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Bruins finish off Pirates, return to division finals


PROVIDENCE 2, PORTLAND 1

Peter Schaefer’s power-play goal at 19:15 of the second period held up as the game-winner as Providence eliminated Portland with a 2-1 win over the Pirates at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center on Friday.

The Bruins captured their first-round series by a 4-1 margin and will battle Worcester or Hartford in the Atlantic Division Finals.

Seeking to extend its season on Friday, Portland grabbed an early 1-0 lead when defenseman Mike Kostka scored the power play 10:25 into the contest, with Colton Fretter and Marc-Andre Gragnani picking up the helpers.

The Bruins knotted it up at 5:46 of the second frame as Jordan Knackstedt redirected a Dan Ryder feed on the doorstep into the net behind Pirates goaltender Jhonas Enroth.

Schaefer then sent a snap shot from the high slot past Enroth in the period’s closing minute. Mikko Lehtonen and David Kolomatis earned the helpers on Schaefer’s first goal of the playoffs.

Providence goaltender Tuukka Rask earned the victory with 29 saves on 30 shots, while Enroth kept his team in the game with 36 stops but took the tough-luck loss.

The Bruins have earned their third consecutive trip to the division finals and their fourth in the last five years, but this is the first series they clinched on home ice since the 2005 division finals vs. Lowell. Providence was eliminated by Portland in last year’s second round.