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A Providence Turnaround

P-Bruins offense comes alive as team finds stride

Tuesday, 12.11.2012 / 10:09 AM ET / Features
By Evan Sporer  - BostonBruins.com
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A Providence Turnaround
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BostonBruins.com — Eleven games into the Providence Bruins 2012 season, the team’s record stood at a disappointing 4-6-1. The message from the players and coaches was that the team was better than its slow start. But high expectations in practice and a talented locker room alone wouldn’t keep the P-Bruins elevated aspirations within reach.

Julien likes what he's seen in Providence
But fast-forward through the team’s next 11 games. The timely goals the P-Bruins were missing have been found. The team’s veterans and skilled youth players are finding their way onto the score sheet. And an 8-2-1 stretch has the P-Bruins in second place in the Atlantic Division, a point behind Worcester with a game in hand.

That drastic improvement hasn't been lost on the B's bench boss in Boston, who has been a regular at the Dunk this season.

"It’s pretty obvious if you follow the team that they’re playing much better now as a team," said Bruins Head Coach Claude Julien at the team’s annual Holliday Toy Shopping Event. "At the beginning of the year, there wasn’t that spunk or that energy that they’re showing right now, and that happens.

"Some teams go through it in the middle of the year, some teams go through it at the beginning, some teams go through it at the end."

Speaking to that, Providence's recent run of success (earning 17 of its last 22 possible points) may not have come as a complete shock to the P-Bruins, who kept saying it was only a matter of time before hard practices with Providence and Boston Bruins coaching staff translated into victories.

"They’re starting to get in sync, and you can tell now the way they’re playing that they’re a pretty excited group, and they’re determined to win," Julien continued. "They’ve picked up 11 of their last 12 points, and everything I’ve seen they’ve played well. It’s not just one player; it’s the whole team."

And while success may be paramount to development, which is still the name-of-the-game for the Bruins AHL affiliate, seeing the B’s high-end prospects effectively navigate the American League also had the Boston Bruins head coach pleased.

"The good players are still good players for us," Julien said. "Chris Bourque has really picked up his game; I think he’s been really good.

"[Ryan] Spooner is coming along. Jordan [Caron] is doing a great job going to the front of the net and being more physical, and being on top of the puck more.

"So all the things we’ve asked him to do, he’s doing well."

Providence’s turnaround has been fueled by not a single catalyst, but, as Julien pointed out, increased contributions up-and-down the lineup.

Torey Krug scored his first professional goal—a game-winner—in a one-goal victory last weekend. The aforementioned Bourque and Spooner are one-two among point-getters for the P-Bruins. And Jamie Tardif, one of the team’s veterans, leads the squad in goals, and is a top-20 scorer in the AHL.

But what’s really helped Providence through its recent success, and has been an anchor for the team throughout the entire season, has been the play in its own zone.

"The back end; I think their defense is really good as a whole," Julien said. "I can’t just talk about one guy because everybody has really played well in that position.

“Goaltending — [Niklas] Svedberg has been outstanding in my mind. I see a goaltender from training camp to now that is a different goaltender.

"He’s played well enough that he’s kept them in some games early on when they had slow starts."

Through the team’s first 11 games of the season, Providence averaged 1.8 goals scored per game. In its next 11, that number increased to 2.7. But all the while, Providence's defensive corps did not crack, as the P-Bruins own blue line weathered the storm and kept the team in games when the offense was not there.

Now, with the scoring picking up, and the defense and goaltending continuing its stellar level of play, Providence is firing on all cylinders, and hoping to make its winning ways something of a blueprint, and not an aberration.

SCHEDULE

HOME
AWAY
PROMOTIONAL

STANDINGS

ATLANTIC DIVISION
  TEAM GP W L OT GF GA PTS
1 y - MTL 82 50 22 10 214 184 110
2 x - TBL 82 50 24 8 259 206 108
3 x - DET 82 43 25 14 231 211 100
4 x - OTT 82 43 26 13 232 208 99
5 BOS 82 41 27 14 209 201 96
6 FLA 82 38 29 15 198 213 91
7 TOR 82 30 44 8 206 257 68
8 BUF 82 23 51 8 153 269 54

STATS

2014-2015 REGULAR SEASON
SKATERS: GP G A +/- Pts
P. Bergeron 81 23 32 2 55
L. Eriksson 81 22 25 1 47
M. Lucic 81 18 26 13 44
C. Soderberg 82 13 31 10 44
B. Marchand 77 24 18 5 42
D. Hamilton 72 10 32 -3 42
R. Smith 81 13 27 7 40
T. Krug 78 12 27 13 39
D. Krejci 47 7 24 7 31
C. Kelly 80 7 21 6 28
 
GOALIES: W L OT Sv% GAA
T. Rask 34 21 13 .922 2.30
N. Svedberg 7 5 1 .918 2.33
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