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.

Celtics-Hawks preview: Thomas 'not worried about' Schroeder

Celtics-Hawks preview: Thomas 'not worried about' Schroeder

AUBURN HILLS, Mich. –  Isaiah Thomas has respect for the Atlanta Hawks team.

So when I asked him about the Hawks, Thomas spoke glowingly about Paul Millsap as being a “special player” and Dwight Howard having a huge impact on shot attempts whether he’s blocking them or not.

But he knows all eyes will be on him and Hawks point guard Dennis Schroeder who had some not-so-nice things to say about Thomas following Boston’s 103-101 win at Atlanta on Jan. 13.

The two waged a feisty, highly combative game most of the Jan. 13 game with Thomas getting the better of Schroeder in just about every statistical category such as scoring (28 points for Thomas compared to 4 for Schroeder), assists (nine to three), and minutes played (36:16 to 22:36).

And then there was the one statistic that mattered most … the win.

But after the game, Schroeder told reporters that Thomas had spoken badly about his mother.

“I’m playing basketball,” Schroder told reporters after the game in January. “If he think that he got to curse at my mom or say some dumb stuff about my family, that has nothing to do with basketball. That’s his choice. I’ve got too much class for that. Next one, we are going to get it.”

The news got back to Thomas who emphatically denied he said anything along those lines.

“I don’t talk about nobody’s mom,” Thomas said when he became aware of Schroeder’s comments. “I don’t cuss at anybody’s mom and I don’t talk about people’s family. So whatever he said, that’s a 100 percent lie and he knows that.”

When I asked Thomas about Schroeder following Boston’s 104-98 win at Detroit Sunday night, he had little to say about the Hawks point guard.

“Man I’m past that. I’m not worried about that guy,” Thomas said. “Once he did that the last game, where he tried to damage my character, (saying I was) talking about his parents … I’m past that. Hopefully we can beat the Atlanta Hawks. I’m not even worried about him.”

Schroeder may not be on Thomas’ radar as a major concern, but the players he spoke of earlier – Millsap and Howard – are two players who can have a significant impact on whether the Celtics can continue to build off of the good things they did against the Pistons.

And Atlanta (32-26) will come in extremely thirsty for success having lost their last three games – all by 15 or more points - and four of the last five.

Despite the Hawks recent struggles, the Celtics understand that despite their success this season they are in no position to take any team lightly.

“They’re a good team. They play the game the right way,” said Boston’s Jaylen Brown. “They have some really good players, some really good shooters, really good bigs down low. We have to come out and play harder than them, match their intensity, execute, move the ball, share the ball and have fun.”

Shaughnessy: Why I'm not a fan of Celtics not trading at deadline

Shaughnessy: Why I'm not a fan of Celtics not trading at deadline

Dan Shaughnessy joins Sports Sunday and talks with Felger about why he hated the Boston Celtics not making any moves at the deadline.