PROVIDENCE – The Providence Bruins will close out the regular season with their 14th and final three-in-three, starting with a home game against the Charlotte Checkers Friday night at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center.
It’s an important game in terms of playoff positioning, with the P-Bruins starting the night in third place in the Atlantic Division with a points percentage of .623 and the Checkers in fourth at .622. The P-Bruins have played one fewer game.
The P-Bruins will get back Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson, Kenny Agostino and Jordan Szwarz tonight. JFK missed 18 games with a concussion, Agostino sat out four with an upper body injury and Szwarz missed two with an unknown injury.
So, with a lot on the line, is coach Jay Leach using his ‘A’ lineup tonight?
“I’m not going to say that,’’ he said this morning.
“We have 29 skaters and I can legitimately say that all 29 can play. The group that’s in tonight is the group that for the most part has been here all year, other than Freddy (Trent Frederic). We’ve had a good year and we’re going to start tonight with the majority of guys that were here and we’ll work off that.
“There are other men here who can do the job as well. We’re going to take the weekend to try to fine tune our game, see what pieces fit. Everyone’s got to be ready. Organizationally, we’re busy right now. We’ll have two series going and it’s all hands on deck. That’s our approach to it.’’
Jordan Binnington starts in goal tonight for the P-Bruins. Zane McIntyre was in Boston last night as the Bruins’ third goalie. He’ll most likely get the start on Saturday in Springfield, Leach said.
Look for former P-Bruin Jeremy Smith to get the start for the Checkers.
Valentin Zykov, tied for first in the AHL with 32 goals, was shaken up when he took a bad fall into the boards during Charlotte’s morning skate. That will be something to keep an eye on.
After visiting Springfield on Saturday, the P-Bruins close out the regular season against the Thunderbirds on Sunday afternoon. Playoffs are likely to start next Friday.
PROVIDENCE SCRATCHES: Cehlarik (upper body), Hennessy (upper body), Studnicka, Johansson, Hickman, Acolatse, Sherman, Koppanen, Hughes, Keyser, Kuhlman