Bruce Boudreau likes to ride the hot hand in goal so Braden got the start last night against league bottom dwelling Edmonton. While it wasn't the toughest game Braden will play this season he still finished the game making 22 stops and picking up his first career NHL shutout.
Over his last 5 NHL games Braden is 4-0-1 with a .980 save percentage and a 0.58 goals against average. Currently Braden has a 105 minute shutout streak going and has made 43 saves in that time period.
That's not too bad...for a guy that Hockeys Future said this about on Monday:
He projects to be a potential starter in the NHL, but is probably better slotted as a back-up.
Braden's sample size is still small but considering he is only 21 years old I would say he has a very bright future.
Getting to see current and/or former Bears getting a shot in the NHL is great. Getting to see them thrive is awesome.
Unfortunately Braden wasn't in Worcester last night where the Bears were hoping to get back to their winning ways against the Sharks.
It didn't happen.
Despite again scoring the first goal the Bears lost 3-2.
The offense has not produced much the past few games. 1 goal Sunday, 2 on Tuesday, and 2 last night. And none of those came from the main "goal-scorers" that are active right now, Brian Willsie and Kyle Greentree. Boyd Kane scored the lone goal on Sunday and Mathieu Perreault scored on Tuesday but I don't think either are considered "goal-scorers".
Don't get me wrong, Kane is having another great season with 22 goals. His best offensive years have always come in Hershey, his 3 seasons with Bears are his only seasons with 20+ goals, and that is not to be taken lightly. But once the team is healthy you are likely to see Kane drop to the 3rd line and play a less offensive role.
Getting goals on a regular basis from the non scorers is definitely good. Patrick McNeill scored Tuesday, Dmitry Orlov got his first career goal last night, and Maxime Lacroix added his 4th last night as well.
But none of the regular scorers helped out on the scoresheet. That makes it awfully hard for the team to keep up in games.
5 goals in 3 games. All losses.
Until the scorers start scoring (or the goalies start producing shutouts) the Bears are going to continue their slide.
And right now they are in danger of sliding to the 3 seed in the East. Charlotte won last night and is now only 3 points behind the Bears for 2nd. There isn't a huge difference between the 2nd and 3rd seed as they would still play each other but that one home game difference could loom large.
The Bears are actually closer to falling to 4th in the East (and having to play the Pens in the 1st round) then they are to catching the Penguins for the division lead.
Time to stop looking up at the Pens and start paying attention to the teams below.
Hershey now travels down to Connecticut to face the Whale on Friday evening. And no I did not forget the 's' there. They aren't the Whales they are simply the Whale.
But we will have more on that tomorrow.
In the meantime the Bears need to buckle down, change the lines to get some production, and be ready to face quite possibly the hottest team in the league right now.