This Week’s Games
Wed., Feb. 18 - GRIFFINS at Rochester Americans - 7:05 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Feb. 20 - Manitoba Moose at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Feb. 21 - Lake Erie Monsters at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sun., Feb. 22 - San Antonio Rampage at GRIFFINS - 4 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Tue., Feb. 10 - GRIFFINS 3 at Milwaukee Admirals 4 - 31-12-6-4, 72 pts. (2nd, North Division)
Fri., Feb. 13 - GRIFFINS 1 at Syracuse Crunch 2 SO - 31-12-6-5, 73 pts. (2nd)
Sat., Feb. 14 - GRIFFINS 4 at Toronto Marlies 5 - 31-13-6-5, 73 pts. (2nd)
Dog Days of Winter: The Griffins will conclude their five-game, 11-day road trip on Wednesday at Rochester, hoping to snap their only five-game winless streak this season and their first since an identical 0-4-0-1 skid from March 28-April 4, 2008. Despite the recent hiccup, which came on the heels of an 11-1-2-1 run, Grand Rapids still maintains the fifth-highest winning percentage in the AHL at 0.664. The Griffins trail first-place Manitoba by eight points in the North Division race with two games in hand, while leading third-place Hamilton by five points.
Welcome Home: Following their first week without a home game since early December, the Griffins will return to Van Andel Arena with a vengeance this week, playing three home games in three nights for just the second time in their history and the first time ever on a Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Back in their penultimate IHL season, they posted a 2-1-0 mark while playing at Van Andel Arena from Jan. 20-22, 2000, a Thursday-Saturday set.
Storylines and Specials: Friday vs. Manitoba: The Griffins will have their last shot of the regular season at the division-leading Moose, whose 14-game road point streak (12-0-0-2) is one shy of the single-season AHL record. It’s another Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs night, with $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts available from 6-8 p.m. while supplies last, as well as College Night and Library Night ($10 lower-bowl ticket with student I.D. or library card). In addition, the Griffins and Douglas J Aveda Institute are looking for volunteers to donate their “Locks of Love” in an on-ice haircut during the second intermission. All donors will receive a complimentary hair makeover, courtesy of Douglas J. To participate, call 616-774-4585 or email firstname.lastname@example.org by Feb. 19. Saturday vs. Lake Erie: Grand Rapids will look to avenge a 4-1 loss to the Monsters on Feb. 7 that began their current slide. Legendary Detroit Tigers pitcher Jack Morris will meet fans and sign autographs from 6-7 p.m., thanks to Lake Michigan Credit Union. Fans can win one of five chances to meet Morris during a private reception and receive an autographed photo of the former Tiger by registering at griffinshockey.com/meetjackmorris by Feb. 19. Sunday vs. San Antonio: Former Griffins head coach Greg Ireland and his Rampage squad will make their only Grand Rapids appearance of the season. As part of a concession special, fans can purchase either a 12-oz. Pepsi product or a pair of Cole’s Bread Sticks (one Pizzastick, one Cheesestick) for just $1 at designated concession stands from 3-5 p.m., while supplies last. Also, fans who bring their skates can participate in the post-game open skate.
Missing in Action: Ville Leino and Darren Helm have missed the Griffins’ last nine games and seven games, respectively, while on recall to Detroit, while Jonathan Ericsson has missed the last seven games and 10 of the last 12 contests due to injury.
Leino Livin’ It Up in Detroit: Ville Leino scored his third NHL goal during Detroit’s 4-2 win over Minnesota last Thursday. Since his recall to the Red Wings on Jan. 29, he has tallied points in five of the eight games he has played with the parent club, totaling five points (3-2—5) with a plus-four rating…Darren Helm was recalled on Feb. 3 and also remains with the Wings. He has one assist in 10 games with Detroit this season.
AHL Player of the Week Nominee: The Griffins on Monday nominated center Justin Abdelkader for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award, after he contributed three goals and one assist with a plus-three rating in three games last week. Abdelkader ranks second on the Griffins with 18 goals and 37 points (tied), totals that place fourth and third (tied), respectively, among AHL rookies. His 37 points already tie for the fifth-most ever by a Griffins rookie, while his 18 goals place sixth all-time among the team’s first-year players.
A Clean Slate: The Griffins’ 73 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 25 games still to play. In addition, the team’s 73 points are its third-most ever through 55 games, behind only its 80-point 2005-06 team (38-13-1-3), and its 81-point 2000-01 IHL squad (38-12-5).
Altitude Adjustments: During the current five-game slide, the Griffins have fallen from third to ninth in the AHL in goals allowed (2.56 to 2.78) and from seventh to 14th in road penalty killing (84.8% to 82.9%). Despite the streak, though, Grand Rapids still ranks fourth in goal scoring (3.35), first in penalty killing (87.4%) and second on the power play (20.8%).
Get Busy: This week’s schedule presents the Griffins’ sixth 4-in-5 of the season and their sixth 3-in-3. Combined, Grand Rapids is 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. Including this weekend’s action, Grand Rapids will run the 3-in-3 gauntlet six times over its final 24 games.
Home Sweet Home: Grand Rapids’ 19-4-3-4 record at Van Andel Arena gives it the second-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.
See You Later, Alligator: Following this weekend’s 3-in-3 at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins’ final 21 regular season contests will consist of 14 road games and just seven home games.
