Even if the Providence Bruins had their full lineup, earning three out of four points in road games at Lehigh Valley and Wilkes-Barre Scranton would have been a fine weekend.
The P-Bruins did it with a lineup depleted by callups and injuries, especially on defense, where they were forced to go with three rookies and two second-year pros.
On Friday, Providence jumped all over the Phantoms, scoring twice in the first 93 seconds on the way to a 5-3 win. On Saturday, they lost in overtime, 2-1, against a Penguins team that didn’t play on Friday. “Other than seven minutes in the second, I thought we were the better team. They capitalized and (Tristan) Jarry was good,’’ said coach Jay Leach.
Here’s the good, bad and ugly.
*** When the weekend ended, Providence continued to hold onto the fourth and last playoff spot in the Atlantic Division. With 74 points, they are five up on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton and six ahead of Lehigh Valley. With 12 games left, their magic number to clinch a playoff spot in 22.
*** Down from Boston, Peter Cehlarik was productive right off the bat, setting up a goal in the first minute and scoring one against the Phantoms.
*** Lee Stempniak scored twice against Lehigh Valley. Anton Blidh made a beautiful pass to set up Stempniak’s first goal on Friday. On the second goal, Karson Kuhlman made a nifty play to set up Stempniak for a shorthanded goal.
*** Ryan Fitzgerald scored his first goal in 28 games against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
*** Zach Senyshyn broke a 14-game goalless streak just 47 seconds into the game on Friday.
*** Dan Vladar backstopped the win in Allentown with 19 saves, one of them an incredible stop on Mike Vecchione on a first period power play. “Ludicous’’ is how Phantoms play by play guy Bob Rotruck described it.
*** Providence outshot Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in the third period, 21-7.
*** The P-Bruins have to bus all the way to Laval, Quebec, for just one game on Wednesday.
*** No assist for Gemell Smith on Cehlarik’s empty net goal in Allentown? He won a defensive zone draw, allowing Providence to gain possession.
*** Injured: Chris Breen, Jeremy Lauzon, Urho Vaakanainen, Cameron Hughes, Kyle Cumiskey, Anders Bjork.