway through the first period. There's a reason a guy like Whitfield continues to hang around in the B's organization, and it's because he's a model of professionalism.

2) Good scrap by Bobby Robbins midway through the first that seemed to wake up the crowd a bit. He's made himself a valuable energy player for Providence after a solid career at UMass-Lowell.

3) Michael Hutchinson gets the start for Providence and it looks he's going to get a long look from the Bruins in an important developmental year for him. He got a taste of Boston when he was called up due to injuries last season, but he still needs to prove to the B's brass that he's ready for it if injuries hit the B's goalies again this year.

4) Looks like people in Springfield don't miss hockey all that much because this arena is almost completely empty even for AHL standards.

5) Really like the way Chris Bourque moves the puck on the power play. He snaps it around quickly and has good vision picking up his teammates around the ice. That's something to watch if he gets PP time in Boston once the NHL season finally gets underway.

SECOND PERIOD

Here are five things from the second period with the Providence Bruins trailing the Springfield Falcons after 40 minutes at a largely empty MassMutual Center.

1) Rough sequence for Matt Bartkowski, who was beat to loose pucks three times and couldn't clear the zone under heightened pressure from Springfield. The gassed Bartkowski then fired a puck deep into the stands when he couldn't find a way to ice it, and was whistled for delay of game. That's the same kind of issues he suffered from during his stints with the B's. Springfield, of course, scored on the ensuing PP to take a two-goal lead.

2) Quiet night for Jared Knight. Haven't noticed him much at all, but that's bound to happen some in his first full pro season in the B's organization.

3) The Bruins didn't play Torey Krug tonight. Interesting when it appeared a few days ago that Bruce Cassidy would be playing his normal lineup for this Saturday game. Would imagine there are some other defensemen "on the bubble" that he wants to look at. Kevan Miller and Bartkowski haven't played nearly as much as Exelby, Cohen, Button and Trotman. No David Warsofsly for P-Bruins either.

4) P-Bruins fans are going to like Christian Hanson for more than the obvious bloodline reasons. Isn't afraid to throw his body around and become a physical presence, and was regularly mixing it up down low around the net.

5) P-Bruins scored 4 goals in their first preseason game, and haven't done all that much since. Would be good to see a bit of a third period explosion out of them given last year's offensive struggles.

THIRD PERIOD

SPRINGFIELD -- Here are five thoughts from the third period with the Providence Bruins falling to the Springfield Falcons by a 4-1 score at a virtually empty MassMutual Center.

1) A pretty uninspired final 40 minutes of hockey from the P-Bruins, so I'm mulling whether I should lower my writing to the level of the mediocre hockey. Thoughts?

2) A couple of fights for Ryan Button during the exhibition season -- tonight the young defenseman came to the aid of Chris Bourque after he was belted from behind by Dalton Smith. Good show of team toughness by a guy not really known for his fighting skills.

3) Quiet exhibition season for Jordan Caron, who one might have expected to really become more dominant given his strong second half to his NHL season. Wasn't making a lot of mistakes or costing his team in any areas -- and actually did a nice job on the PK -- but wasn't making many plays on the offensive end either.

4) Craig Cunningham is a much improved hockey player. Strong on the puck and ideally suited for a third line center role. It just remains to be seen how much offense he'll provide.

5) Mike Hutchinson caught in "no man's land" trying to play a puck in the third period that led to Springfield's fourth score on 29 shots. Not a great final dress rehearsal for the P-Bruins goalie with Niklas Svedberg waiting for a chance to make his adjustments to the North American game.

McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

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McIntyre still building and earning trust of B's coaching staff

BRIGHTON, Mass -- It hasn’t been an easy road for Bruins rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre since getting called back up by Boston a few weeks ago.

The 24-year-old netminder is trying to give the B’s top-level goaltending while earning the trust of the Bruins coaching staff, and adjusting to the sporadic playing time that goes along with playing understudy to a No. 1 netminder like Tuukka Rask. The three goals allowed in the third period of Sunday afternoon’s 5-1 loss to the Penguins didn’t look good on paper, but really there wasn’t much McIntyre could do with the defense totally breaking down in front of him during a 12-shot barrage in the final 20 minutes.

The 3.95 goals against average and .860 save percentage certainly look like a little frightening for the first-year goalie, but the truth is there’s going to be some bumps as he adjusts to life as a backup for the first time.

“[The adjustment] is mostly between the ears, to be honest,” said McIntyre. “I have confidence in my physical abilities and I know what I can do, and what makes my game successful. So right now it’s just building confidence every day in practice and staying persistent, staying with it. I know good things are going to happen when you surround yourself with good people, and the biggest thing is battling every day and making sure I’m contributing to the team.”

McIntyre will certainly have to be sharp if he’s put back in the crease on Tuesday night against the Red Wings after Rask exited from Sunday’s loss in the second period with symptoms of a migraine. The Bruins top goalie missed practice on Monday while getting himself checked out medically, and there’s a chance he could be out if the symptoms are in any way related to the Roman Josi shot he took off his neck last week.

“I’m just taking it day-by-day to be honest. That’s what I’ve always done in the past, and I’m just trying to build up confidence every day,” said McIntyre, who had been lights out in Providence prior to getting the call to Boston. “We’ll just see what happens and roll with it.”

That’s a challenge McIntyre will certainly be up for in a different way than Sunday’s mop-up duty, but it remains to be seen just how steady-footed the Bruins will be about their goalie situation if Rask is expected to miss any time this week.