Photo by Jeff Parsons, St. John's IceCaps - Jeff Parsons, St. John's IceCaps
Saturday night marks the second and third meetings of the season between the IceCaps and Providence as the two kick off a weekend set in St. John's.
The last time the Providence Bruins and St. John's IceCaps locked up, the IceCaps were easily discarded in a 3-0 loss at Rhode Island's Dunkin' Donuts Center. Registering only 18 shots while allowing 38, it was one of three losses in a four game road trip for the 'Caps earlier this month.
Since then, the IceCaps have continued their flip-flopping ways going 3-3 over their recent span. They've had a tough time putting together any type of winning streak this season, and they don't exactly look like they'll be breaking out of this funk any time soon. St. John's still has the worst goal differential in the East and have an overall record of 8-9-0-0, good for tenth place, with more games played than anyone else in the conference.
The Bruins arrive in St. John's with an even worse record (6-7-0-1) and a slightly better goal differential (they're at -10, the Caps at -12). This isn't exactly the game of the night in the AHL, but it's four points the IceCaps need to take in order to pull themselves back above .500 and begin separating themselves from the conference basement before hitting the road this week.
Is it too early to start declaring these "must-win" games? Of course. But obviously folks are eager to see if the team is for real after the bar was set sky high last season. So far they haven't shown it.
As always, it's important to keep any eye on the prospects. The Bruins have a few 90's kids, including Ryan Spooner, Maxim Sauve and Jordan Caron up front. Spooner currently leads the team in points with 11 in 13 games, while Caron and Sauve have both notched 4 goals apiece. On the back end Torey Krug has four points as a rookie.
These are a few players to look out for, but perhaps where the Bruins are strongest is in goal, with rookie Nik Svedberg.
Svedberg shut out the IceCaps earlier this month and has started in ten of the Bruins' 14 games this season. As a 23-year old, he's boasts a .927 SV%, which ranks seventh in the entire AHL among goalies.
For the IceCaps, a team who's starting lineup changes from game to game, there isn't a whole lot to report. The team has been without one of their better forwards in Patrice Cormier for most of the season and that likely won't change until Christmas. Follow the official IceCaps twitter account to get starting lineups prior to game time, because, like I said, the juggling is a bit extreme and even has some fans agitated. Though, injuries have played a large part, no doubt.
Tonight's game goes at 7:30 Newfoundland time, 6:00pm EST. Check in at This is Newfoundland and Labrador where Brian Rogers has the call.