A look at the number of scratches for the Providence Bruins which included players like Ryan Spooner, Nick Johnson, Matt Fraser and Andrew Cherniwchan and it was clear that the P-Bruins were hurting on the bench as their injured players were hurting in the stands.
“We’ve lost some key guys here every game we’ve played in the last five or six,” said head coach Bruce Cassidy after the game. “But it’s the American Hockey League and it’s next man up and someone has to come through.”
Newly acquired defenseman, Joe Lavin, made his debut in Providence, having been acquired from the Springfield Falcons for future considerations on February 7, 2014 for future considerations. Coach Cassidy was pleased with what he saw both in his skating and in his ability to take hits to make plays.
Though not making his debut, The Pink Puck was curious how Cassidy felt Blake Parlett was fitting in on the bench after a few games; having been acquired from the Springfield Falcons in exchange for forward Carter Camper during that same trade on February 7.
“Parlett’s playing well. He does everything well,” said Cassidy. “I don’t think he’s one of those guys that has an identity, that he’s terrific at being a power play guy or an offensive guy, but he plays a good, solid, all-around game and we need that.”
Robins Rocks, Roles and Socks
At the beginning of the game the Bruins appeared to be the ones with the momentum, which showed in the shots on goal. which could have been helped by perennial favorite, Bobby Robins dropping the gloves just 6:42 into the first against Shawn O’Donnell. Robins explained what went on there after the game.
“I think I had a big hit on a guy and he came and did his job and defended his teammate and I obliged him.” Robins told The Pink Puck with a grin. “It looked like our team got a little momentum from it. We got a little life.”
“It provided momentum for me personally, and got me into the game,” Robins continued. “It was just one of those things that happened quick and it was a reactionary fight and those are the best kind.”
With the Bruins suffering from so many injuries right now, players like Robins need to help the newcomers and stand tall when they are on the ice. Robins does not take his role on the team lightly.
“I just want to be a solid hockey player. All I’m worried about is playing a good offensive game, defensive game,” he said. “When I’m out there being an asset and not a liability and just making good outlet passes, getting the puck out, and getting the puck to the net and when I’m keeping the game simple like that and finishing my checks and playing hard, that’s when I’m most effective.”
Getting On the Board
The recently combined line of Alexander Khokhlachev, Justin Florek and Seth Griffith likewise wanted to be effective and despite a few issues, did manage to put the Bruins on the scoreboard first. Griiffith would go on to have a multi-point night, assisting Mike Moore in tying the game late in the third along with Craig Cunningham. Griffith would also get one behind Hartford Wolf Pack’s goalie, Dov Grumet-Morris during the shootout that would result from Moore’s tying goal.
However, it appeared that Griffith seemed to be passing a bit more than was necessary, missing some possible scoring opportunities. When asked about this by the Pink Puck, Griffith was honest about some of his choices on the ice today.
“I guess me and [Khokhlachev], we tried a little too many passes sometimes,” he said. “Maybe we should shoot when we get the chance more often. We gotta start to keep it a little more simple and I think we’ll have a lot more chances.”
However, the line combination seems to have been working since put together on Friday night as Coach Cassidy juggled some of his lines. There is some chemistry between the three players.
It wasn’t so much the fact that the Wolf Pack goalie Grumet-Morris stood tall in his crease and denied the Bruins goals on 42 of their 44 shots on goal during regulation. Instead for Cassidy, it was the number of missed opportunities that he noticed tonight, which he attributed to the lack of goal-scoring players on his roster at the present.
“I think of the shots we missed the net,” he told The Pink Puck. “I liked what we generated offensively, [Grumet-Morris] just did a good job in [the net]. And when you have a lineup that’s not full of goal scorers then they may need four or five chances before they bury one.”
Cassidy was happy that the team was able to keep the Hartford Wolf Pack to only two goals during regulation, though he was not happy with the unforced errors that resulted in the first goal.
“I think we made a bad play. And I’m being generous with my choice of words,” he told media. “It was an egregious play and it ended up in the back of the net where it should have ended up when you make decisions like that.”
His goal with the young players is to help them eliminate those unforced errors. He pointed out that the Bruins gave the Wolf Pack some easy chances and that he is trying to get those out of the Bruins game.
“Trying to get that out of our game and not be that team that does that,” he said. “Because that’s a losing formula and we’re trying to make that winning formula, no gifts.”
He recognizes that the players will make mistakes, but he wants those mistakes to be the result of being out-muscled by an opponent who is better or stronger.
However, the Bruins battled as they so often do, and goalie Malcolm Subban refused to let any of the Wolf Pack players score on the shootout, which only had to go to four rounds as Anthony Camara in the second round and Griffith in the fourth round found the back of the net.
In talking with Griffith after the game, The Pink Puck couldn’t help asking him if he had as many options in his repertoire as Team USA’s T.J. Oshie came out with during the Russia and USA game on Saturday morning.
“I sometimes go forehand, but backhand’s the main one I use,” he said. “But watching that shootout of Russia versus the U.S. was a lot of fun and you could see that T.J. Oshie’s really good at the shootout so it was fun watching him.”
With today’s win, the Providence Bruins extend their winning streak to four games. Next weekend they will be on the road. They will return to the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday, February 28, 2014.