The Bruins are raring to engage a rival from eastern Pennsylvania in the Eastern Conference semifinals, the same stage where they met the same adversary last season. There, they will vie to redeem an incomparable collapse that saw them spill a three-games-to-none lead en route to Game 7 defeat.
Just substitute “Providence” for “Boston,” “AHL” for “NHL” and “Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins” for “Philadelphia Flyers.” Apart from that, the pre-series parallels lend this 2013-14 saga a Xerox of 2010-11 for Bruins buffs.
For stretching addicts, one can add the fact that last year’s Providence-Scranton set began and ended on Bruins property. This time, the second round will start in Pennsylvania with the No. 6 Baby Pens sitting one seed above the Baby Bs.
Furthermore, the P-Bruins stamped their passport to this rematch with a winner-take-all first-round triumph over a historic playoff nemesis. Saturday’s 6-3 romp at MassMutual Center secured the 22-year-old franchise’s first postseason victory in three tries against the Springfield Falcons and four tries against any Springfield-based adversary.
Here are five other ice chips of trivia pertaining to the upcoming Bruins-Penguins Calder Cup playoff renewal:
· Seven members of the current Providence roster were in action for that fateful 5-0 falter last May 22: Tommy Cross, Craig Cunningham, Jared Knight, Bobby Robins, Ryan Spooner, Niklas Svedberg and David Warsofsky. All except Cross dressed for the opening round series with Springfield.
· Five other P-Bruins who started the previous Wilkes-Barre/Scranton series are now suiting up with the parent club. Defensemen Matt Bartkowski and Torey Krug were called up amidst each team’s 2013 postseason run. Fellow blueliner Kevan Miller and forwards Jordan Caron and Justin Florek stayed with Providence through at least last season’s end.
· The Penguins are fielding five holdovers from 12 months ago: Defensemen Brian Dumoulin, Reid McNeill and Philip Samuelsson; centers Zach Sill and Dominik Uher.
· Former Boston Bruins winger Chuck Kobasew has been with the Penguins’ farm club for the better part of the last two months. The 12-year professional veteran led Wilkes-Barre/Scranton with three goals and six points in a 3-1 first-round upset of the Binghamton Senators.
That 3-3-6 scoring log of his matches his 11-game postseason output as a member of the Spoked-Bs in 2009. Boston’s Game 7 second-round loss to Carolina that year was Kobasew’s last postseason game in any league until this spring.
The last time Kobasew partook in the Calder Cup playoffs? That would be 2005, when future teammate Patrice Bergeron and the P-Bruins ousted his Lowell Lock Monsters in the second round.
· The AHL Penguins bear another veteran NHL winger in Tom Kostopolous, who like Kobasew last saw Stanley Cup tournament action in 2009. Kostopolous was on the 2007-08 and 2008-09 Montreal teams that traded first-round victories with Kobasew’s Bruins.
In addition, his previous AHL campaign also ended at the hands of the P-Bruins, who dethroned his Manchester Monarchs in six games in those aforementioned 2005 playoffs.