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EYES ON THE PRIZE

This Week’s Games
Wed., Feb. 9 - GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves - 8 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Sat., Feb. 12 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7:30 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com

Sun., Feb. 13 - GRIFFINS at Rochester Americans - 3:05 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com

Last Week’s Results
Fri., Feb. 4 - Hamilton Bulldogs 2 at GRIFFINS 1 - 22-22-1-5, 50 pts. (6th, North Division)

Sat., Feb. 5 - Milwaukee Admirals 6 at GRIFFINS 2 - 22-23-1-5, 50 pts. (6th)

Where We Stand: With 50 points, Grand Rapids stands sixth in the North Division race but just eight points behind third-place Lake Erie and a guaranteed berth in the Calder Cup playoffs. The Griffins have four games in hand on the Monsters, and they’ll have a chance to make up ground head-to-head this Saturday when they visit Quicken Loans Arena. Bookending the trip to Cleveland and rounding out this week’s three-game road swing will be a pair of games against seventh-place teams, the Chicago Wolves (Wednesday) and Rochester Americans (Sunday).

Oddly Consistent: The Griffins’ record (currently 22-23-1-5) has been 0.500 or just one game to either side of breakeven for a remarkable 34 straight games, dating to Nov. 20 when they held an 8-7-0-3 mark. Following consecutive regulation losses, they’ll have to earn at least one point on Wednesday in Chicago to continue that peculiar run.

Come One, Come All: Saturday’s crowd of 10,423 was the fourth-largest of the season at Van Andel Arena, just 411 shy of a sellout. The Griffins are now averaging 6,623 fans per game, good for fifth out of 30 teams in the AHL.

The Shirts Off Our Backs: The AHL 75th anniversary jerseys worn by the Griffins on Saturday were auctioned to the public after the game, garnering $12,300 in bids to benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation. Adam Keefe’s jersey received a high bid of $800.

The Waiting is the Hardest Part: The Griffins are looking forward to the return to their lineup of as many as four players this week. Jan Mursak will be officially reassigned by the Red Wings as soon as his left big toe heals from a direct hit it sustained on a blast from Nashville’s Shea Weber on Saturday, while all-star defenseman Brendan Smith (seven games) and cohort Greg Amadio (one game) may return from injuries as well. In addition, Derek Meech will rejoin the Griffins on Friday from a personal/family leave.

UnPearceable: Jordan Pearce owns a 4-2-1 record in his last seven appearances and has allowed more than two goals just twice in his last nine starts (5-3-1 since Jan. 13). The rookie leads the Griffins with a 0.909 save percentage.

Leader of the Pack: Curt Fraser’s all-time record as the Griffins’ head coach stands at 99-87-10-15 (0.528), putting him on the verge of joining Cole (116 victories) and Greg Ireland (109) as the only Grand Rapids coaches to reach the century mark in wins. With 211 games coached, Fraser is already the franchise’s all-time leader in that category.

Power Surge: After scoring on the power play in just one of eight games from Dec. 31-Jan. 16 (2-for-17, 11.8%), the Griffins have scored with the advantage in six of their last eight contests (9-for-38, 23.7%). For the season, Grand Rapids now ranks 12th in the league on the play power at 19.0%.

It’s Been Such a Long Time: Since posting a nine-game winning streak in the early part of last season (Oct. 23-Nov. 13, 2009), the Griffins have won as many as three consecutive games just once, going 3-0 from Dec. 5-11, 2009. They have now gone 106 straight games without a three-game winning streak.

Nice to See You Again: When Thomas McCollum entered Saturday’s game in the third period in relief of Jordan Pearce, it marked his first appearance between the Griffins’ pipes since Dec. 17.

Who’s Hot?: Doug Janik’s five-game point and assist streaks (1-5—6) tie his career highs set from Feb. 27-March 6, 2010…Tomas Tatar (2-2—4) and Brent Raedeke (1-2—3) both have points in three of their last four appearances…Adam Keefe has points in consecutive games (1-1—2) for the first time in 62 career games as a Griffin…Ilari Filppula has points in four of the last eight games (3-5—8).

Upcoming Milestones: Jamie Tardif (287 Griffins games) is approaching fourth-place Darryl Bootland (293) on the franchise’s all-time games played list, and his 66 career goals put him three behind fifth-place Matt Ellis (69). Tardif has also played 290 AHL contests…Derek Meech (277 GP) sits three games behind seventh-place Dave Van Drunen (280) on Grand Rapids’ career list…Other Griffins nearing personal benchmarks include Cory Emmerton (189 GR/AHL games played, 191 pro games played, 97 GR/AHL points, 98 pro points), Francis Pare (191 GR/AHL/pro games played), Doug Janik (496 AHL games played), Jamie Johnson (296 pro assists), Chris Minard (96 AHL assists, 198 pro assists) and Jordan Owens (93 AHL points).

