12/14/2010 11:46 AM
This Week’s Games
Wed., Dec. 15 - Houston Aeros at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Dec. 17 - Peoria Rivermen at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Dec. 18 - GRIFFINS at Peoria Rivermen - 8:05 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Wed., Dec. 8 - Milwaukee Admirals 2 at GRIFFINS 3 - 11-10-1-4, 27 pts. (T5th, North Division)
Fri., Dec. 10 - Texas Stars 4 at GRIFFINS 3 - 11-11-1-4, 27 pts. (T5th)
Sat., Dec. 11 - GRIFFINS 2 at Peoria Rivermen 3 - 11-12-1-4, 27 pts. (6th)
Sun., Dec. 12 - Texas Stars 2 at GRIFFINS 4 - 12-12-1-4, 29 pts. (5th)
Turn it Around: After winning only two of their first 13 home games (2-6-1-4) this season, the Griffins turned their Van Andel Arena fortunes around last week by winning twice in three tries, kicking off and ending a 4-in-5 with home-ice victories. They’ll try to continue that success this week when they host Houston on Wednesday and Peoria on Friday to close out a three-game homestand.
Hanging in There: The Griffins reside in fifth place in the North Division with 29 points, just three behind fourth-place Lake Erie and four behind second-place Toronto and Abbotsford…Grand Rapids currently ranks fourth in the AHL in attendance – the same position in which it finished the 2009-10 campaign – with an average of 5,787.
Fun at the Van: Wed. vs. Houston – It’s Hockey Night! Through a new partnership between the Griffins, the Downtown Development Authority and the Arena District, fans can show their tickets to receive drink specials and 20% off food at participating Arena District restaurants and bars, both before and after the game. It’s a Winning Wednesday, with a post-game party at Peppino’s downtown, as well as Library Night. Fri. vs. Peoria: The full slate of Friday night promotions returns, including Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs from 6-8 p.m. while supplies last, College Night, and the D-Zone.
Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Nominee: The Griffins on Monday nominated left wing Tomas Tatar for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award, after he tallied four points (1-3—4) and a plus-four rating in four games last week. Most notably, he assisted on the game-winning goal in Wednesday’s 3-2 triumph over Milwaukee, then scored the decisive tally in Sunday’s 4-2 victory against Texas. Tatar now leads the Griffins in points (23), assists (16) and game-winning goals (2, tied), while ranking second in plus/minus (plus-11) and tying for fourth in goals (7).
Hectic Holidays: Grand Rapids will tie a franchise record in December by playing 10 home games during a single month, something it has done just twice before to great success. The Griffins, who are 2-2-1-0 so far, went 6-3-1-0 in December 2007 after going 7-2-1 in February 1999.
There’s No Place Like Road: The Griffins are a robust 8-5-0-0 on the road and have improved to 4-7-1-4 at Van Andel Arena, where nine of their 12 total losses this season have been by a single goal.
If In the First You Don’t Succeed: Sunday’s 4-2 win over Texas marked just the second victory for the Griffins this season when trailing after one period (2-8-0-1).
Kudos: Brendan Smith continues to rank among the top AHL defensemen and rookies with 18 points (T10-D, T9-R) and seven goals (T3rd-D)…Jamie Johnson is riding his second four-game point streak (2-2—4) of the season…Jamie Tardif (3-1—4) and Tomas Tatar (1-3—4) each registered points in three of four games last week…Derek Meech has points in four of the last six contests (2-2—4)…Ilari Filppula had his season-high five-game point streak (4-3—7) snapped on Saturday.
On the Mend: Cory Emmerton has sat out the last six games due to injury, while Chris Minard missed his first contest of the season on Sunday.
Milestones: Jakub Kindl needs one more assist to tie Tomas Kopecky and Ed Patterson (75 each) for ninth place on Grand Rapids’ all-time assists list. He had two helpers in Sunday’s win over the Stars, his first points in four games since rejoining the Griffins on a conditioning assignment from Detroit.…Francis Pare needs four goals to become the 14th Griffins player to score 50…Jamie Tardif has played 268 career games as a Griffin, putting him 12 behind sixth-place Dave Van Drunen (280) on the team’s all-time list…Jamie Johnson is one point shy of 200 in the AHL (66-133—199) and also needs just two more appearances for 300 AHL games…Saturday’s game marked Ilari Filppula’s 400th professional contest.
Short Story: Grand Rapids, which scored eight shorthanded goals all last season, is now tied for the AHL lead with seven. The Griffins have tallied four shorthanded goals in their last eight games.
Wed., Dec. 15 vs. Houston Aeros (15-11-1-2) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 33-27-6-3-6 Overall, 19-12-2-1-3 Home. Season Series: 0-1-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Second of four meetings overall, second and final in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild. Head Coach: Mike Yeo (1st season). Notes: Houston’s 5-0 win on Nov. 19, coupled with Milwaukee’s 1-0 SOW on Nov. 10, marked the first time in franchise history that the Griffins were shut out in consecutive home games…Houston’s Anton Khudobin ranks 15th in the league with a 2.44 GAA…The Aeros own the AHL’s sixth-ranked penalty kill (86.0%) and its fifth-ranked road power play (22.1%)…Houston has outscored its opposition by a 31-14 count in the first period.
Fri., Dec. 17 vs. Peoria Rivermen (17-7-2-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., Dec. 18 at Peoria Rivermen – Carver Arena – 8:05 p.m.
Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. (Fri.) and 7:45 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 14-17-1-2 Overall, 6-9-1-1 Home, 8-8-0-1 Road. Season Series: 0-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home, 0-1-0-0 Road. Third and fourth of eight meetings overall, second of four in both Grand Rapids and Peoria. NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues. Head Coach: Jared Bednar (1st season). Notes: The Rivermen are on a 10-game point streak (8-0-2-0) that has positioned them just four points behind first-place San Antonio in the West Division…First-year Peoria coach Jared Bednar played 74 games for the Griffins as a defenseman in 1998-99, totaling 21 points (3-18—21) and a team-high 220 PIM…Rookie Jake Allen, the AHL’s goaltender of the month for November, leads the AHL with a 0.952 save percentage and a 1.59 GAA.