Like Father, Like Son: The Griffins and Red Wings share numerous similarities in regards to situational stats. Grand Rapids is 23-0-3-3 when leading after two periods, while Detroit is 24-0-4 with the lead after 40 minutes…When trailing after two periods, Grand Rapids is 4-9-1-0 and Detroit is 6-9-0…In games in which they have scored first, the Griffins are 22-7-3-4 and the Red Wings are 28-4-4.
Honor Roll: Logan Pyett has points in consecutive games (1-1—2) and in four of the last seven outings (1-3—4)…Garrett Stafford has points in five of the last seven games (3-3—6)…Cory Emmerton has points in five of the last six contests (0-6—6)…Evan McGrath has points in six of the last eight games (3-6—9)…Ryan Oulahen has points in six of the last nine games (4-3—7)…Justin Abdelkader has had four multi-point outings in his last six games (4-5—9) as well as points in five of seven appearances (4-6—10) since returning from Detroit…Darren Haydar, who leads Grand Rapids with 20 goals, 30 assists, 50 points, 10 power play goals and four game-winning goals, owns a seven-game point streak (4-7—11) and has earned points in 17 of the last 20 games (7-17—24) and in 24 of the last 30 contests (10-22—32).
Take Me to Your Leaders: Several Griffins rank among the AHL’s individual leaders: Justin Abdelkader – 4th rookie goals (18), T3rd rookie points (37); Jimmy Howard –T7th shutouts (3), 15th save percentage (0.914); Jakub Kindl – T10th defenseman points (29), T4th defenseman game-winning goals (2); Daniel Larsson – T2nd shutouts (5), and Francis Pare – T9th rookie goals (15), 16th rookie points (32), 10th rookie shooting percentage (15-81, 0.185), 3rd rookie plus/minus (+15).
Milestones: Last Friday, Ryan Oulahen passed Matt Ellis on the Griffins’ all-time games played list, taking sole possession of fourth place by appearing in his 283rd contest. Now at 284, he has his sights set on third-place Darryl Bootland (293). 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 (42-57—99) is one point shy of 100 as a professional, while Jamie Tardif (45-52—97) and Mike Walsh (39-57—96) are three and four points away from that milestone, respectively.
Come One, Come All: The Griffins stand fourth 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’ 13 regulation losses are tied with Milwaukee for the fewest in the AHL, but their 11 defeats past regulation time (6 OTL, 5 SOL) are most in the league and their league-high (tied, Springfield) six overtime losses have tied a franchise record set in 2006-07.
Wed., Feb. 18 at Rochester Americans (20-31-0-4) – Blue Cross Arena – 7:05 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 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): 20-15-1-1-1 Overall, 7-10-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: 3-0-0-1 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road. Fifth of six meetings overall, second of three in Rochester. NHL Affiliation: Florida Panthers. Head Coach: Benoit Groulx (1st season). Notes: Grand Rapids has outscored Rochester 19-8 this season, including a 6-0 win at Blue Cross Arena on Dec. 21…Despite owning the AHL’s second-worst record in terms of either wins (20), points (44) or percentage (0.400), the Amerks boast the league’s third-ranked netminder in Mike Brodeur (2.27 GAA, tied)…Former Griffin Randall Gelech has five points (2-3—5) in 31 games for the Americans.
Fri., Feb. 20 vs. Manitoba Moose (38-14-0-5) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 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): 38-22-1-0-7 Overall, 20-9-1-0-5 Home. Season Series: 1-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Fourth of four meetings overall, second of two in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Vancouver Canucks. Head Coach: Scott Arniel (3rd season). Notes: Since floundering through a 1-5-0-2 stretch in late December and early January, the Moose have gone 16-2-0-3 in their last 21 games, including 6-0-0-2 in their last eight…Manitoba’s 20 road wins (20-4-0-3) lead the AHL…The Griffins’ fourth-ranked offense (3.35) and second-ranked power play (20.8%) will be pitted against the Moose’s top-ranked defense (2.25) and second-ranked penalty killers (87.3%).
Sat., Feb. 21 vs. Lake Erie Monsters (22-28-1-5) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:35 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: 9-4-1-1 Overall, 6-2-0-0 Home. Season Series: 3-1-1-0 Overall, 2-1-0-0 Home. Sixth of eight meetings overall, fourth of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: Joe Sacco (2nd season). Notes: The Monsters broke a three-game losing streak at Van Andel Arena with a 4-1 win on Feb. 7…With a league-high six shutouts to his credit, Monsters netminder Tyler Weiman is tied for seventh in the AHL with a 2.42 GAA…Lake Erie snapped a four-game losing streak with Monday’s 3-2 shootout win at Iowa.
Sun., Feb. 22 vs. San Antonio Rampage (24-31-2-2) – Van Andel Arena – 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 (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 26-10-1-1-0 Overall, 13-5-1-0-0 Home. Season Series: First of two meetings overall, first and only in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Phoenix Coyotes. Head Coach: Greg Ireland (2nd season). Notes: San Antonio head coach Greg Ireland led the Griffins to a 109-65-8-10 record from 2004-07…The Rampage have lost their last five visits to Van Andel Arena, with their last win here coming against Ireland’s Griffins squad on April 16, 2005 (6-2)…Since suffering through a 17-game winless streak (0-16-0-1) from Oct. 26-Nov. 29, San Antonio has gone 22-11-2-1 to climb within seven points of a playoff spot in the West Division.