Providence Bruins lose third straight in o.t., swept out of playoffs


Providence Bruins lose third straight in o.t., swept out of playoffs

PROVIDENCE – The Providence Bruins had high hopes for the AHL playoffs given the influx of talent to an already solid club at the end of the regular season. Those hopes were permanently extinguished on Saturday night when the Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins rode out a wildly entertaining 5-4 double-overtime win over the P-Bruins at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center in Game 3 to cap off a three-game sweep in the best-of-five series.

Jake Guentzel scored his second goal of the game while taking advantage of a P-Bruins defender falling down on the ice, and snapped a wrist shot past Jeremy Smith with 6:08 to go in double-OT. Austin Czarnik scored two goals of his own while helping to power a three goal third period comeback that sent the elimination game into the extra sessions. But Providence couldn’t get one more goal past Scranton goalie Casey DeSmith among their whopping 63 shots on net.

Rookie goaltender Zane McIntyre was pulled after allowing four goals on 13 shots from the Penguins through two periods, and Providence’s only offense in the first two periods was an Austin Czarnik score after falling behind in the game’s first 10 minutes. Jake Guentzel scored on a McIntyre rebound just 35 seconds into the game, and watched Dominik Simon redirect one of his point shots on the PP to make it a two-goal advantage for the P-Bruins.

Jean-Sebastien Dea made it a three-goal lead for the Penguins in the second period before Providence finally got on the board. Alex Khokhlachev flipped a cross-ice pass to Czarnik for a blasted one-timer from the left face-off circle that traveled right on past Casey DeSmith. The final goal of the second period was almost a killer for McIntyre and Providence, a Tim Erixon wrist shot from inside the blue line that floated past the P-Bruins goalie.

Big P-Bruins defenseman Chris Breen scored on a long distance bomb to make it a two-goal game in the third period for Providence, and then Tommy Cross and Czarnik capped off the stunning third period comeback for the Baby B’s. 

Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

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Morning Skate: Is the NHL playoff system broken?

Here are all the links from around the hockey world and what I’m reading while the Bruins are finally back in Boston.  

*Larry Brooks says that the NHL playoff system is broken as it continues to “pass off mediocrity as parity.” I don’t really agree that there’s a big problem, but it will be too bad that one of the Eastern Conference’s two best teams (Boston and Tampa Bay) will be done after the second round of the playoffs.

*A pretty cool gesture from the Montreal Canadiens as a group of them wore turtlenecks during warm-ups on Saturday night prior to playing Tomas Plekanec for the first timer as a member of the Toronto Maple Leafs.

*Congrats to the Team USA Paralympics squad for capturing another Gold Medal for the Red, White and Blue. What a great story they are.   

*Evander Kane opens up about Winnipeg, his past on social media and hockey culture as he seems to have found a place where he’s comfortable in San Jose.

*The Carolina Hurricanes are suspending their GM search until the group of available candidates can widen in the offseason. That was probably always for the best.

*The New York Islanders are getting a little weird with things here late in the season as they’re taking a look at John Tavares on the wing. Hmmm. Seems like an odd move.

*For something completely different: A great return for Bill Hader to Saturday Night Live where he revisited a number of his best characters.


Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

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Backes escapes skate blade situation with deep cut that 'wasn't too dangerous'

TAMPA – David Backes certainly didn’t escape the scary situation with an errant skate blade unscathed, of course. 

The 33-year-old limped his way to the Bruins team bus out of Amalie Arena after Boston’s 3-0 shutout win over the Tampa Bay Lightning, and needed approximately 18 stitches to close up the gash on his right thigh. But Backes was still able to joke about it as he exited the dressing room while knowing that it could have been much, much worse with that kind of freak accident on the ice. 

"I'll play a second period one of these days,” said a smiling Backes, who was forced out of Saturday night’s loss with the skate blade cut in the last minute of the first period and exited the Florida loss as well after catching a match penalty in the first period as well. Luckily for him, there was no structural damage to Backes’ right leg after Yanni Gourde caught him in the thigh area as both players were down on the ice around the Tampa net.

MORE - Haggerty: B's make a statement to Lightning, rest of NHL

There was a lot of blood, however, as he quickly exited the ice, sped past the bench and headed right to the Bruins dressing room with Bruins trainer Donnie DelNegro trailing right behind. 

“I went in and saw him between periods. He’s okay. There’s no structural damage. There will be concern going forward about swelling or infection, but it looks like he’ll be okay. We’ll classify him as day-to-day, but I don’t know if he’ll be ready to play on Monday,” said Bruce Cassidy of Backes, who actually scored the second goal of the game for the Bruins as a power play strike. “You see a guy coming off like that and you see the blood pooling up, and you’re always worried they could hit an artery somewhere. He was able to get up. That was the first good sign and he was able to be tended to quickly. 

“It is scary. But we were told it would be a deep cut that would require some stitches, and it wasn’t too dangerous.”

For now it just becomes an eventful month for Backes where he’s been suspended, tossed out of a game with a match penalty and now forced out of a game after a freak skate blade incident, but there’s no doubt he’ll return better and stronger than ever in rapid fashion as he’s done through the last two seasons with the Bruins.