PROVIDENCE, RI – After enjoying four consecutive off-days without any game action on the schedule, following a 3-0 shutout victory over the St. John’s IceCaps last Sunday afternoon, the Providence Bruins were back on the ice Friday night as they played host to the Albany Devils, the American Hockey League affiliate of, you guessed it, the New Jersey Devils.
Fortunately for all of the hockey fans that packed into the Dunkin’ Donuts Center, the P-Bruins were able to extend their brief winning streak to two games with a 2-1 triumph over the visiting Albany Devils.
The game would get off to a slow start for both squads as neither was able to capitalize on an early power-play opportunity. Devils’ winger Mike Sislo was first sent to the box for holding, but Providence couldn’t manage to put one past goaltender Keith Kinkaid to take a quick lead. Not long after the Devils had successfully killed off the penalty, they would be given their own chance to take the lead on the man-advantage after hulking left winger Justin Florek would be whistled for boarding. However, some key saves from Swedish netminder Niklas Svedberg would help to kill the penalty and keep the game scoreless.
Midway through the opening frame, Providence bruiser Bobby Robins would drop the gloves – and later, his opponent – against Devils’ defenseman Alexander Urbom behind Keith Kinkaid’s net. The fight was a clear mismatch as Robins is one of the American Hockey League’s toughest players and has a great deal of experience in the fisticuffs department. Robins would follow up the fight with his traditional “get up” taunt to help create some crowd noise in the building, a la Milan Lucic against the Montreal Canadiens just a few years back.
With a little more than five minutes to go in the period, 2012 NHL Calder Trophy finalist and Eastern Conference Finals hero Adam Henrique would redirect a Joe Whitney pass right through Svedberg’s five-hole to put the struggling Devils ahead, 1-0.
The second period would see an even greater amount of post-whistle extra-curriculars as both teams were extraordinarily chippy throughout the game. Providence would tie the score at one on the power-play after 2011 AHL all-star Carter Camper fed a beautiful cross-ice pass to Chris Bourque, who blasted a one-timer past Kinkaid for his first goal of the season. The son of Boston Bruins’ legend Raymond Bourque, Chris came to Providence with enormously high expectations this summer. After all, he was the league’s leading scorer last season while skating out in Pennsylvania with the Hershey Bears. The undersized playmaker was happy to finally break into the goal column and hopes it will spark even more offensive success as the season rolls on.
“It’s nice to finally contribute on the score sheet… It shouldn’t have taken this long, but I’m happy to get it.” – Chris Bourque
Both teams would be held off the board for the remainder of regulation after impressive performances from goaltenders Kinkaid and Svedberg. The scariest moment of the final period for the P-Bruins came when a blueline shot deflected off Svedberg’s glove and into the air. As it rolled through the crease, Providence’s first-year ‘tender had to recover quickly to keep it from going into the net. It turned out to be an enormously critical save as neither team would find the goal for the rest of regulation, sending the game into overtime.
The Bruins were given a chance to win the game on the power-play in overtime, but could not convert. Both teams applied a good amount of offensive pressure during the extra frame, but weren’t able to find the back of the net and win the game. For the first time of the season, the P-Bruins would go to a shootout.
After unsuccessful attempts from both teams in round one, Matt Anderson found the mesh in the second round to give Albany a 1-0 lead. Luckily for Providence, leading scorer Chris Bourque used a beautiful backhand move to extend the shootout in the home-half of round three. Two rounds later, right winger Jamie Tardif scored top-shelf to win the game for the P-Bruins and improve their record to 4-5-0.
The win is their second in a row, with both coming within the friendly confines of “The Dunk”. Establishing a solid home-ice presence is of vital importance for any successful hockey club. Tonight’s top performer believes that the P-Bruins are well on their way to becoming one of the league’s toughest teams to visit.
“We were trying to build off that (Sunday’s win over St. John’s) and keep that streak going, or build a streak. We want to make this place (Dunkin’ Donuts Center) a real hard, tough place to play. I think we’ve done that… It’s a tough place to play and we’re a tough team to play against. Hopefully we can keep it going.” – Chris Bourque
Please note that I will now be offering my extra thoughts on each game in the “Bruins Extra” feature, set to debut here on Hockey Independent later today. Stay tuned.
Ben’s Three Stars:
1) Niklas Svedberg (26 Saves)
2) Chris Bourque (1 Goal/Shootout Goal)
3) Jamie Tardif (Shootout-winning Goal)
– The P-Bruins will be right back at it on Saturday night as they visit the AHL affiliate of the Los Angeles Kings and one of their fiercest division rivals, the Manchester Monarchs.
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About the Author: Boston Bruins writer for Hockey Independent. Michigan Fan. Street Hockey Agitator. My work has been featured at the New England and New York Hockey Journals, The Hockey Guys, and SB Nation Boston. Follow me on Twitter @_BWoodward or shoot me an email at BWoodward.HI@gmail.com!