As Bruins fans we all know the struggles of the backup goalie position this season. Earlier in the season Anton Khudobin could not hold down the position and was sent down to Providence. The Bruins eventually gave Zane McIntrye a deserving shot at the job.
Personally, I do not think Zane was given enough of an opportunity to truly win the backup goalie spot. McIntyre was in the NHL for a total of 29 games, but he only saw action in 8 games (just 3 starts). And his three starts were against the then red hot New York Rangers, Montreal Canadiens and Carolina Hurricanes. The Rangers and Habs were tough challenges for a young goalie yet in all three starts he gave the Bruins a real chance to win in two of them. He gave up a last minute goal in the 3rd against Montreal, and was one of the only Bruins players who didn’t “no show” in the OT loss against Carolina. The rest of his NHL action was purely mop up duty when Tuukka was pulled.
McIntyre’s NHL performance was not good enough to secure the backup job, but again I do not believe then Bruins coach Claude Julien, coaching for his own job, gave McIntyre a legitimate shot on a team providing no run support. McIntyre ended up with an a 0-4-1 record spotting a 3.96 GAA and .858 save percentage.
However, down in the AHL it has been a much different story for McIntyre. He does not lose. And I am being serious. He does not lose at all.
McIntyre has played in 18 games in Providence and is 15-0-1. He leads the AHL in both goals against average (1.60) and save percentage (.946). Former NHLer and Islander castoff, Jaroslav Halak, is second to McIntyre in both categories.
McIntyre started two of Providence’s three games this past weekend and in both games combined he only gave up 1 goal, while earning the first shutout of his professional career. Obviously, the P-Bruins won both games.
Good news for Bruins fans, McIntyre does not need to be protected for the upcoming expansion draft in June. I really do not see a scenario where McIntyre does not earn the full time backup gig with the Bruins next season. His improvement from his rookie season to this season is night and day and he’s dominating the AHL at his position in Providence like Frank Vatrano did at his last year. If he can make the next step in his development he should end up being a legitimate NHL goalie.
Other Prospect Notes
Jesse Gabrielle is starting to heat back up. He hit a rough stretch after he signed his entry level contract with the Bruins, but this past week he recorded 5 points in 3 games. Over the weekend Gabrielle’s Cougars played Edmonton in both games. Friday night Gabrielle scored a goal and an assist and was a + 3. On Saturday night he scored 2 goals and an assist along with being +2.
Zach Senyshyn only had two games this weekend. On Friday night his Greyhounds played the Sarnia Sting and that night he recored 3 assists and had 9 shots on goal. Saturday night against North Bay he recorded a goal and an assist with 7 shots on goal.
Ryan Donato followed up his first ever BostonPucks.com’s Prospect of the Week honor with a 4 point weekend. The Harvard Crimson visited Clarkson and St. Lawrence with a chance to win the regular season crown in the ECAC Conference. And Harvard earned the 2 wins necessary to get first place overall and be the #1 seed going into the conference playoffs. Friday night Donato recorded an assist against Clarkson. On Saturday night against St. Lawrence he scored 2 goals and recoded another assist.
Jake DeBrusk continues to improve at the AHL level. Now that Peter Cehlarik is up with the Bruins there is more offensive pressure on DeBrusk and potentially more opportunity. This past weekend in 3 games DeBrusk scored a goal and nabbed 2 assists. In the three games DeBrusk combined for 10 shots on goal.