After falling behind 2-1 in their best of five series, the Providence Bruins came all the way back to beat the number two seed Springfield Falcons three games to two. The seventh seeded Bruins move on to face the sixth seeded Wilkes-Barre Scranton Penguins in a best of seven game series.
The P-Bruins played well in each game of the Springfield series, having a chance to win each one. One of their losses came in overtime and the other saw them outshoot the Falcons 44-25. They produced great scoring chances, but goalie Mike McKenna was able to shut them down through the first three games.
Coming into this series, I said the Bruins top line of Ryan Spooner, Craig Cunningham, and Matt Fraser would have to play well for the underdog Bruins to win. In game four with their team facing elimination, they did just that. Fraser scored two goals while Spooner and Cunningham tallied a goal and an assist each en route to a 6-3 P-Bruins victory. Providence won the deciding game five by the same score of 6-3, this time with Seth Griffith and Joe Morrow leading the charge. Griffith, the leading scorer in the series, netted two goals and an assist while Morrow posted a goal and two assists in the clincher.
From the forwards to the defense, everyone contributed and played well. Ten players had at least one goal in the series, 14 had at least one assist, and 14 had a positive rating. While the success of the first line will be a big factor in round two, the depth of this team will also be a key. If the team continues to play like they did in round one, they should have similar success.
Another interesting thing to watch will be the Providence goaltending. Both Niklas Svedberg and Malcolm Subban received starts, with Subban starting the final two games. However, Svedberg replaced him in net during the final game and has played better so far this postseason. Both will likely see time this series, but Head Coach Bruce Cassidy will likely ride whoever the hot hand is.
This will be a rematch of last year’s second round match up, a series in which the number one seeded Bruins had a 3-0 series lead but fell in seven games to the Penguins. Game one will be Friday in Scranton at 7:05.