The Eastern Conference’s second-worst and second-best will converge on the Dunkin Donuts Center when the Providence Bruins host the Connecticut Whale Friday night.
In terms of winning percentage, the most telling nugget of data as to everyone’s position in the Calder Cup playoff derby, Connecticut (.675) trails only the St. John’s IceCaps (.700) for tops in the conference. The Binghamton Senators (.381) are all that are keeping the P-Bruins (.391) out of the absolute basement.
The P-Bruins have neither donned home game attire nor cultivated a single point since the last time they faced Connecticut, which pilfered a 3-2 shootout decision Nov. 20. Since then, Providence has come up empty on a three-game road trip, conceding one match with Hershey and two straight to Norfolk by an aggregate 12-6 margin.
Overall, the Bruins are nursing a six-game winless streak, their only point being that aforementioned shootout reward in their fall-from-ahead loss to the Whale.
Forwards Carl Hagelin and John Mitchell have both been on recall to the parent New York Rangers since Thanksgiving Day. Despite missing their last three games, Hagelin and Mitchell are still in a three-way tie with Jonathan Audy-Marchessault for the Whale team lead with seven goals apiece.
Andre Deveaux, who has not seen AHL game action since the tail-end of October, was reassigned from The Show on Thursday.
Since the Whale’s last meeting with the P-Bruins, Audy-Marchessault has started up a four-game point-getting streak with a cumulative 2-4-6 log in that span. Meanwhile, defenseman Pavel Valentenko has a goal in each of his last two outings.
Since starting the season at 1-2-0, Connecticut has only had trouble with Bridgeport and St. John’s, going a cumulative 1-4-2 against those two teams. But dating back to Oct. 21, the Whale are a pristine 11-0-0 versus all other adversaries.