Subban getting comfortable; Vatrano dazzling in return
Frank Vatrano picked up right where he left off this weekend in his return to Providence. (Photo by Angela Spagna, Bruins Daily)
In the midst of a stretch run that is seeing the Providence Bruins slowly start to climb back into the playoff picture, getting Frank Vatrano back in the lineup and having Malcolm Subban starting to play up to his capabilities is exactly what the doctor ordered.
Playing in his first three games since being sent down by Boston, Vatrano has netted three goals, including two Power-Play goals in Friday Night’s 4-1 win over the Springfield Falcons, as well as an assist over the three-game weekend. With that, Vatrano, despite playing only 13 games in Providence this year, pulls into a tie with Seth Griffith for the team lead in goals with 13.
“It’s nice to get some confidence back on the scoring side,” Vatrano said after Friday’s game.
For Vatrano, in order to get another call up to Boston, his must continue to play to his fullest extent.
“[I have to] just do the things I do good up there [in Boston] down here [in Providence] and not change my game,” Vatrano added. “I have to play my game, put the puck in the net when I can and also be a good teammate, play well defensively.”
Skating in 30 games this season for Boston, Vatrano registered six goals and an assist, scoring his first at Montreal back on November 7 and had a hat trick against Pittsburgh on December 18.
“He’s a goal scorer, a threat and the guys love him,” head coach Bruce Cassidy said of Vatrano. “He’s a young kid who wants to play. He’s disappointed that he’s not in Boston, but he’s not pouting. He’s here to get better, and it makes us harder to play against.”
After a rough start to the season, goaltender Malcolm Subban is now starting to find his groove. Missing the first several games with an injury, Subban was undoubtedly rusty to start the year.
Forced to sit out for most of Training Camp and only playing one exhibition game, it took Subban a little while to find his game.
Currently sitting just outside the top-10 in goals against average with a 2.50 mark and a .912 save percentage, Subban had himself an excellent game on Friday, stopping 23 shots. Of those 23 saves, Subban stuffed Springfield’s Michael Bunting on a breakaway early in the second period. Early in the third, Subban made a terrific post-to-post save to keep the shutout in tact. It wasn’t until last half minute of the game that a shot beat Subban to end his bid for his second shutout of the year.
This past Sunday, in a 5-2 win over the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, Subban had another stellar game, stopping 24 of 26 shots.
“I think this year I’m really starting to get the hang of staying focused,” said Subban. “I definitely started taking it a bit more seriously after the St. Louis game (his only career start in the NHL back on Feb 21, 2015). I feel like [my focus] is something I have really improved on.”
“He was behind. He didn’t play a whole lot during training camp, and he only played once or twice over two months, so he was behind,” Cassidy added about Subban. “But now he’s in there, and he’s getting his reps, and it’s paid off for him.”
Vatrano and Subban are undoubtedly two of the premier prospects in the Bruins organization. Nonetheless, they are two of the most important pieces if the P-Bruins are to make a run for the postseason. Their excellent play as of late will not only make the head office happy but the rest of the Bruins as well.