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Bruins 5, Phantoms 3: Comeback effort falls short as first-round series evens up

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The possibility of a sweep has been taken off the table.

Gregory Vasil/Getty Images

One of the bigger stories coming into game 2 was that Jordan Binnington, not Zane McIntyre, would be starting in goal for the Providence Bruins. McIntyre allowed 3 goals on 24 shots in yesterday’s game and Binnington was one of the league’s best goaltenders during the regular season.

1st period

From the very beginning it was all Providence. Sound familiar? Just 15 seconds into the game Adam Payerl had a glorious chance right in front of Alex Lyon but he was able to make the save. However he couldn’t make the save just a minute and 52 seconds later when Anton Blindh put the puck past him to put the Bruins up 1-0 early.

The Phantoms first shot on goal came from Colin McDonald with 16:16 remaining in the period. It wasn’t a dangerous shot at all, but noteworthy because the Bruins already had 4 shots on goal at this point.

Just minutes later, things got worse for the Phantoms. Peter Cehlarik was wide open in the slot and beat Lyon on the glove side to put Providence up 2-0.

Around 8 minutes in the game started to get a bit more physical as there was a scrum right round the Bruins’ bench that led to Nicolas Aube-Kubel and Colby Cave receiving matching roughing minors. It was clear that the Phantoms were trying anything to change the momentum and they desperately needed to as they were being outshot 7-2 and out-attempted 15-4.

Once the game went to 4-on-4, the Phantoms struggles there continued. The Bruins had the majority of the shots and chances, and although Phil Varone may have had the best shift skating circles around the Bruins’ zone, nothing came from it.

Back at 5-on-5 Philippe Myers made a great play on a Bruins’ 3-on-2 odd-man rush where he successfully blocked the passing lane and directed the puck into the corner, negating their rush.

With 5 minutes remaining in the period Carsen Twarynski drew a slashing penalty on Chris Breen, sending the Phantoms to a much needed man advantage. While the power play started hot, with a booming point shot by T.J. Brennan and a Chris Conner backhand shot from the slot hitting the crossbar, what followed was a series of clears by the Bruins as they went on to kill the penalty.

From then on it was rough play by the Phantoms, specifically their transition game. They could barely get the puck out of their zone and if they did, almost all their zone entries failed.

The last thing of note for the period was that Chris Porter appeared to get injured as time expired. He was on the receiving end of a Myers’ hit and had to have the referee help him skate off the ice.

Shots on goal were 12-10 in favor of the Bruins, and 5-on-5 CF was 22-10, also in favor of the Bruins.

2nd period

The Phantoms started the period with a bit more life. Just 44 seconds in Cole Bardreau found himself with a pretty good scoring chance off the rush, but following the shot he ran the defenseman into Binnington and was called for roughing. The Phantoms headed to the penalty kill for the first time tonight.

It was a pretty good kill by Lehigh Valley, allowing just 3 shot attempts, none of which were too dangerous. Lyon made two routine saves to keep Providence from taking a 3-0 lead.

With the game returning to 5-on-5, it began to really open up. Both teams had some pretty good opportunities off the rush but they failed to take a shot. Both teams had a case of overpassing if you ask me.

Chris Conner drew a kneeing penalty about 8 minutes into the period and the Phantoms were going on their second power play of the game. On that power play, Mark Friedman scored! It was his first goal of the playoffs and it came off a great backhand pass by Danick Martel.

Just over a minute later, the game was tied! Chris Conner took a shot off the rush that Binnington couldn’t handle and Mike Vecchione put home the rebound, tying the game at 2. It was a shocking turnaround, but a much needed one.

At this point of the period the Phantoms and Bruins were tied in 5-on-5 Corsi 4-4, and I say this now because this is the moment of the period where I lost track of the shot attempts.

Lehigh Valley continued to generate great chances, thoroughly outplaying the Bruins for the first time all game. Providence’s play did improve as the period continued, and Peter Cehlarik had a great chance that rang off the post. In the aftermath of the shot hitting the post, David Drake took a hooking penalty, and honestly it was a good penalty to take. He may have a negated a goal.

It was a very good penalty kill by the Phantoms, one that they allowed only 4 shot attempts, all coming from the point. Both Max Lamarche and Cole Bardreau had key blocks on the kill, reducing the Bruins to just 2 shots on goal.

Late in the period Greg Carey almost put the Phantoms up 3-2, but he was unable to get a hold of the puck. Binnington had no idea where the puck was.

With just 0.2 seconds remaining on the clock, Anton Blidh shot the puck over the glass, which resulted in a delay of game penalty. The Phantoms will begin the third period on the power play.

Shots on goal in the period were 12-9 in favor of the Bruins, but the Phantoms were able to score the only 2 goals.

3rd Period

The puck was dropped and almost immediately wound up in their net. Austin Czarnik scored a shorthanded goal to give the Bruins a 3-2 lead just 19 seconds into the period. This was uncharacteristic of the Phantoms, as they only allowed 4 shorthanded goals all season, the least among all AHL teams. The Bruins went on to kill the power play without allowing any dangerous chances at all.

Once the game was back to 5-on-5 the Phantoms had a 3-on-2 odd-man rush with Martel, Vecchione, and Conner, but Martel’s pass was blocked and they failed to generate a shot. Both teams seemed to be unable to convert on a lot of their odd-man situations tonight.

You have to appreciate the Phantoms effort in the third. While they were unable to score, they controlled play for the first 10 minutes of the period. They were only credited with 3 shots on goal, but they had plenty of opportunities and shot attempts.

With 9:56 remaining in the game, Colin McDonald got sent to the box for tripping. He made it very clear that he felt it was the wrong call. On the ensuing Bruins’ power play Alex Lyon came up huge, making some ridiculous saves like the one below:

However, the Bruins did end up scoring on the power play when Peter Cehlarik picked the top corner to score his second goal of the game.

Down by 2 with 9 and a half minutes remaining, the Phantoms’ defensemen were activated. Throwing caution to the wind, they were generating a good amount of chances, especially off the rush, but they were unable to beat Binnington.

That was until Varone entered the zone, found Carey, and he let it fly.

With 2:39 remaining in the game, Scott Gordon decided to pull Lyon for an extra attacker. While I appreciated his aggressiveness – play to win – it didn’t work in his favor this time. Jakob Forsbacka Karlsson scored with 1:33 left in the game, giving the Bruins a 5-3 lead.

Down by 2, Lyon remained on the bench for the center ice draw and while the Phantoms had a few good chances at the end of the game, they couldn’t convert and the game was over.

The Bruins won game 2 by a final score of 5-3 and tied the series up 1-1. Final shots on goal were 36-26 in favor of Providence. Danick Martel followed up his 2-goal performance yesterday with 2 assists today, giving him 4 points through the first two games of the playoffs.