Providence, R.I. – If the Portland Pirates were going to advance to the next round, they knew they needed to win at least one game in Providence.
Jhonas Enroth did his part, making 28 saves for his fourth career shutout as the Pirates defeated the Providence Bruins, 3-0, in front of 4,283 at the Dunkin Donuts Center on Wednesday night to take a 1-0 lead in the best-of-seven series.
“In the playoffs it’s only about the win and that was the most important thing (tonight), but it was nice to get the shutout,” said Enroth.
The Bruins pressed Portland early in the game, getting 10 of their 28 shots in the first five minutes of the period. Enroth needed to make a couple of game-saving saves including one in the first minute of the period as he swiped the puck out of the crease with the back of his glove.
Pirates’ head coach Kevin Dineen was quick to praise his goalies efforts
“I think my goaltending was pretty good and that’s always a key,” said Dineen. “You’ve got to have good goaltending and Jhonas was very good and made the saves he needed too.”
One of the keys in this series for the Pirates is getting to Bruins’ goalie Tuukka Rask. Last season in the Atlantic Division Final against the Pirates, Rask had a 2.74 GAA with a .880 save percentage. The Bruins built a 2-0 lead, outscoring the Pirates 11-4 before the Pirates came back and defeated Bruins in four straight games.
This season has been much of the same for Rask against the Pirates, despite going 4-3-0-0 his GAA was 3.45 with a .883 save percentage.
The Pirates beat Rask early in the first period to jump to a 1-0 lead.
Marek Zagrapan scored the first of his two goals on the night at 4:23 of the period when he redirected Mark Mancari’s shot past Rask.
“When you play with (Mancari), you know what to expect from him so I just kept my feet moving and put my stick on the ice,” said Zagrapan.
The game remained scoreless for nearly 36 minutes before the Pirates made it 2-0, deflating whatever energy was left in the Bruins.
Rask made a play on the trying to move it up the boards, but Felix Schutz intercepted the puck, firing a wide-angle shot on net for his first of the playoffs.
“(Rask) didn’t see my on the left side and passed it right on my stick,” said Schutz. “It bounced a little bit and I just shot it on net got a lucky bounce and it went in.”
Zagrapan added an empty-net goal with less than minute remaining to seal the victory for Portland with Game 3 schedule for Friday night at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
“We’re two evenly matched teams and they’re all going to be tight scoring games,” said Dineen.
“We needed to win one in their building and we accomplished that, but at the end of the day we need to win four (game).”
NOTES: Dennis Persson, Sabres’ first round draft pick in 2006, was a healthy scratch along with Geoff Waugh and Jimmy Bonneau.