This Week’s Games
Tue., Feb. 10 - GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals - 8 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Feb. 13 - GRIFFINS at Syracuse Crunch - 7:30 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Feb. 14 - GRIFFINS at Toronto Marlies - 4 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Feb. 4 - GRIFFINS 3 at Quad City Flames 2 - 30-9-6-4, 70 pts. (2nd, North Division)
Fri., Feb. 6 - Chicago Wolves 3 at GRIFFINS 6 - 31-9-6-4, 72 pts. (T1st)
Sat., Feb. 7 - Lake Erie Monsters 4 at GRIFFINS 1 - 31-10-6-4, 72 pts. (T1st)
Sun., Feb. 8 - GRIFFINS 5 at Toronto Marlies 10 - 31-11-6-4, 72 pts. (2nd)
Where We Stand: Despite losing back-to-back games in regulation for the first time since Nov. 16-18 and going winless in consecutive games for the first time since Dec. 5-6, the Griffins (31-11-6-4) stand only two points behind first-place Manitoba in the North Division race with one game still in hand. One game into a five-game, 11-day road trip – their longest of the season to date and their second-longest of the campaign (eight games, March 22-April 5) – the Griffins will visit Milwaukee, Syracuse and Toronto this week, marking the first week since early December that they will not play a game at Van Andel Arena.
Missing in Action: Five regulars were absent from Grand Rapids’ lineup on Sunday. Ville Leino and Darren Helm have missed the last six games and four games, respectively, while on recall to Detroit. Meanwhile, Jonathan Ericsson (four games), Mattias Ritola (four games) and Sergei Kolosov (one game) have all been sidelined due to injuries. The status of each is uncertain for Tuesday, when the Griffins will play their fifth game in seven nights at Milwaukee.
Hay Fever: The Griffins today nominated right wing Darren Haydar for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award, after he totaled seven points (3-4—7) and a plus-three rating during a four-game scoring streak last week. After contributing three assists and earning First Star honors against his former team in Friday’s 6-3 win over Chicago, he became the 73rd player in AHL history and the only active player in the league to reach 500 points for his AHL career by netting a power play goal late in the opening period on Saturday against Lake Erie. Haydar, who joined former Griffins Mark Greig (27th at 247-412--659), Michel Picard (T29th at 283-355--638) and Jeff Nelson (68th at 165-340--505) as members of the AHL’s 500-point club, leads Grand Rapids with 19 goals, 46 points, 10 power play goals and four game-winning goals. He has earned points in 14 of the last 17 games (6-14—20) and in 21 of the last 27 contests (9-19—28).
Impressive Runs: The Griffins have posted some dominant runs as of late, most recently a season-high nine-game point streak (7-0-1-1) that was snapped on Saturday:
|7-2-1-1 in last 11
||5-1-0-1 in last seven
|11-3-2-1 in last 17
||12-2-2-1 in last 17
|18-4-3-1 in last 26
||17-3-3-3 in last 26
|23-6-4-2 in last 35
||19-4-3-4 in last 30 (entire season)
Quietly Rising: Grand Rapids’ power play has scored in each of the last six games (10-for-32, 31.3%), moving into second place overall in the AHL at 21.4%.
Leino Livin’ It Up in Detroit: Since his recall to the Red Wings on Jan. 29, Ville Leino has tallied points in three of the four games he has played with the parent club. He scored a highlight-reel goal in his NHL debut during Detroit’s 4-2 loss at Washington on Jan. 31, earned an assist last Monday in the Wings’ 4-3 home shootout win against St. Louis, then tallied Detroit’s eighth goal during Saturday’s 8-3 win over Edmonton…Darren Helm was recalled on Feb. 3 and also remains with the parent club. He is scoreless in six games with Detroit this season.
A Clean Slate: The Griffins’ 72 points and 31 victories have eclipsed the point total and matched the wins of their 2007-08 brethren (31-41-2-6, 70 pts.) with 28 games still to play. In addition, the team’s 72 points are its third-most ever through 52 games, as both the 2005-06 team (36-12-1-3) and the 2000-01 IHL squad (36-12-4) racked up 76 points through the same number of contests.
