Maine Hockey Journal

Pirates fall to Bruins in SO; shake up offense

What a 24 hours this has been. I was in Providence last night to watch the Pirates and Bruins in their third meeting in the last four games. For Providence, it was their third straight game against the Pirates. So, they’re familiar foes at this point.

The Bruins had just completed a 10-game road trip, finishing 8-1-1 because the Dunkin Donuts Center was being renovated. They’re in their second-year of the three-year project that will cost the State of Rhode Island close to 80 million dollars including overruns, but it will be a beautiful building when completed.

Oh yeah, there was a hockey game to be played.

The Bruins would defeat the Pirates 3-2 in a shootout in front of 6,288 the Dunkin Donuts Center as David Krejci scored the only goal in the shootout to seal the victory.

It was an odd game because it didn’t have a lot of flow to it. Both teams were flat for the first half of the period, so much so that K. Dineen began to shuffle his lines.

He started the game with different line combinations from Sunday’s game against Hartford, opting for the following:

Segal-Ryan-Wilson
Keith-Ebbett-King
Hoffman-Wirtanen-Dwyer
Hoffman-Bouck-Dixon

That lasted until midway into the first period when he changed to the following:

Bouck-Ebbett-King
Keith-Dixon-Dwyer

Eventually, he had the King-Ebbett-Dixon line together so if you aren’t confused by now, then I congratulate you.

It took Portland a while to find their groove and they would go down by a couple goals, but in the second and third period, they seemed to find that chemistry as they’d battle back to tie the game with 41 seconds left.

Stephen Dixon scored both goals for Portland beginning with his first one at 12:42 of the second period. A scramble ensued around the Providence goal and Dixon managed to just get a piece of it and lift over Tuukka Rask to get the Pirates on the board.

With 41 seconds left, Bobby Ryan held onto the puck and from the right face-off circle fired a change up on net, it went off Dixon’s leg pad, beating Rask to tie the game. It was a case of take’em any way you can get them.

Portland had a chance to win it in the overtime session with the P-Bruins serving a bench minor for too many men on the ice, but the Pirates couldn’t seal the deal.

Both Hiller and Rask were simply outstanding, they have to be the two best goaltenders in the AHL right now because they put on a show for the fans at the Dunkin Donuts Center. It was like watching two Cy Young pitchers battling for a no-hitter. It was just amazing to watch.

Official Scoresheet

As for today, it was suppose to a wonderful day off and chance to relax, but this morning, news came from Syracuse that a trade had gone down involving the Pirates parent club, Anaheim Ducks and the Columbus Blue Jackets as well as a small deal between the Crunch and Pirates.

So what was suppose to be a day off, turned into a day of chicken and egg chasing as news continued to roll out from Syracuse and Columbus.

The Anaheim Ducks acquired forward Geoff Platt from Columbus for defenseman Aaron Rome and forward Clay Wilson. The Pirates acquired former Pirate defenseman Bruno St. Jacques for future considerations.

This deal was in way a shock, but not a surprise.

The Pirates offense has been struggling for the last month, as they aren’t getting any secondary scoring at all. This is why Dineen is shuffling lines so much, he’s trying to find the right combination and not stall out Ebbett and King (his only real production), but get Ryan, Dixon, Segal and Wirtanen going.

In seven games this season, Platt scored seven points (3g, 4a). In three seasons with Syracuse, he has combined for 121 points (63g, 58a) with 124 PIM in 134 career AHL contests. In 2006-07, he led the club in goals and finished third in points with 29 goals, 21 assists for 49 points. In addition, Platt has played in 41 NHL games, scoring 14 points (4g, 10a).

With any hope, it will be what the Pirates need to get that offensive spark going again.

With the Ducks dealing away Rome and Kondratiev not reporting to Portland, it left the Pirates very thin of the blueline especially if an injury had occurred in Anaheim and somebody needed to be recalled so the Pirates were quick to acquire St. Jacques for future considerations.

This is a good trade off because Rome was no longer in the Ducks plans. With eight defensemen in Anaheim and potentially nine if Scott Niedermayer came back, the chances of Rome ever seeing the NHL in a Ducks uniform was going to be remote. It was inevitable that Rome was going to be dealt; his prospect status was diminishing and his play this season was not up to Anaheim’s standards, but being traded to the Blue Jackets was certainly a surprise.

In recent weeks, his name was mentioned among hockey circles as somebody who Pittsburgh has their eye on. Penguins’ scout Kevin Steven had been to the Civic Center a couple times, the speculation was Burke, and Penguins GM Ray Shero might be talking about a switch for some much-needed scoring help in Anaheim.

Clay Wilson had a career season with the Pirates last season playing defense. With the influx of new defenseman coming in, the Pirates tried to experiment with him at forward and there was some success, but he was never happy about playing up front. In Syracuse, he’ll be able to move to the back end and get back to his game which he had so much success

Getting St. Jacques back to Portland will have a positive effect on the team. He has a hard shot from the point and can quarterback the power play effectively, he has a real mean streak to him and can make opposing forwards lives pretty miserable and he’s a good locker room guy. His one downfall is he’s been considered to be one that is injury prone. He missed 20 games in 05-06 with the Pirates due to a hip problem and he has a history of shoulder problems, but if he’s healthy on ice, the Pirates have improved on defense.

Overall, this is a trade that Pirates did very well for themselves on. They improved the offense and the defense giving up – what could be termed – disposable assets. Neither Rome nor Wilson was going to be in the Ducks future and the Pirates offense was struggling enough that this was a change in a positive direction for all parties.

St. Jacques and Platt will arrive in Portland on Friday, take part in the morning skate and be in the line-up for the Pirates against the Monarchs.

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