Friday, May 15, 2009
Providence & Hershey Pretty Evenly Matched
May 15, 2009
by T. Chace Jr.
Providence has won 8 of their last 10 games. They are 8-3 in the playoffs, Hershey is 8-3 also and rookie goaltender Michal Neuvirth just had back to back 3-0 shutout victories. Neuvirth, a 21 year-old Czech, faces 22 year-old Bruins goaltender Tuukka Rask from Finland. Their stats in the playoffs are nearly identical, 11 games played, Rask has played 663 minutes to 661 for Neuvirth. They have each faced over 320 shots, Rask has allowed just 19 goals to 21 for Neuvirth. Rask's GAA is 1.72 compared to 1.91 for Neuvirth. Rask's save percentage is just a little bit better at .943 to .936. Consider the goaltending a wash as they face off on Saturday night in Hershey.
Providence has several players at the top of the AHL Playoff scoring stats. Three time All-Star Martin St.Pierre leads the Bruins in scoring and is tied for 2nd in the league with 13 points, consisting of 5 goals and 8 assists. Rookie super-pest Brad Marchand has 6 playoff goals, 2nd in the league and 12 points total. Vladimir Sobotka has 10 points and along with high scoring defenseman Johnny Boychuk who has 3 goals and 4 assists helping to lead the team as they head to the Eastern Conference Finals.
The teams faced off during the regular season twice, each winning on home ice. Hershey had the best record in the AHL when they faced the Bruins at "The Dunk" in Providence on January 2nd, 2009. Providence handily beat the Bears from start to finish, winning 7-2. Hershey paid back the Bruins on March 1, 2009 with a 6-4 beating that was not as close as the score would indicate. All things considered, this is match up that appears to be quite evenly matched and should make for some great hockey.
Posted by T.Chace Jr. at 5:59 PM