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GRIFFINS HIT THE ROAD FOR THREE CENTRAL DIVISION MATCHUPS

This Week’s Games
Fri., Feb. 12    GRIFFINS at Iowa Wild    8 p.m.     WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Feb. 13    GRIFFINS at Iowa Wild    8 p.m.     WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sun., Feb. 14    GRIFFINS at Rockford IceHogs    5 p.m.    WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Last Week’s Results
Fri., Feb. 5    GRIFFINS 9 at Rockford IceHogs 1    25-17-1-1, 52 points (4th, Central Division)
Sat., Feb. 6    Rockford IceHogs 3 at GRIFFINS 4 OT    26-17-1-1, 54 points (3rd)

Opening Faceoff: In their first action following the all-star break, the Griffins swept a home-and-home set against the Central Division-leading Rockford IceHogs last week to abruptly end their five-game losing streak and quell a difficult 1-5-1-0 stretch the team was mired in entering the mid-season hiatus. Owning a 26-17-1-1 (0.600) record that’s good for third in the division, fourth in the Western Conference and eighth in the league, the Griffins are in position to make a second-half run. Grand Rapids embarks on a three-games-in-three-nights spell – its first of four this season – this weekend when it heads to Iowa for a pair on Friday and Saturday before rounding out the trip at Rockford on Sunday.

Last Week’s Recap: The Griffins swept a pair of games against the IceHogs last Friday and Saturday, moving their record to 4-1-0-0 against the division leaders. In Grand Rapids’ 9-1 win on Friday, the Griffins poured in nine goals or more goals for the first time since Dec. 27, 2014 (9-2 W vs. Iowa) and also equaled a franchise mark for largest margin of victory set on three previous occasions (most recent: Nov. 11, 2011 at Hamilton, 8-0 W). The Griffins are 5-15 (0.333) on the power play over the last two games after an 0-for-15 stretch across the previous four contests.           
 
Griffins After the All-Star Break: Since moving from the IHL to the AHL in 2001-02, Grand Rapids has perennially proved to be a surging team following the all-star hiatus. In fact, the Griffins have tallied a 231-172-22-21 (0.566) AHL record in games played after the mid-season classic. In six seasons as an AHL/NHL head coach, Todd Nelson has guided his teams (2010-14: AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons; 2014-15: NHL’s Edmonton Oilers) to a 79-56-8-20 (0.571) mark after the all-star break.

Busy, Busy: Grand Rapids will play 12 games – all against Central Division foes – in February’s 29 days including two sets of back-to-back-to-backs (Feb. 12-14, Feb. 26-28).
 
Win Some and Lose Some: The Griffins own a 26-17-1-1 (.600) record through 45 games. Take a look at how Grand Rapids’ numbers stack up between its 26 wins and 19 (including overtime and shootout) losses:

  GF GA Saves PP Chances PP Goals PP% Opp. PP Chances Opp. PP Goals PK% SF SA
W (26) 4.31 1.81 31.08 4.31 0.88 20.54% 3.92 0.35 91.18% 32.62 32.88
L (19) 1.42 3.74 28.00 4.53 0.37 8.14% 3.63 0.84 76.81% 34.16 31.74

Back-to-Backs: The Griffins have played 14 full sets of back-to-backs thus far. Compare the statistical differences between the first and second games:

  First Night Second Night
W 9 7
L 5 7
GF 4.21 2.71
GA 2.50 3.07
PP% 22.22% 11.11%
PK% 90.74% 82.69%
SF 34.14 30.57
SA 34.00 34.14


Free Hockey: In their eight games that have gone to either overtime or a shootout, the Griffins post a 0.750 winning percentage – tied for third-highest in the league (5-1 in OT, 1-1 in SO).

Griffins Leaders: Andy Miele (9-26—35) and Eric Tangradi (17-16—33) continue to pace the offense, ahead of Martin Frk (18-10—28), Anthony Mantha (12-16—28), Mark Zengerle (5-21—26) and Mitch Callahan (12-8—20).

The Central Conversation: Despite a 2-8-0-1 record and a last-place 0.227 winning percentage to begin the season, the Griffins have rebounded with a 24-9-1-0 mark to climb into contention in the Central Division. Overall, the Griffins place third in the division, fourth in the Western Conference and eighth in the AHL.

