There's really no way around it: last night wasn't the Falcons' finest effort of the season, nor was it a performance indicative of how well Curtis McElhinney has played to this point.
And in total fairness, I'd say (and I mentioned it on Twitter) that McElhinney is owed a few steak dinners and/or goals in support after all of the occasions in which he's saved his club's collective bacon. See that? Steak and bacon in the same sentence. Now I'm hungry.
Springfield never really got things going at the Dunkin Donuts Center last night, and it's hard to figure out why. They have played well in that building this season, including an earlier 3-0 shutout of the Bruins which was in the Falcons' complete control all the way through the final buzzer.
But this one was different -- very much so -- and I'll be keenly interested to see how they respond tonight at home.
The St. John's IceCaps are in town for tonight's game at the MassMutual Center, and they have to be sick of seeing the Falcons. In the three-game season series, Springfield is 3-0-0 and swept a two-game set last weekend in Newfoundland Labrador.
If there's one thing that will help the Falcons in this game, it'll be the "nasty factor." Each previous match-up between these squads has been uptempo and emotional right from the drop of the puck.
There won't be any wading into this game like Springfield did last night before trying to battle back in the third period -- the full complement will be required at the outset, and that's probably a good thing.
Other assorted pre-game notes before the tonight's face-off:
-- Cam Atkinson's two-point night in Providence gives him 27 on the year (15 goals, 12 assists) to rank him third in the entire AHL. He's riding a six-game points streak (six goals, five assists) and also a five-game goal scoring streak. En fuego.
-- John Moore was +2 last night and improved his total rating to +15, also the third-best mark in the AHL. He's quietly having a terrific season and it won't be going under the radar for much longer.
-- Springfield allowed its first shorthanded goal of the season last night when Lane MacDermid spoiled a Falcons man advantage. Only the Chicago Wolves remain as the last AHL team not to yield a shorthanded goal this season. Mighty impressive.
-- Will be interesting to see where Brad Larsen goes with his goaltending tonight. I'd say there's a good chance Allen York gets his first Falcons start of the season and McElhinney takes over tomorrow afternoon.