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2023 Calder Cup Playoffs

AHL Atlantic Division Semifinal Preview: Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack

AHL Atlantic Division Semifinal Preview: Providence Bruins vs. Hartford Wolf Pack

PROVIDENCE, R.I. – An upper-Atlantic Division tilt is coming together in the second round of the Calder Cup Playoffs as the Providence Bruins are set to battle the Hartford Wolf Pack in the clash of two rivals. The Wolf Pack continued their roll in the late stages of the season that got them into the playoff picture by steamrolling the Springfield Thunderbirds. At the same time, the ever-consistent Bruins enter the postseason after finishing atop the Eastern Conference. It’s set to be an entertaining battle between two heavy offensive teams that should test each club’s mettle on the defensive side of the puck, with the likes of Vinni Lettieri and Georgii Merkulov matched by Tanner Fritz and Lauri Pajuniemi at just the tip of the iceberg with a trip to the division finals on the line.

Final Regular Season Records

Providence Bruins: 44-18-8-2, 98 points, first Atlantic

Hartford Wolf Pack: 35-26-4-7, 81 points, fifth Atlantic

How They Got Here 

The Providence Bruins earned a bye from the first round, finishing first in the division and the conference. On the other hand, the Hartford Wolf Pack pushed hard to get into fifth place before sweeping the Springfield Thunderbirds by a combined score of 13-2 in two games.

Series Schedule

Game 1: Hartford Wolf Pack at PROVIDENCE BRUINS, Friday, April 28 at 7:05 p.m. EDT

Game 2: Hartford Wolf Pack at PROVIDENCE BRUINS, Saturday, April 29 at 7:05 p.m. EDT

Game 3: Providence Bruins at HARTFORD WOLF PACK, Wednesday, May 3 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

Game 4 (if necessary): Providence Bruins at HARTFORD WOLF PACK, Friday, May 5 at 7:00 p.m. EDT

Game 5 (if necessary): Hartford Wolf Pack at PROVIDENCE BRUINS, Sunday, May 7 at 7:05 p.m. EDT

Season Series Recap

Hartford had a 6-3-1-0 record against Providence, with four of those games going beyond regulation. The Wolf Pack earned three of their wins in the three-on-three overtime format over ten total games in 2022-23.

How Providence Wins

The Bruins win this series by bringing a total team effort.

With their National Hockey League affiliate, the Boston Bruins, amid their playoff run, they’ll be without goaltender Brandon Bussi as an extra. However, Kyle Keyser is more than capable of carrying the weight as part of the tandem and will get a chance to prove himself in his first playoff start since 2019. The Bruins attack in waves and play stout defense, and it’ll be a challenge to beat their depth with ten players tallying at least 30 points. Even when their top players are defended well, the Bruins can roll multiple lines that can burn their opposition. The Wolf Pack represents a good test to show this team is a legitimate contender for the Calder Cup. Providence has rarely faltered this season, and it wouldn’t be surprising to see them ramp up their play as the temperature outside increases.

How Hartford Wins

Don’t change a thing.

Hartford’s offense has been at its most potent recently, tallying 13 goals over two games in the Springfield series and looking far better than their placement would tell. As a result, they’re a team nobody wants to play right now as a result, and with three straight wins to cap off the season series and three wins in a row at Amica Mutual Pavilion, they seem set to give Providence all they can handle. Although they’ll be without starter Louis Domingue due to recall to the New York Rangers, Dylan Garand now has the opportunity to continue running with the crease, which includes a 35-save win over the Bruins on April 8. Hartford’s defense must be as on-point as their offense to win this series. Hartford appears to be perfectly in sync between their lines, with this series being a major test to their depth and mettle, but as the league’s hottest team down the stretch, it’s just their latest test yet.

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