This Week’s Games
Fri., March 4 - Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Sat., March 5 - Rochester Americans at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Fri., Feb. 25 - Lake Erie Monsters 3 at GRIFFINS 5 - 26-24-1-8, 61 pts. (6th, North Division)
Sat., Feb. 26 - GRIFFINS 2 at Lake Erie Monsters 3 - 26-25-1-8, 61 pts. (7th)
Sun., Feb. 27 - GRIFFINS 5 at Hamilton Bulldogs 2 - 27-25-1-8, 63 pts. (7th)
The Little Engine That Could: Grand Rapids is 4-1-0-2 in its last seven games overall, 3-0-0-1 in its last four at home and 5-2-0-3 in its last 10 on the road. The Griffins, who saw their season-high five-game point streak (3-0-0-2) snapped on Saturday in Cleveland, are still riding a season-best four-game point streak at home (3-0-0-1). They’ll look to continue their good fortune this Friday and Saturday when they host the Rochester Americans, whom they trail by one point in the North Division standings.
Fun at the Van: Fri. vs. RCH - Those who purchase a special Ladies Night package will enjoy massages, hair styling, makeup touch-ups, nail art, smooth sculpt and door prizes from Panopoulos Salons and Celebration Cinema during a pamper party in the Griffins’ West Nest. The Griffins and the Great Start Parent Coalition will conduct a diaper drive for the less-fortunate, as fans are encouraged to bring an unopened package of diapers to drop in one of the donation bins in the arena lobby. Other promotions include Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs from 6-8 p.m. (while supplies last), College Night and the D-Zone. Sat. vs. RCH - The 501st Legion returns for another Star Wars Night, with proceeds benefiting the Griffins Youth Foundation. Over 50 costumed characters will be roaming the arena and interacting with fans. In addition to light sabers and Griffins Star Wars-themed pucks and t-shirts being sold on the concourse, two photo areas will be set up on the concourse for fans to get their picture taken with their favorite characters for a small donation. Thanks to MetroPCS, 2,000 fans will receive a Griffins “talking” bottle opener, complete with a goal call from the voice of the team, Bob Kaser, and everyone can stick around for the Huntington Bank post-game autograph session and the J & H Family Stores post-game skate.
Close Quarters: The North Division is by far the AHL’s most competitive from top to bottom, with only seven points separating seventh-place Grand Rapids (63) from the first-place logjam of Hamilton, Manitoba and Lake Erie (70) and a guaranteed berth in the Calder Cup Playoffs (third place). In fact, the Griffins are closer to first place than the 38-19-1-3 Hershey Bears, who sit in second place in the East Division, eight points behind Wilkes-Barre/Scranton. The AHL’s other divisional standings spreads are 41 points in the East, 32 in the Atlantic, and 23 in the West.
Oddly Consistent: Grand Rapids’ 5-3 win over Lake Erie on Friday put its record (26-24-1-8 at the time) more than one game away from 0.500 for the first time since Nov. 19 (8-6-0-3), a span of 42 straight contests. Following Saturday’s loss at Lake Erie and Sunday’s win at Hamilton, the Griffins own a 27-25-1-8 mark.
Easy as Pyett: In the second period of Sunday’s 5-2 win at Hamilton, Logan Pyett became the first Grand Rapids defenseman to ever record a hat trick and the fifth Griffins player to score three goals in one period, joining Jeremy Williams, Jamie Tardif, Tomas Kopecky and Petr Schastlivy. His three goals came in a span of just 11:06.
Jordan Rules: Goalie Jordan Pearce, who has played three games in three nights for Grand Rapids over each of the last two weekends, has helped the Griffins earn points in 12 of his 15 decisions since Jan. 16, going 8-3-0-4 with a 2.52 GAA and a 0.919 save percentage. He is the first rookie goalie to twice play a 3-in-3 for the Griffins.
Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Nominee: The Griffins on Monday nominated forward Ilari Filppula for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award, after he recorded six assists and a plus-four rating in three games. He leads the Griffins and ranks among the AHL’s leaders with 50 points (T10th) and 32 assists (16th), owns a six-game scoring streak (0-10—10), and has recorded multiple points in three of his last four games.
Back and Forth: Jan Mursak played four games in four nights in four cities in two leagues last week, appearing in Detroit’s 4-1 home loss to Dallas on Thursday before skating in three weekend games with Grand Rapids. In 18 games with the parent club this season, he has tallied one goal and shows an average ice time of 8:11.
Almost Whole: The Griffins are missing only two regulars from their lineup. Defenseman Sergei Kolosov has missed 11 straight games due to a knee injury, while goaltender Joey MacDonald has missed the last 15 games while subbing for the injured Chris Osgood in Detroit. MacDonald is now 3-3-1 with a team-best 2.39 GAA and 0.914 save percentage in nine appearances for the Red Wings.
Who’s Hot?: Cory Emmerton has assists in consecutive games and points in four of the last five (1-5—6) and five of the last seven (2-5—7) contests…Chris Minard has goals in four of the last five games and points in five of the last six outings (4-2—6)…Ilari Filppula owns a six-game assist streak (0-10—10), one shy of the Griffins’ single-season record and two games shy of the overall franchise mark, both of which were set by his brother Valtteri (March 26-Oct. 13, 2006). He also has points in nine of the last 11 contests (2-12—14)…Jamie Tardif has points in four of the last five games (3-5—8) and seven of the last 10 games (7-6—13)…Derek Meech has points in four of his last six appearances (1-4—5)…Tomas Tatar has points in six of the last seven games (5-4—9)…Doug Janik owns a three-game assist streak (0-3—3).
Milestones: Jamie Tardif netted his team-leading 22nd goal of the season on Friday, giving him 73 for his Griffins career to move past Darryl Bootland and into a tie with Derek King for third place on the franchise’s all-time list. He stands just two tallies behind second-place Kip Miller (75). In addition, his 297 games as a Griffin put him just five behind third-place Ryan Oulahen, and he logged his 300th AHL contest on Sunday in Hamilton…Derek Meech has played in 286 games as a Griffin and stands sixth place on the team’s all-time list. He is now chasing fifth-place Darryl Bootland (293)…Both Cory Emmerton and Francis Pare logged their 200th pro games on Saturday, while Emmerton is one away from 200 as a Griffin…Other benchmarks are approaching for Adam Keefe (199 AHL games played), Jamie Johnson (299 pro assists), Chris Minard (99 AHL assists) and Jordan Owens (94 AHL points).
Fri., March 4 vs. Rochester Americans (29-27-3-3) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., March 5 vs. Rochester Americans – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. both nights. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 26-19-1-1-2 Overall, 14-7-1-0-1 Home. Season Series: 1-1-0-1 Overall, 0-0-0-0 Home. Fourth and fifth of six meetings overall, first and second of three in Grand Rapids. 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, while Rochester left wing Patrick Rissmiller placed second on the Griffins with 45 points (20-25—45) in 63 contests…Another former Griffin, defenseman Clay Wilson, ranks third on Rochester and is second among AHL blueliners with 42 points (9-33—42)…Rochester is 16-10-2-0 on the road…The Amerks, who enter the week on a five-game point streak (4-0-0-1), have won the last two series meetings…The Griffins lead the league with 12 shorthanded goals, while Rochester’s 14 SHG allowed are the most in the AHL.