Dubious Distinctions: Several franchise records were set or tied during the Griffins’ 10-5 loss at Toronto on Sunday and their 4-1 defeat to Lake Erie on Saturday:
• Most goals against, game: 10 (previous record: 8, four times, most recently: 12/17/06 at MIL, 5-8)
• Most goals against, road game: 10 (8, twice, MR: 12/17/06 at MIL, 5-8)
• Most goals, both teams, road game: 15 (13, twice, MR: 12/17/06 at MIL, 5-8)
• Most power play goals against, consecutive games: 8 (7, 12/1/05-12/2/05)
• Most opponent hat tricks, game: 2 (Tim Stapleton, Andre Deveaux)
• Most goals against, consecutive games: 14 (twice, MR: 12/8/01 at CLE, 5-7, and 12/9/01 at HAM, 2-7)
• Most goals, both teams, game: 15 (10/24/01 vs. CIN, 10-5)
• Most goals scored by an opposing player, game: 4, Tim Stapleton (twice, MR: Roman Voloshenko, 10/21/05 at HOU)
It’s Been Awhile: Prior to Sunday’s 10-5 loss at Toronto, the Griffins hadn’t allowed five power play goals since Dec. 2, 2005 (a record six in a 4-7 loss at Peoria), hadn’t lost when scoring five goals since Nov. 9, 2007 (5-6 shootout loss at Rockford), and hadn’t suffered a five-goal margin of defeat since Feb. 24, 2008 (1-6 loss at Quad City).
Altitude Adjustments: Due to Saturday’s and Sunday’s results, the Griffins have fallen from third into a tie for seventh in the AHL in goals allowed (2.56 to 2.73), and from seventh to 18th in road penalty killing (84.8% to 81.2%). Individually, Jimmy Howard has dropped from sixth into a tie for 15th in goals against average (2.36 to 2.52), while Daniel Larsson has gone from 12th to 26th (2.45 to 2.64).
Silver Lining: The Griffins allowed eight combined power play goals to Lake Erie (3-for-6 on Saturday) and Toronto (5-for-9 on Sunday), matching the number of power play goals they had surrendered in their previous 26 games combined (8-for-108 from Dec. 12 to Feb. 6). Despite the recent dam burst, Grand Rapids continues to lead the AHL in both penalty killing (86.8%) and home penalty killing (90.8%).
Hats Off: After not allowing any hat tricks last year, the Griffins have seen three different players score at least three goals in a game against them this season. The last time Grand Rapids surrendered three hat tricks was the 2005-06 season…Francis Lemieux’s two hat tricks are the most for a Griffin in one season since Donald MacLean tallied five during his AHL MVP campaign of 2005-06
Get Busy: Sunday’s game concluded the Griffins’ fifth 4-in-5 of the season, as well as the team’s fifth 3-in-3. Combined, Grand Rapids is now 14-5-0-1 (0.725) this season when playing four times in five nights and 10-4-0-1 (0.700) when playing three times in as many nights. The Griffins will run the 3-in-3 gauntlet six more times over their final 28 games, including a pair of rare 3-in-3s at home. Only once before have the Griffins played three home games in as many nights (Jan. 20-22, 2000), and they’ve never played at home consecutively on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday, a scenario that will greet them Feb. 20-22 when they return from their current road swing.
Home Sweet Home: Grand Rapids’ 19-4-3-4 record at Van Andel Arena gives it the most home wins (tied), most home points (45) and fewest home regulation losses (tied) in the AHL. The Griffins have points in 15 of their last 17 (12-2-2-1) and 23 of their last 26 (17-3-3-3) home games.
Honor Roll: Garrett Stafford owns a four-game point streak (2-3—5)…Cory Emmerton has points in three straight contests (0-4—4)…Evan McGrath has points in five of the last six games (2-5—7)…Ryan Oulahen has points in four of the last six contests (4-1—5)…Justin Abdelkader has points in three of four games (1-5—6) since returning from Detroit…Francis Lemieux has lit the lamp in three of the last five games (6-1—7).
Take Me to Your Leaders: Several Griffins rank among the AHL’s individual leaders: Justin Abdelkader – 11th rookie points (33); Darren Helm – T9th shorthanded goals (2); Jimmy Howard – T15th GAA (2.52), T6th shutouts (3); Jakub Kindl – T7th defenseman points (29), T2nd defenseman game-winning goals (2); Daniel Larsson – 2nd shutouts (5), 15th save percentage (0.915); Ryan Oulahen – T6th shorthanded assists (2); and Francis Pare – T7th rookie goals (15), T12th rookie points (31), 5th rookie shooting percentage (15-76, 0.197), T4th rookie plus/minus (+15), T9th rookie game-winning goals (2).