Scouting Report

Wed., Feb. 9 at Chicago Wolves (26-22-2-4) – Allstate Arena – 8 p.m.
TV: Comcast 100 (Chicago) at 8 p.m. Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 47-37-2-3-2 Overall, 23-22-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: 2-3-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Road. Sixth and final meeting overall, third and final in Rosemont. NHL Affiliation: Atlanta Thrashers. Head Coach: Don Lever (2nd season). Notes: The Wolves are averaging exactly five goals per game against the Griffins this season, while Grand Rapids has averaged 4.2 goals over the five meetings…The Griffins, who tallied seven goals in a span of just 11:37 during the second period of their historic 10-8 win at Chicago on Nov. 27, have now totaled seven goals in their last 180:36 against the Wolves, in the process losing three straight meetings by a combined 15-7 score…The last two meetings of these clubs in Rosemont have been memorable. In that Nov. 27 win, the Griffins set or tied seven franchise records while Tomas Tatar set or tied five individual marks. Then, on Dec. 27, the Wolves fell behind 3-0 before scoring six unanswered goals for a 6-3 victory…Although in seventh place in the West Division, Chicago sits just three points out of a playoff spot…Five Wolves rank among the AHL’s top offensive threats: former Griffin Darren Haydar (47 points, T7th), Jason Krog (47 points, T7th; 36 assists, T2nd), Jared Ross (42 points, 19th), Spencer Machacek (41 points, T20th) and Nigel Dawes (23 goals, T5th)…Paul Postma’s 35 points tie for second among defensemen…The Wolves own the AHL’s third-ranked power play (22.1%) and 30th-ranked penalty kill (76.5%).

Sat., Feb. 12 at Lake Erie Monsters (25-22-3-5) – Quicken Loans Arena – 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio at 7:30 p.m. Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 7:15 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 16-10-1-3 Overall, 6-5-1-3 Road. Season Series: 2-2-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Road. Fifth of eight meetings overall, third of four in Cleveland. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: David Quinn (2nd season). Notes: After being held to just one goal over consecutive losses to the Monsters in mid-November, the Griffins exploded for a 5-3 win over Lake Erie on Dec. 26 at Van Andel Arena…Third-place Lake Erie currently possesses the final playoff spot in the North Division…The Monsters are an impressive 15-8-2-3 at Quicken Loans Arena…NHL veteran John Grahame ranks ninth in the AHL with a 2.20 GAA…Center Mark Olver leads all AHL rookies in scoring (21-15—36)…Patrick Rissmiller, who ranked second on Grand Rapids with 45 points last season, has 26 points in 37 games since joining Lake Erie from the Chicago Wolves…The Griffins (11) and Monsters (10) rank first and second in the league in shorthanded goals.

Sun., Feb. 13 at Rochester Americans (21-24-3-2) – Blue Cross Arena – 3:05 p.m.
TV: TWC 26/98 (Rochester) at 3 p.m. Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 2:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 26-18-1-1-2 Overall, 12-11-0-1-1 Road. Season Series: 1-0-0-1 Overall, 1-0-0-1 Road. Third of six meetings overall, third and final in Rochester. NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Chuck Weber (1st season). Notes: Grand Rapids center Jamie Johnson led the Amerks in scoring last season with 71 points (27-44—71) in 80 games…Former Griffins defenseman Clay Wilson ranks second on Rochester and is tied for sixth among AHL blueliners with 32 points (8-24—32)…The Americans stand seventh (last) in the North Division, three points behind Grand Rapids…Rochester is just 8-15-1-2 on home ice, but the Americans rallied from two goals down late in the second period for a 3-2 shootout win over the Griffins in their last meeting on Jan. 26 in New York…Mike Kostka is ninth among AHL defensemen with 31 points (8-23—31)…The Griffins lead the league with 11 shorthanded goals, while Rochester’s 12 SHG allowed are the most in the AHL.
 

Griffins Game Rewinds

Feb. 5 - MIL 6 at GR 2
AHLLive Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews
WOOD Radio Highlights: Milwaukee goal (0-3)   Tatar goal
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report
 
Feb. 4 - HAM 2 at GR 1
AHLLive Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews
ESPN Radio Highlights:  Keefe goal  Bulldogs goal (1-2)
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report


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