Syracuse Crunch vs. Providence Bruins preview: AHL Eastern Conference final Game 4

The Crunch look to extend their 2-1 series lead over the Bruins.

The bottom line: Syracuse Crunch vs. Providence Bruins, game 4

The Syracuse Crunch are still undefeated at home during this year’s Calder Cup playoffs. They look to extend their series lead to 3-1 tonight. To do that, they’ll need to keep their focus and never, ever stop playing hockey.

The Crunch have had several moments in all three series they’ve played where they’ve had costly mental lapses. The most recent occurred Wednesday night when they almost allowed the P-Bruins to take over the game in the final four minutes of the third. Syracuse allowed three Providence goals during that time span.

At the end of the day, the Crunch needs to start providing more defensive support for their goalie. Syracuse gave up 41 shots to the “relentless” Bruins Wednesday, and although they pushed through for the win, locking down more a bit more defensively would be advantageous to the Crunch. Mike McKenna has looked nothing short of a superstar in net, and it’d be awfully nice of his teammates if they’d be there for him for the entirety of a game.

Syracuse has been bolstered by great crowds for pretty much the entirety of their playoffs at home. It will be interesting to see how the Central New York community will respond to the two games in a row coming up tonight and tomorrow night. Hopefully the holiday weekend crowd will be as big as the team has seen so far.

Pre-game reading, listening, and viewing:

Game night essentials:

  • The pre-game radio broadcast with Dan D’Uva will start at 6:45 EST on ESPN Syracuse. You can stream the game in its entirety for free.
  • Puck drop is at 7:00 ET.
  • AHL Live has special playoff pricing deals for every game of the AHL playoffs, as well as team-specific packages. There’s also a pay-per-view option.
  • Be sure to follow the team on Twitter for updates if you’re away from other options./

Potential lines and pairings for Syracuse:

Starting netminder:

Mike McKenna

Potential lines:

Michael Bournival - Yanni Gourde* - Cory Conacher

Adam Erne - Gabriel Dumont - Joel Vermin

Tye McGinn - Matthew Peca - Erik Condra

Kevin Lynch-Byron Froese-Mitchell Stephens**

Potential defensive pairings:

Matt Taormina - Dominik Masin

Slater Koekkoek - Ben Thomas

Jake Dotchin - Mathieu Brodeur

*Yanni Gourde is currently listed as day-to-day with an unspecified ailment:

**Daniel Walcott was hurt during Sunday’s game 2, and is currently listed as day-to-day. He did not play Wednesday. Stephens drew in instead.

Potential lines and pairings for Providence:

Potential lines:

Danton Heinen - Jordan Szwarz - Wayne Simpson

Jake DeBrusk - Austin Czarnik - Chris Porter

Colton Hargrove - Colby Cave - Zach Senyshyn

Anton Blidh - Ryan Fitzgerald - Tyler Randell

Potential pairings:

Alex Grant - Tommy Cross

Chris Casto - Matt Grzelcyk

Chris Breen - Linus Arnesson

Starting goalie:

Zane McIntyre (?)

—McIntyre was pulled after letting in three Syracuse goals in a row Wednesday. Malcolm Subban came in and allowed two more Crunch tallies (although one was an open net marker). One would assume coach Dean will go back to McIntyre tonight, but there’s always the chance he’ll see what Subban can do.