WILKES-BARRE, Pa. – Alexander Khokhlachev provided the offense with two goals and an assist, while Niklas Svedberg handled the defense by making 36 saves as the Providence Bruins posted a 4-1 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins in Game 6 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals on Monday night in Wilkes-Barre. The win forces a decisive Game 7 between the clubs this Wednesday night at the Mohegan Sun Arena.
Svedberg, who served as the Bruins backup for Games Four and Five of the series after allowing five goals in Games 2 and 3, was stellar between the pipes, stopping 27 shots over the first 40 minutes of play for his fourth win of the postseason.
The Penguins controlled the opening frame, outshooting the Bruins 14-5 and controlling play in the Providence zone for long stretches of time. Wilkes-Barre also had the advantage of the only power play of the first period, but couldn’t capitalize on a hooking call to Khokhlachev at 16:11.
Wilkes-Barre appeared to grab a gritty goal by Bobby Farnham about six minutes into the second period, but the referees ruled that the Pens forward pushed the puck and Svedberg into the goal, negating the opening tally.
Two minutes later, the Bruins took the lead.
Khokhlachev grabbed a loose puck on the near wall starting a two-on-one break for the Bruins, and took the shot himself, beating Peter Mannino short side for the Russian center’s sixth goal of the playoffs.
Khokhlachev figured in the second Bruins goal five minutes later, stealing a puck off of Jayson Megna, then helping out with some tic-tac-toe passing with Jared Knight and Bobby Robins. Returning to the lineup after a three game suspension, Robins pushed home his first of the playoffs past Mannino’s glove hand at 12:56.
The Bruins started the third period on the power play after Philip Samuelsson was whistled for slashing with just three seconds remaining in the second, and didn’t let the opportunity go to waste. Once again, it was Khokhlachev banging home his second of the night down low after a feed from Ryan Spooner to make the score 3-0.
Conor Sheary extended his point streak to five games with his fourth goal of the series at 17:03, but Spooner put the game out of reach with an empty net goal at 18:11.
This is the second consecutive season the Penguins and Bruins have met in a Game 7 in the second round of the playoffs, with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton taking a 5-0 win in Providence on May 22 of last year.
NOTES: Philip Samuelsson returned to action for the first time since suffering a lower body injury against the Bruins on March 26…The Penguins are 5-2 all-time in Game 7's, and 2-1 on home ice.