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GAME DAY BLOG: Falcons vs. Bruins

by Rob Mixer / Columbus Blue Jackets

8:40 P.M. --
As we expected, the second period was a bit tamer than the first. Both teams seemed to settle into the game and there were some scoring chances exchanged along the way. Cody Bass did what he does well and dropped the mitts midway through the period, and implored his Falcons teammates to pick up the pace as he skated toward the box.

Did it work? We'll see.

QUICK TAKE: I thought the second period was much better for the Falcons defense, which was called upon a lot in the first 20 minutes. The penalty trouble subsided after Springfield killed off an abbreviated Providence power play to start the middle frame, and the skating legs started in motion shortly thereafter. Ryan Johansen slid a nice pass into the high slot for Ryan Russell, who spun and fired a shot behind Niklas Svedberg to give Springfield a 2-0 lead early in the second period.

McElhinney was the quieter of the two goaltenders in the second period, but he had to make a couple of saves as the Bruins activated the defense. He's made 24 saves to this point in the game, and has had a clean look at most of the pucks headed his way. You can expect the Bruins to send their skilled players out for heavy minutes in the third period as they look to make a dent in Springfield's lead -- making Larsen's "head north, and fast" mentality even more important.

7:45 P.M. -- I feel like I've seen this script before. Two weeks ago, when the Falcons played a Sunday afternoon game against Adirondack, the penalty box doors needed WD-40 by the time 20 minutes were in the books. It has been more of the same  tonight at the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, but Springfield has the lone goal after one period of play.

QUICK TAKE: The Falcons were thoroughly outplayed in the first period, at one point being outshot 7-2 by the Bruins and spending very little time outside of their own zone. After Springfield killed off a 5-on-3 that lasted 1:33, things seemed to change and the Falcons got their game going. The Bruins got careless and took a pair of penalties (closing hand on the puck, face-off violation) that gave the Falcons a two-man advantage of their own -- and Springfield made certain to cash in.

Nick Drazenovic slammed home a cross-ice pass from Ryan Johansen to give the Falcons a 1-0 lead they would take into the dressing room, and probably happily so. Brad Larsen's troops will get an earful in the dressing room for their penalty trouble, no doubt, but I expect a much cleaner (and faster-paced) second period from Springfield. We've yet to see them turn up the tempo in this game, and I think we'll see it once the middle stanza gets under way in just a few minutes.

6:50 P.M. --  We caught up with Blue Jackets head coach Todd Richards during our trip to Springfield to ask him about player development, and what he thinks of the Falcons' strong start. Check out the video, courtesy of JacketsTV:

6:30 P.M. -- Since we're about a half hour or so away from tonight's face-off between the Falcons and Bruins in Providence, let's go through some projected lines for the Birds.

Full disclosure: these are *mostly* the combinations that Brad Larsen and staff have used throughout the first four games of the season, so if they happen to change, please don't blame me.

Ok, you can blame me.

Audy-Marchessault - Johansen - Atkinson
Smith - Chaput - Collins
Calvert - Drazenovic - Kubalik
Craig - Joudrey - Bass

Also in the mix: Wade MacLeod, Tim Spencer, among others

Holden - Savard
Erixon - Goloubef
Moore - Prout/Amadio? **


5:30 P.M. -- Thanks to our friends at the Springfield Falcons, we were able to update our Falcons photo gallery on earlier this week. Here are some photos taken during last weekend's game action -- be sure to check out the entire gallery for some really good shots!

5:15 P.M. -- To keep you up-to-date on all the latest Blue Jackets prospects coverage from around the hockey map, we'll occasionally feature content in our game day blog.

Dan Marrazza, a hockey writer for, recently caught up with Boone Jenner and some of his Oshawa Generals teammates to talk about the season, and specifically to Jenner about the family values that have played a huge role in his development and hockey career.

You can read the full story by clicking here.

4:30 P.M. -- It's been a few days, but we're back in action with the Springfield Falcons game day blog on When we last left you, the Falcons dropped a 3-1 decision on home ice to the Providence Bruins -- one of their chief rivals and a club they will face a total of 10 times this season.

That's like the Blue Jackets, who normally face division rvials six times per season, playing four more games against the St. Louis Blues (which happens to be my favorite CBJ rivalry). I could deal with it.

Safe to say these two clubs don't care much for each other, and it's always a spirited affair when they get together. Tonight's game is the Falcons' first contest away from the MassMutual Center in 2012-13, and they'll skate against the Bruins in one of the top buildings in the American Hockey League -- the Dunkin Donuts Center in Providence, more affectionately known as "the Dunk."

I only say that because I have fond memories of the Dunk. In 2010, I was a student reporter for The Post at Ohio University and we traveled to cover the Bobcats men's basketball team in the NCAA Tournament. We thought we would be in town for a day or so, and write stories about the 14th-seed Bobcats bowing out to Georgetown in the opening round.  We were wrong, and Ohio trounced the Hoyas in one of the school's all-time greatest sports moments.

Oh, right. The hockey game.

The expectation is that Curtis McElhinney will start in goal once again for Springfield, and head coach Brad Larsen is getting very comfortable putting the wily veteran between the pipes. What we'll also look for is the situation on defense: the Falcons assigned Will Weber and Austin Madaisky to Evansville (ECHL) today, providing a bit more numerical clarity on the blue line.

Will Dalton Prout return? Is this the weekend that Greg Amadio gets into the action? We'll find out more in an hour or so, but for now, we just want to remind you (in case you hadn't heard)....

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