What’s that smell you ask?
It would be the odor of the rotten egg laid by the Portland Pirates, Friday night, in Providence, Rhode Island.
The Pirates gave up a pair of Torey Krug power-play goals in the first period, and never recovered en route to a 6-1 loss to the Providence Bruins in front of 8,599 at the Dunkin Donuts Center.
Providence has taken nine of a possible 12 points (4-1-0-1) so far in the season series against the Pirates as Niklas Svedberg, who has been in net for five of the six games, made 25 saves for the win.
Portland (24-16-1-1) dropped its third straight game, and its fourth-in-five games. Incidentally, the losing streak happens to coincide with the end of the NHL lockout, in which prior to that, the Pirates had won 17 of 22 games to soar atop of the AHL’s Atlantic Division.
The Pirates, who now sit four points back of the Manchester Monarchs, are missing six players on the roster that are currently with the Pirates’ NHL parent club, Phoenix Coyotes, including its top scorer in Alexandre Bolduc and top-two defensemen, Michael Stone and David Rundblad.
It’s not an excuse, however, that Pirates coach Ray Edwards is willing to buy into as he told the Portland Press Herald after the game.
“I don’t want to hear anything about excuses,” he told the Press Herald. “The only way to get out of this is by putting it behind us and working hard. The way we played tonight was completely unacceptable.”
Unacceptable would be an understatement as Edward later referred to the game as their ‘worst game of the season’ in the same interview with the Press Herald.
The Pirates were shorthanded five times in the first period, giving the Bruins a pair of five-on-three opportunities.
Krug made it 1-0 for the Bruins at the 3:17 mark of the first period when he ripped a slap shot from between the top of the circles, beating Pirates’ goalie Mark Visentin.
Less than two minutes later, Carter Camper put the Bruins up 2-0 with a knuckler that snuck its way past Visentin.
Portland’s lone bright spot happen to come while killing off a penalty as Rob Klinkhammer intercepted a pass for a clean breakaway on Bruins’ goaltender Niklas Svedberg, who made the stop, but left a rebound for Jordan Szwarz, trailing the play and buried it to cut the lead, 2-1.
At 9:51 of the first period, with the Pirates down two men, Krug added his second power-play of goal of the game.
The Pirates looked to be heading into the locker room down two goals after two periods, but Kyle MacKinnon flipped a backhander past Visentin, who finished with 23 shots in the loss, with only 36 seconds left in the period.
Jamie Tardif added his 19th goal of the season seven minutes into the third period, extending Providence’s lead, 5-1.
With 2:16 left in the game, Max Sauve topped off the scoring for the Bruins, 6-1.
Portland went 0-for-6 in the game with the man advantage to go scoreless in its last 10 power play opportunities, and have gone 2-for-32 (6.3%), on the power play dating back to Jan. 12.
NOTES: Rookie forward Jordan Martinook returned to the Pirates’ lineup after missing five games with an upper-body injury… Defenseman Boris Valabik made his debut after signing an American Hockey League contract with the Pirates two weeks ago… Defenseman Chris Summers was named to the Eastern Conference roster for the upcoming AHL All-Star Classic being held Sunday and Monday at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence. Summers is replacing David Rundblad currently on recall to the Coyotes. In 37 games with the Pirates, he’s scored a goal, seven assists for eight points with a plus-4 rating…Rookie forward Chris Brown was reassigned to Portland from Arizona Sundogs of the Central Hockey League by the Coyotes on Friday. He’s expected to be in the lineup against Manchester on Saturday… Nick Johnson’s stay with the Pirates was a short one as the Coyotes recalled the forward earlier in the day on Friday. Johnson’s recall was prompted by an injury sustained by center Matthew Lombardi during the second period of Thursday’s 5-3 loss to San Jose. According to Coyotes’ General Manager Don Maloney, Lombardi could miss “significant time” with an upper-body injury. Johnson is the seventh player recalled by the Coyotes since the end of the 119-day NHL labor work stoppage.