For the first time since the 2008-2009 season, the Providence Bruins are going back to the playoffs. And they're going into the playoffs as the AHL's top seed after finishing the regular season with 105 points.
The Bruins have won nine straight games will face the Hershey Bears in the first round, who just happen to be the last team to beat the Bruins on March 30. In fact, since Feb. 1, the Bruins have lost just seven games.
There weren't high expectations for the Bruins this season. Making the playoffs would have been nice but you'll be hard pressed to find anyone would expected this group to be the top seed in the Eastern Conference and collect the most points in the AHL. They were inconsistent in the first half of the season but really turned it on when the calendar flipped to 2013.
It' s been a great turnaround season for the Baby-B's. It should have Boston Bruins fans excited considering the amount of talent that is currently in Providence. Ryan Spooner, Torey Krug and Niklas Svedberg have really emerged this year and could challenge for spots in Boston next year.
Svedberg is arguably the biggest surprise this season. Peter Chiarelli signed him as a free agent from Sweden. He went 37-8-2 with a 2.17 goals against average and a .925 save percentage. It's hard to say anyone expected those type of numbers from Svedberg this season, his first in North America. Svedberg could be Boston's backup next season with Tuukka Rask and Anton Khudobin free agents at the end of this season.
Spooner and Krug also showed that they deserve a look in Boston in next season. Both saw time with the big club due to injuries earlier this season and didn't disappoint in their limited action. Spooner played in four games while Krug appeared just one game, but did record an assist. Spooner led the Bruins and all AHL rookies with 40 assists and 57 points. If he can add some more size to his body and get top-six minutes consistently, he could make an impact in the NHL.
Krug was the leading scorer on the blue line with 45 points and 32 assists. He has already showed that he can handle playing at the NHL level. Andrew Ference has struggled this year and is a free agent at the end of the season. With Krug in Providence, Boston could afford to let Ference walk.
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