Milestones: Sunday marked Ryan Oulahen’s 281st game in a Grand Rapids uniform, moving him past Dave Van Drunen into sole possession of fifth place on the franchise’s all-time games played list. With his next appearance he’ll tie Matt Ellis for fourth. In addition, Oulahen has scored 48 career goals for Grand Rapids, putting him two away from becoming the 12th player in franchise history to reach 50 goals…Evan McGrath (41-56—97) is three points shy of 100 as a professional, while Jamie Tardif (45-51—96) and Mike Walsh (39-57—96) are four points away from that milestone.
Come One, Come All: The Griffins stand fifth in the AHL with an average attendance of 6,769, a year-to-date increase of 3.5% over the first 30 home contests of 2007-08 (6,542). The team’s total attendance of 203,074 is its highest through 30 home games in six years, since the 2002-03 campaign (205,831).
Better Late Than Ever: The Griffins’ 11 regulation losses remain the fewest in the AHL, but their 10 defeats past regulation time (6 OTL, 4 SOL) are tied with Quad City for the most in the league, and their league-high (tied, Springfield) six overtime losses have tied a franchise record set in 2006-07.
Tue., Feb. 10 at Milwaukee Admirals (33-13-2-2) – Bradley Center – 8 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast ($6 at AHLLive.com) and audio web cast (free at woodradio.com) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 47-33-7-5-4 Overall, 19-19-5-4-3 Road. Season Series: 2-3-1-0 Overall, 0-2-1-0 Road. Seventh of eight meetings overall, fourth of four in Milwaukee. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Lane Lambert (2nd season). Notes: The Admirals own a dazzling 17-4-0-2 record (0.783) at the Bradley Center and boast the top winning percentage (0.700) in the Western Conference…Milwaukee hasn’t dropped consecutive games in regulation since the Griffins swept a two-game set at Van Andel Arena on Dec. 19-20…Since that weekend in Grand Rapids, the Admirals are 16-4-2-1 (0.761)…Former Griffin Drew MacIntyre ranks eighth in the AHL with a 2.42 GAA.
Fri., Feb. 13 at Syracuse Crunch (24-21-3-2) – Onondaga County War Memorial – 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:05 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast ($6 at AHLLive.com) and audio web cast (free at woodradio.com) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 14-5-0-1 Overall, 6-3-0-0 Road. Season Series: 1-0-0-1 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Road. Third of four meetings overall, first of two in Syracuse. NHL Affiliation: Columbus Blue Jackets. Head Coach: Ross Yates (3rd season). Notes: Fifth-place Syracuse currently sits two points out of a playoff spot in the North Division race…The Crunch rank second in the AHL in penalty minutes (24.20) while the Griffins stand last in the league at nearly half that figure (12.23)…Syracuse’s power play sits 27th in the AHL at 13.9%...Only five teams allow fewer goals per game than the Crunch (2.72).
Sat., Feb. 14 at Toronto Marlies (24-19-2-5) – Ricoh Coliseum – 4 p.m.
TV: Rogers (Toronto) at 4 p.m. Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 3:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast ($6 at AHLLive.com) and audio web cast (free at woodradio.com) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 12-13-1-0 Overall, 5-8-0-0 Road. Season Series: 2-1-1-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Road. Fifth of eight meetings overall, third of four in Toronto. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Greg Gilbert (3rd season). Notes: The Griffins swept three games at Ricoh Coliseum during the 2006 North Division Semifinals but are just 4-6 in their 10 regular season visits since…The Marlies scored as many goals (eight) in the first 28 minutes of Sunday’s game as they had in their first three meetings with Grand Rapids this season combined…Tim Stapleton’s hat trick on Sunday was the fastest ever against the Griffins in terms of both the 4:40 span between the three goals (6:14, Todd White, 2/28/98 at IND) and the time of 12:10 elapsed in the game (16:52, Scott Pearson, 4/2/99 vs. CHI).