Bruins

Haggerty: Thoughts from P-Bruins and Phantoms

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Haggerty: Thoughts from P-Bruins and Phantoms

PROVIDENCE -- Here are five thoughts from the first period of the Providence Bruins-Adirondack Phantoms game, where the P-Bruins lead by a 1-0 score at the Dunkin' Donuts Center.

1) Team-leading ninth goal of the season for Jamie Tardif, who has really made me stand up and take notice whenever I've watched Providence this year. He made a great play blocking a clear attempt against the boards, and then turning that into an odd man rush at the other end of the ice. Tardif looked off the trailer on the play and snapped a shot glove-side high for the score. He's the perfect example of the right kind of veteran player the Bruins have brought into the mix here in Providence.

2) Good period for Matt Bartkowski, who has really stabilized his play in Providence after some early shakiness. Was involved at the offensive end and able to play his shutdown defense in a period dominated by Providence.

3) Once again the P-Bruins dominate the first period as they've done quite a bit this season, and are outshooting the Phantoms by a 16-7 margin.

4) Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn are both playing with Adirondack, but not much out of those two NHL players this afternoon. Good challenge for the P-Bruins defense and they're living up to it thus far.

5) Today marks the 20th game -- out of 22 overall -- that Jared Knight has missed this year with groinhamstring issues. He's got to be disappointed about the way things have gone in his first full pro season thus far.

SECOND PERIOD
Providence 2, Adirondack 1

1) Another goal for Jamie Tardif as a result of hard, determined work around the net. The play was created when Chris Bourque wheeled through the high slot and found Ryan Spooner for a one-timer. Phantoms goalie Scott Munroe made the initial stop, but Tardif slammed the loose puck in for the score.

2) Solid two periods for Niklas Svedberg in the pipes. His only blemish was a 2-on-1 with a top shelf shot that was created when Colby Cohen and Ryan Button collided and took the other out of the play. But otherwise the Swedish goalie continues to impress is his 16th appearance in 22 games.

3) Zack FitzGerald nearly scrapped with Providence tough guy Bobby Robins after a scrum, and then had a questionable hip check on David Warsofsky late in the second period. Would expect he might drop gloves in the third period. Yup. He fits right into the Flyers Way of doing things.

4) Ryan Spooner has got the good stuff today for Providence. Drew a hooking penalty on a breakaway in the second period that set up a P-Bruins power play and earned his 10th assist of season their power play score.

5) Six shots on net for Chris Bourque and an assist in first two periods for the P-Bruins winger. He's been all over the ice for a dominant line each time Providence has had the puck.

THIRD PERIOD
Providence 2, Adirondack 2

1) Max Sauve absolutely buried Phantoms forward Shane Harper with a hit early in the third period. Not something I'm used to seeing with Sauve, but I think that's the kind of tenacity the Bruins organization would love to see out of him.

2) 44 shots on net for Providence. That's impressive even if they were catching an Adirondack team that got into Rhode Island early this morning.

3) Two shots net between Sean Couturier and Brayden Schenn this afternoon. Didn't look like they much interest in being in Providence this afternoon. As if one Couturier took a horrendous slashing call after turning the puck over to Max Sauve in his own end late in the third period.

4) Justin Florek is hanging around in Providence and scored his first pro goal the last time I was in Providence, but didn't have much impact in limited ice time for the P-Bruins. He took an ill-advised holding penalty late in the third period that led to the Phantoms-tying goal as well, which certainly isn't helping his cause.

5) Second Sunday in a row the Providence Bruins are providing me with some free hockey after things ended up in a shootout last weekend. Always appreciate that when good hockey is so hard to find during these lockout days.

Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

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Bruins hope to keep cooking with a winning recipe

The Bruins seemed to discover a winning formula on the West Coast. Now the challenge is to keep it going.

It took them more than a month of play in the regular season, but they finally won two games in a row. Anton Khudobin and the B's played strong defense and finally built leads against the Kings and Sharks, and they avoided the kind of soft goal or defensive mistake that has been at the heart of so many of their losses.

Clearly that kind of tight, defensive game is how they're going have to play until they get their full lineup back, and they need plenty of wins. They're currently stuck in 13th place in the Eastern Conference, three points out of a playoff spot.

"It's always nice to get a couple of wins, especially against tough teams," said David Krejci, who is scoreless but averaging almost 17 minutes of ice time  in the two games since returning from a back injury. "We knew we had some areas of our game that we had to improve, and we still do after the start to the game we had against San Jose. It's nice to get two in a row, and we're focusing on three in [New Jersey]. We're building toward something, and we're on the right track. It's a big game [against the Devils].

"Playing with a lead, playing good defensively and having a good, structured game with everybody buying in . . . when you have a young team and you're playing strong clubs like LA and San Jose, it really says a lot about what we're trying to do here when you can get the job done."

The good news is the Bruins are going to make it through the Thanksgiving marker within shouting distance of a playoff spot, but they're still just scratching the surface of what they need to do to stay relevant in the East. They're hoping that finally reeling off a couple of consecutive wins can start a run of good hockey at a time when they desperately need it.

"I think we've played as a five-man unit" said Kevan Miller. "Forwards are getting back to help the 'D', and defensemen are stepping up to help the forwards. When you play like that and everybody is on the same page, it makes it that much easier. I think everybody, whether you're coming from Providence or you're up here, has played the same systems, but it can be a little bit of a struggle to get everybody on the same page.

"We've done a pretty good job of that, but doing it for 60 minutes has been a bit of an issue. We're trying to work on that."

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