Of the last five games the Providence Bruins have played, four have ended in shootouts, with the Bruins winning only one of those, and unfortunately winning only that one game of the five. However, because they were able to go to the shootout, they took five points out of the five games. They would have preferred to have taken ten points, but the shootouts gave them a point in three of the games in which it could have been no points.

The Providence Bruins have been struggling a bit this season, after having been such an amazing force in the 2012-2013 season which saw them earn banners for being Regular Season Champions as well as Atlantic Division champs. Rookie goaltender Niklas Svedberg took home a boxful of awards for his amazing performance between the pipes, taking over as starting goalie for that season.

Perhaps some of the struggles this season are a result of not being able to keep everyone from last season’s roster, as a result of cap issues, that contributed so much to their performance.  Couple that with the large number of players the Boston Bruins have recalled in the last month to replace injured players, and the job of head coach Bruce Cassidy becomes a little more difficult as he deals with constant change.

After all, the players that are getting recalled by Boston are some of Cassidy’s best players. This means they are heavily used in all situations, including five-on-five, penalty killing, and power play shifts. Though Cassidy says it is the nature of the game, it must make things tough for him in keeping all four lines rolling, which he has been able to do in these last five games. Even the players acknowledge that.

When asking Providence Bruins Rob Flick about the team’s efforts on Friday against the Springfield Falcons, he admitted it would have been nice to get the two points, but recognized the good play from the whole team.

“I think we played well,” he said. “We rolled four lines and all the guys played well and everybody contributed.”

Having gotten too close to playing ten games for the Boston Bruins which would have made him available to other teams on waivers—something that Boston Bruins general manager Peter Chiarelli said they weren’t willing to chance—Kevan Miller was back on the roster for Providence this past weekend.

Despite perhaps wanting to question being sent back down, his mature approach to the return could be seen both on and off the ice. He scored the second goal for Providence on Friday night, assisted by Mike Moore and Bobby Robins. And when asked how his trip up to Boston helped him play better in Providence, he pointed out that it is a confidence booster. He understands the game—both on the ice and in the business world—and realizes what he needs to do in Providence.

“I just have to keep focusing on my game and not change anything,” he said. “Keep working on the things down here that translate up there.”

Like his teammate Flick, Miller was quick to point out that the Providence Bruins were able to take a point out of Friday’s game. And both players went into their last game before a four-day break that includes Christmas day with the idea of trying to play their best. For Flick this meant playing while sick, something that few fans realize when they see a team on the ice. But for every fan that has moaned about going to work with a head cold and not being able to breathe, consider trying to rush up and down the ice when your head is stuffed, you’re hacking up a lung, and you long to just hide under your blankets.

It would have been nice if Providence could have gone into the break with a win, but they will happily take the point from getting the game to overtime and ultimately the shootout once again. And given that Miller had an assist in Saturday night’s game against the Portland Pirates, he is clearly working on his best things in Providence.

The Providence Bruins return to the ice against the Worcester Sharks in Worcester on December 26. Their first game back at the Dunkin’ Donut Center is not until Friday, January 3rd, when they will host the Sharks.

 

 

A family historian by profession, Rhonda R. McClure has loved hockey since she was a child in New Hampshire. Any opportunity to combine her love of writing, hockey and research is something she looks forward to with much enthusiasm. She's been accused of seeking out shinny games when there are no other hockey events taking place. She is a member of the Society for International Hockey Research. Follow her on Twitter at @HockeyMaven1917.

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