Against the Best: The Griffins own a 22-14-1-1 (0.605) record against teams with a winning record this season, including an 8-6-0-0 (0.571) mark against teams with a winning percentage greater than 0.600 as of Feb. 9. Grand Rapids has also posted a 23-8-1-1 (0.727) record against its Central Division rivals. Thus far, the division has shown to be one of the toughest in the AHL as four Central teams rank in the top 10 of the overall league standings. 

Fantastic Frk: Martin Frk paces the team and ties for eighth in the league with 18 goals (18-10—28). The third-year Griffin notched his team-leading fourth multi-goal game – and second consecutive – during Saturday’s win against Rockford while Grand Rapids improved to a perfect 4-0-0-0 when Frk charts two or more goals. Since the start of the New Year, Frk’s nine goals are tied for third-most in the league.

Clear Influence: A veteran of over 1,100 professional games including 938 in the NHL, 37-year-old Daniel Cleary has made his presence felt on the ice during his first season as a Griffin. Despite Cleary registering only eight points (1-7—8) on the season, in the 22 games the 19th year pro is in the lineup, the Griffins post a staggering 18-3-1-0 (0.841) record.

On the Plus Side: Among the 18 Griffins skaters who have appeared in 10 or more games this season, 13 find themselves with a positive plus/minus rating. Rookie Robbie Russo leads the team at plus-24, which ranks fifth in the league.

Points in Bunches: The Griffins have combined to produce 67 multi-point games this season, led by nine from Andy MieleMitch Callahan tallied his third career hat trick, and first since Nov. 20, 2013, while also setting a new career-high by finishing the game with five points (3-2—5) in a 9-1 win at Rockford on Friday. Callahan is the fourth Griffin to record three goals in a game this season (Colin Campbell, Dec. 26 at LE; Eric Tangradi, Dec. 5 vs. LE; Tomas Jurco, Nov. 20 vs. San Diego)...Mark Zengerle and Miele set a Griffins’ season-high when they both contributed three assists at Iowa on Nov. 25. Nathan Paetsch and Zengerle matched the season-high assist total when they each accumulated three during Grand Rapids’ 9-1 win at Rockford on Friday...Miele and Martin Frk are the only Griffins this year to produce back-to-back three-point efforts (Miele, Nov. 25 vs. Iowa and Nov. 27 at Milwaukee; Frk, Dec. 19 vs. Texas and Dec. 26 at Lake Erie).

Whoa, Nellie: Named the franchise’s 10th head coach on June 19, 2015, Todd Nelson has already attached his name to several records in Griffins lore. In the first half season under Nelson’s watch, Grand Rapids has set franchise records for overall win streak (15, Nov. 18-Dec. 26) and home win streak (14, Nov. 11-Jan. 15). Now in his sixth season as an AHL head coach, including five spent in Oklahoma City with the Barons, Nelson claimed his 200th career AHL win (202-128-13-35) in Grand Rapids’ 3-2 overtime win against Lake Erie on Jan. 20.
 
Making the Grade: Eric Tangradi became the 153rd Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL when he debuted with the Red Wings during Detroit’s 4-2 victory at the New York Islanders on Jan. 25. He was assigned back to Grand Rapids on Jan. 26. The first-year Griffin set a team-best this season when he recorded an eight-game point streak from Nov. 27-Dec. 26. Tangradi’s 17 goals, which place second on the team, are buoyed by his fourth career hat trick recorded on Dec. 5 against Lake Erie, one of four Griffins to net three goals in a game this season (Mitch Callahan, Feb. 5 at RFD; Colin Campbell, Dec. 26 at LE; Tomas Jurco, Nov. 20 vs. San Diego). League wide, Tangradi is tied for 13th in goals (17) and tied for 33rd in points (33).
 
