PROVIDENCE, R.I. — File this game under the heading of a deceiving score.

The Portland Pirates outshot the Providence Bruins 42-17 Friday night but needed third-period goals by Paul Byron and Mark Mancari for a 2-0 victory.

“I don’t think we saw their ‘A’ game tonight,” Pirates Coach Kevin Dineen said. “J.P. (Lamoureux) made the saves he needed to make. Our power play wasn’t good, but it was good enough. Our even-strength game matched theirs in an away game.

“At the end of the night, we scored some very pretty goals to give us the regulation win.”

It was the third straight shutout at the Dunkin’ Donuts Center for the Pirates, who have held Providence scoreless for 191 minutes and 36 seconds dating back to a 4-3 loss against the Bruins on Dec. 5.

Just when it appeared the teams would skate into overtime locked in a scoreless tie, Portland broke through.

Nathan Gerbe sent a cross-ice pass from the left circle to Byron, who beat Dany Sabourin on a one-timer with 5:50 left.

“I look forward to seeing the replay on that one,” Dineen said. “That one deserves to make some highlight reels.

“There was some incredible movement and, fortunately for us, we caught a tired bunch. I think they were a tired group on the ice.

“And when you’ve got fresh guys on the ice and the other team’s a tired bunch you can take advantage of players. A lot of seams opened up and, obviously, we exposed them.”

Portland eliminated whatever suspense still might have existed after Providence’s Cody Wild and Lane MacDermid were sent to the box for tripping within a 33-second span.

Gerbe fed Mancari at the right point, and Mancari unloaded a slap shot that beat Sabourin for his 13th power-play goal of the season at 18:00.

Bizarre would be the appropriate adjective to use when describing the second period, for the following reasons:

Portland outshot Providence 16-1 (the one shot representing a season-low for the Bruins, who went just over 13 minutes before putting that shot on goal) yet failed to score.

Despite managing only one shot, Providence had two golden scoring opportunities. But Ken Roche hit the crossbar in a bid for a short-handed goal, and Mikko Lehtonen clanged a shot off the left post.

“That’s hockey,” Dineen said.

“You’re on the road and you have to play a disciplined game. I think we doubled them in chances with four in the second period. At the end of the day, they may have had the better of the chances.

“Those are the kind of things that, when things are going well, seem to work in your favor. That’s a good, solid road win for us.”

Because Atlantic Division leader Worcester lost 7-2 against Hershey, the Pirates pulled within three points of the Sharks.

Portland remained seven points ahead of third-place Manchester, which beat Bridgeport 4-1.

“Again, it’s easy to look at the standings and it’s nice not to be in that pack of Lowell, Manchester and Bridgeport,” Dineen said.

“But we have a tremendous amount of respect for those teams.

“I’m not playing coy right now. We’re taking care of our business. We know we have big hockey games against some worthy opponents and we’re going to need to be ready this weekend and next weekend.”