The Providence Bruins started their 31st season this weekend with a bang.
They won their first two games and they did it in entertaining fashion with contributions from veterans and from rookies, who scored the game-winning goals in both games.
The P-Bruins beat the Bridgeport Islanders, 3-1, at home on Friday night, then topped the Springfield Thunderbirds, 4-3, on the road on Sunday.
Here’s the good, bad and ugly.
— Keith Kinkaid was outstanding with 42 saves in Friday’s win against Bridgeport.
— Fabian Lysell scored the game-winning goal against the Islanders, then turned in a dazzling performance on Sunday with three assists against the Thunderbirds. Georgii Merkulov potted the rebound of Lysell’s shot for his first helper. Then the 19-year-old Swede made a brilliant pass to set up Vinni Lettieri’s power-play goal and dished the puck to a wide-open Luke Toporowski for another goal.
— Georgii Merkulov scored a goal in each game and made some nice plays. He’s not timid about going to the hard areas. His goals were scored from close range and he was knocked down both times.
— Vinni Lettieri had a good weekend with an assist on Friday and a goal and an assist on Sunday.
— Luke Toporowski scored his first goal as a pro on Sunday and it was the game-winner. He beat T-Birds goalie Joel Hofer with his blazing wrist shot.
— Chris Wagner turned in an excellent weekend. His performance on Friday was particularly strong as he scored a goal and threw half a dozen hits.
— Providence’s penalty kill rose to the occasion in keeping Springfield from scoring during a four-minute power play in the first period on Sunday.
— Captain Josiah Didier hustled in from the blue line to bury a rebound on Sunday for his first goal of the season.
— Kyle Keyser bent but didn’t break, making 33 saves in Sunday’s win.
— Fabian Lysell took hooking penalties in the third period of both games as Providence guarded a lead. On Friday he skated into traffic with the puck and absorbed a big hit. The sooner he learns not to put himself in situations like that, the better.
— The P-Bruins gave up a lot of shots — 43 on Friday and 36 on Sunday
— Three times Providence took the lead in Springfield and all three times they allowed the tying goal within minutes.
— Injured: Eddie Tralmaks, Matt Filipe.
— Misspelling Keith Kinkaid’s name a bunch of times, as I did, is ugly. For someone who’s been doing this as long as I have, it’s inexcusable. I’ll be better.