Sorry, Not Sorry: In addition to putting together their own winning streak of 15 games earlier this season (Nov. 18-Dec. 26), which set a franchise record, the Griffins have also made a habit out of being able to stop the streaks of their opponents. Consider the significant double-digit runs that Grand Rapids has been responsible for halting this season: Rockford’s 10-game point streak on Nov. 18 (3-2 W), Milwaukee’s 11-game point streak and franchise-record 10-game winning streak on Nov. 27 (6-0 W) and Charlotte’s 12-game point streak on Jan. 12 (5-3 W).

Road Redemption: After dropping their first five away games, the Griffins have won 10 of their last 15 on the road, including a six-game winning streak that lasted from Nov. 21-Dec. 26. Grand Rapids has put together streaks of five consecutive wins or more on foreign ice in each of the last four seasons (2014-15: 7; 2013-14: 5; 2012-13: 6). On the road this season, the Griffins recorded a 6-0 victory at Milwaukee on Nov. 27, mounted their biggest comeback in a 4-3 overtime win at Iowa on Dec. 13 after dipping into an early 3-0 deficit, scored seven times during a 7-3 win at Lake Erie on Dec. 26, snapped the Checkers 12-game point streak in a 5-3 win at Charlotte on Jan. 12, overcame a 2-1 third-period deficit to defeat Lake Erie in overtime on Jan. 20 and set a season high for goals scored and matched a franchise record for largest margin of victory in a 9-1 rout of Rockford on Feb. 5.
 
Goal Scoring: Partly attributable to the Griffins’ current eighth-place standing in the AHL is the fact they rank in the top 10 for both goals for (3.09, fifth) and goals against (2.62, eighth) per game. 
 
Magic Numbers: The Griffins are 24-3-1-0 when scoring three or more goals and 18-3-0-0 when allowing two or fewer…Grand Rapids is 13-2-0-0 when leading after one period, 16-2-0-0 when leading after two and 20-4-1-0 when striking first.
 
Stone Wall: Categorized in the AHL’s top five for wins (21, tied for third), shutouts (three, tied for fifth), goals against average (2.30, fourth) and save percentage (0.927, third), goaltender Jared Coreau has anchored a consistent presence in between the pipes for the Griffins. His 21 wins include a career best 11-game winning streak (Nov. 18-Dec. 26) that fell just one game short of tying Jimmy Howard’s all-time record (12, Feb. 25-March 31, 2006) for a Grand Rapids goalie.
 
Russo’s Rookie Relevance: Rookie defenseman Robbie Russo registered just one assist and a single point through his first seven professional games this season. His eighth career game, a three-point night (1-2—3) in a win over Rockford on Nov. 18, jumpstarted his season as he has dished out 17 helpers from his blueline position to rank third on the team in assists. Russo’s seven-game assist streak (Dec. 5-19) matched a franchise record for most consecutive games with an assist in a single season (most recent: Kris Newbury, Oct. 25-Nov. 13, 2009) and was one shy of the overall assist streak record set by Valtteri Filppula (8, March 26, 2006-Oct. 13, 2006). His plus-24 rating is fifth in the league.  
 
No. 152: Center Tomas Nosek became the 152nd Griffin to play in the NHL after he debuted with the Red Wings during Detroit’s 3-2 win over Nashville on Dec. 26. Nosek played in six games for Detroit, did not record a point and was assigned him back to the Griffins on Jan. 5.  Nosek has collected seven points (5-2—7) in his first 14 games back in Grand Rapids, including the game-winner in overtime against Rockford on Feb. 6.

Climbing the Charts: With 37 saves against Rockford on Feb. 5, goaltender Tom McCollum appeared in his 210th game as a Griffin, tying him with Joey MacDonald atop the franchise’s leaderboard. McCollum’s efforts against the IceHogs also earned him his 93rd win as a Griffin, ranking second in club history behind only MacDonald (109). He has also broken the 5,000-save barrier this season and, with 5,229 stops, stands behind only MacDonald (5,362) in club archives.
 
