Providence had trailed 2-1 in the series and was down 3-1 in the decisive Game 5, but the Bruins are headed back to the Eastern Conference semifinals after a 6-3 victory over the Springfield Falcons at the MassMutual Center on Saturday night.
The Bruins will face the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton in a rematch of their classic seven-game series from last spring, which saw the Penguins erase a 3-0 series deficit to win in seven.
St. John’s and Norfolk will meet in the other East semifinal, as all three division winners in the Eastern Conference — Manchester, Springfield and Binghamton — were eliminated in the first round.
The Bruins and Falcons combined for seven goals in a wild first period of Game 5, beginning with Michael Chaput‘s goal off a two-on-one rush at 4:27, the first time in the series that Springfield scored first.
Providence defenseman Joe Morrow‘s long wrister found the net to tie the score at 8:59, but Ryan Spooner was whistled for a faceoff violation on the ensuing draw and Ryan Craig converted on the power play to put Springfield ahead 2-1 at 9:56.
That goal brought Niklas Svedberg in to replace starting Bruins goaltender Malcolm Subban, but Craig needed just 65 seconds to net his second goal of the game and make it 3-1 in favor of the home team.
Providence stormed back, however, with Seth Griffith scoring two goals in a span of 1:38 to chase Falcons starter Mike McKenna. Alexander Khokhlachev then greeted Anton Forsberg with a goal on the first shot he faced and the Bruins took a 4-3 lead into the first intermission.
The teams combined for seven goals in 11:47, the last six in a span of 7:15.
Matt Lindblad, who scored twice in Game 3, netted his third goal of the series at 13:06 of the second period to put Providence up by two, and Spooner’s empty-net goal with 1:05 remaining in regulation finished the scoring.
Svedberg (2-2) earned the win, stopping 20 of 21 shots in 49:57 of relief work for the Bruins after Subban had stopped five of seven shots to start the game. Forsberg (0-1) made 24 saves on 26 shots in 44:58 and was credited with the loss. McKenna allowed three goals on six shots before yielding the crease.
Eastern Conference Quarterfinals – Series “B” (best-of-5)
2-Springfield Falcons vs. 7-Providence Bruins
Game 1 – Wed., Apr. 23 – Springfield 3, PROVIDENCE 2 (OT)
Game 2 – Fri., Apr. 25 – Providence 2, SPRINGFIELD 1 (OT)
Game 3 – Sat., Apr. 26 – SPRINGFIELD 3, Providence 2
Game 4 – Tue., Apr. 29 – PROVIDENCE 6, Springfield 3
Game 5 – Sat., May 3 – Providence 6, SPRINGFIELD 3