Schaefer/Courtesy P-Bruins

Every young AHL team, regardless of playing style, needs top-notch goaltending to cover up its mistakes and give it a chance to win every night.

That’s what the Bruins expected they’d get from Nolan Schaefer when they signed him with the intention of him replacing Dany Sabourin as the Providence (AHL) farm club’s No. 1 netminder prior to this season.

Until last weekend, however, that plan was going awry.

Just in the nick of time to maybe help the P-Bruins salvage their season, Schafer stopped 53 of 55 shots in back-to-back wins on the road at Hershey and at home against Springfield. Providence still sits in last place, but is now just one point out of sixth and six points out of the ever-important fourth slot, with games in hand.

Schaefer, who earlier this month was in the midst of a four-game losing streak, has now won three of his last four starts with 76 saves on 79 shots in those victories. He has improved to a .898 save percentage and 3.04 goals-against average for the season. More important, he has improved Providence’s chances of being among the postseason participants come April.

Who’s hot

Winger Max Sauve has shaken off the rust after his injury absence. He scored two goals Sunday and notched an assist on Saturday. … Forward Kirk MacDonald scored in both P-Bruins victories. … Newly acquired defenseman Sean Zimmerman notched two assists over the weekend.

Who’s not

Yuri Alexandrov suffered through a minus-4 Friday, which made him the leading candidate to sit out as a healthy scratch the next night — and he did. He bounced back with a plus-1 Sunday.

Injury update

Defenseman Colby Cohen, who has not played since his acquisition from Colorado, tweeted this week that he has been cleared to play and could in the lineup this Sunday. … Center Trent Whitfield is now targeting an early-January return.

Upcoming games

Sunday, Dec. 26 at Springfield
Tuesday, Dec. 28 at Portland
Friday, Dec. 31 at Manchester
Saturday, Jan. 1 at Connecticut
Sunday, Jan. 2 at Bridgeport