Walleye World: A recent 7-3-0-0 stretch has the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye atop the North Division standings with a 27-13-1-3 record (58 points). The Walleye lead second-place Wheeling (20-20-2-3) by 13 points. Former Griffins Shane Berschbach (15-26—41) and A.J. Jenks (14-20—34) pace the offense. Rookie netminder Jake Paterson, Detroit’s second pick in the 2012 NHL Entry Draft, shows a 7-8-1-1 record with a 2.47 GAA and 0.918 save percentage as an understudy to former Michigan State Spartan Jeff Lerg (19-5-0-2, 1.95 GAA, 0.932%). While spending 15 games with the Griffins earlier this season, Paterson made his first career AHL start on Jan. 13 at Charlotte and recorded 38 saves in a 4-3 loss.
  

Scouting Report


Friday, Feb. 12 at Iowa Wild (14-28-3-3) – Wells Fargo Arena – 8 p.m.
Saturday, Feb. 13 at Iowa Wild – Wells Fargo Arena – 8 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:35 p.m. each night Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 8-0-0-0 Road, 15-2-0-0 Overall. Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Road, 3-0-0-0 Overall. Fourth and fifth of eight meetings overall, second and third of four at Wells Fargo Arena. NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild. Head Coach: John Torchetti (2nd season). Notes: The Wild rank seventh in the Central Division, 14th in the Western Conference and 29th in the AHL with a 14-28-3-3 record (0.354)…Iowa is 5-4-1-0 in its last 10 games…The Wild are 6-15-3-2 overall at Wells Fargo Arena and have been outscored 83-60…Including Grand Rapids’ wins in the first three meetings of the season, the Griffins have beaten Iowa 10 consecutive times overall, a streak that spans parts of three seasons since the Wild’s 3-1 win at Van Andel Arena on March 8, 2014…Leland Irving is the leading goaltender, showing a 7-14-3 record, a 2.78 GAA and a 0.912 save percentage…Iowa ranks 26th in shots against per game (32.79) and 20th in goals against (3.02)…Grayson Downing (13-15—28) is tied for 10th among league rookies in point production while also leading the team…Zack Mitchell (16-11—27) and Jordan Schroeder (10-17—27) are tied for second in scoring…Grand Rapids defeated Iowa 4-3 in overtime in the last meeting on Dec. 13. After falling behind 3-0, the Griffins scored two goals in the game’s final 2:19 to tie the score before Xavier Ouellet’s goal 2:33 into overtime gave Grand Rapids the victory…Mitch Callahan (4-1—5) and Andy Miele (0-5—5) lead the team in three games against the Wild. 

Sunday, Feb. 14 at Rockford IceHogs (27-11-4-4) – BMO Harris Bank Center – 5 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 4:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 10-13-2-3, 28-21-3-5 Overall. Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Road, 4-1-0-0 Overall. Sixth meeting of eight overall, third of four at BMO Harris Bank Center. NHL Affiliation: Chicago Blackhawks. Head Coach: Ted Dent (5th season). Notes: The Rockford IceHogs rank first in the Central Division, second in the Western Conference and fourth overall with a 27-11-4-4 record (0.674)...The IceHogs are 5-2-2-1 over their last 10 games but are winless in their last three (0-1-2-0)...Rockford owns a 0.500 record or better against all of its opponents this season, except Grand Rapids (1-3-1-0)…Rookie Vinnie Hinostroza leads the IceHogs in points (10-16—26), while Pierre-Cedric Labrie is the leading goal scorer (13-8—21)…Michael Leighton’s 23 wins between the pipes are second most in the league and he also ranks third in GAA (2.22) and has tallied four shutouts…The IceHogs place 22nd overall (15.8%) in the power play and 14th (83.3%) in the penalty kill...In a 3-2 win over Rockford on Nov. 18, the Griffins snapped the IceHogs’ 10-game point streak…Grand Rapids’ 9-1 win at Rockford on Feb. 5 snapped the IceHogs’ seven-game point streak and also tied a Griffins franchise record for largest margin of victory…The eight-goal margin also marked the largest ever home loss for the IceHogs in the team’s AHL era…Mitch Callahan recorded his third career hat trick and a career-best five points (3-2—5) in Feb. 5’s victory...Grand Rapids earned a 4-3 win in the last meeting between the teams on Feb. 6 on the heels of Tomas Nosek’s game-winner in overtime…Callahan (3-3—6), Andy Miele (1-5—6) and Robbie Russo (1-5—6) lead the Griffins in five games against the IceHogs.