P-B's Look to Bounce Back Before Break
Providence would like to earn four points before heading home for the holidays
PROVIDENCE, RI -- Matt (The Dude?) Bartkowski has a way with words.
When asked about the P-Bruins 4-0 loss to the St. John's IceCaps last Sunday, a defeat the ended an eight game point streak for Providence, the defenseman simply said, "We did get our butt’s kicked…"
But with important games against Worcester (Friday in Providence) and Connecticut (Saturday in Hartford), the P-Bruins said they were determined to enter the AHL's holiday break on a roll and ready to begin hockey's unofficial second half on a high.
"We have to respond strong here and get back on track," said Bartkowski. "And going into the break I think it’s really important to play well because coming off…it’s hard to get clicking on all cylinders like you were before.
"So, I think it’ll be a lot easier if we have a good weekend here and do what we do best."
There's been plenty that's gone well for the P-B's recently as Boston's AHL club is 7-2-0-1 in their last 10. However, everyone who spoke to BostonBruins.com was disappointed with how their streak ended.
"What tends to happen when you get on a run is your last few games before you lose one, you’re not terrific," said P-Bruins Head Coach Bruce Cassidy. "And I thought we played a nice game Friday, opportunistic, but…it turned into a 3-2 game in a hurry being all sloppy.
"It carried over Saturday with some great saves from [Mike Hutchinson] and we were able to win the shootout two to one, so you can see it going the other way.
"And then our start Sunday was not very good, and they got a couple of fortunate bounces but you know, they worked hard to create them so we ended up losing that one," he said.
But the P-Bruins veterans said they will ensure that their club is ready to rebound on Friday.
"You know, it’s obvious we were at a pretty hot tear there. We were on a hot streak and playing really well as a team, and we got our first loss to end that streak and now it’s up to us to get back on that streak," said forward Bobby Robins. "I think we’re just looking at it as a little bump in the road and we’ll get over it and keep playing our game and I think we’re going to get in another one here."
"Yeah, I think we did have a good streak there but obviously most streaks do come to an end at some point, so I think the important thing is trying to get off to a new one tonight," agreed defenseman David Warsofsky. "We only have two games before the break, but I think if we can get a two game streak going into break I think brings a lot of confidence in the rest of the season."
However, the Providences coaches will also ensure the youngest B's prospects are ready to give their all two more times before heading home.
"Everyone’s kind of in the same boat in our league and these kids are young," said Cassidy. I’m sure a lot of them are thinking about getting home and seeing their folks…or whoever it is they’re going to visit.
"Hopefully we keep them focused tonight between 7 o’clock and 10 o’clock tonight and again tomorrow. Because our guys, they’ve given us a very good effort every night. There’s never been a complaint about that.
"Like everyone else, we’re a little flat from time to time, but for the most part we’re hard to play against. We’ve just got to make sure we’re executing our share of plays and we should be fine."
And Robins sees this weekend as an opportunity to salt some points away for the playoff hunt.
"It seems like our, for the last maybe three or four weeks we’ve played really well Friday, we’ve played really well Saturday, and then maybe let the game slip on Sunday," he said. "So we have Friday, Saturday this weekend and I think we can lay it all out on the table.
"And now that we have three or four days off for Christmas to enjoy our family and friends, but right now it’s right down to business and get the job done and we’re looking for four points this weekend."
Notes: Providence will start goaltender Niklas Svedberg versus Worcester…Forward Trent Whitfield (upper body) is hoping to return to contact drills next week…Defenseman Garnet Exelby won't play tonight, but may return to the lineup on Saturday.