11/02/2009 11:49 AM
This Week’s Games
Fri., Nov. 6 - Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com / Comcast Channel 100 (Chicago)
Sun., Nov. 8 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 3 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com / Fox Sports Ohio
Last Week’s Results
Three Amigos: The Griffins will welcome several familiar faces back to Van Andel Arena this Friday when the Chicago Wolves pay a visit at 7 p.m. Former Detroit Red Wings Chris Chelios and Manny Legace, who spent conditioning stints with Grand Rapids in 2008-09 and 2005-06, respectively, are now members of the Wolves, as is Drew MacIntyre, who helped man the Griffins’ pipes from 2004-06. Chelios has registered five points (1-4—5) and a team-high plus-seven rating in five games with Chicago, while both Legace (2-2-1, 1 SO, 2.70 GAA, 0.914%) and MacIntyre (2-4-0, 2.68 GAA, 0.919%) have been solid in net.
Promotional Highlights: Friday’s featured promotions include Dollar Beers and Dollar Dogs from 6-8 p.m. (while supplies last), College Night presented by McFadden’s, the D-ZONE presented by WGRD 97.9 FM, organ music by Dale Zieger, a post-game skate, and a Huntington post-game autograph session at the Griffins bench with Sergei Kolosov, Daniel Larsson and Sebastien Piche. For complete information on all Griffins promotions, click here.
No Place Like Home: With a 5-0 mark at Van Andel Arena, the Griffins are off to their best home start ever. Never before had Grand Rapids won more than two straight games on home ice to start the season, and its previous-best record after five home games was 4-1 in 2000-01, the team’s final season in the IHL.
The Joy of Six?: The Griffins are riding their first five-game winning streaks both at home and overall since February 2007, which was also the last time they posted a six-game winning streak of either kind. Should they beat the Wolves this Friday, the Griffins will sweep a six-game homestand for the first time in franchise history. They went 5-1 from Jan. 13-25, 2006 and were unbeaten with four wins and two ties from Jan. 14-24, 2004.
Special Teams Dominance: The Griffins have converted 10 of 31 power play opportunities (32.3%) during the first five games of their homestand while killing off 22 of the opposition’s 24 chances (91.7%). As a result, their power play sits third in the league at 22.2%, while their penalty killers have risen to 20th at 82.0%.
In Top Condition: Washington Capitals center Michael Nylander played the final game of his two-week conditioning stint with the Griffins on Friday, scoring their first goal midway through the third period to ignite their 3-1 come-from-behind victory. Nylander, who is expected to participate in a final practice with the Griffins on Tuesday before returning to D.C., registered one goal, five power-play assists and a plus-one rating in five appearances with Grand Rapids.
AHL Player of the Week Nominee: Goaltender Daniel Larsson earned the Griffins’ nomination for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award on Monday after making 34 saves in a 2-0 shutout of Houston last Thursday. His sixth career shutout moved him into a tie with Pokey Reddick for fifth place on the franchise’s all-time list. After an uncharacteristic start to the season, in which he went 0-2 with a 6.56 goals against average and a 0.795 save percentage in two road appearances, Larsson has reclaimed his all-star form at Van Andel Arena, going 3-0 with a 1.33 GAA, a 0.962 save percentage (100-of-104) and Thursday’s shutout since the Griffins’ home opener on Oct. 23. In his last two outings alone, he shows a 0.50 GAA and a 0.987 save percentage (75-of-76).
Forget the Alamo: Discounting a disastrous two-game set in San Antonio (Oct. 17-18) in which they combined to allow 14 goals on 45 shots, the Griffins’ netminding duo of Daniel Larsson and Thomas McCollum has been nothing short of spectacular. Each has played four other games, with McCollum posting a 1.48 GAA and a 0.948 save percentage in his contests, and Larsson answering with a 1.75 GAA and a 0.949 save percentage.
Who Else is Hot?: Jakub Kindl has assists in three of the last four games (0-4—4)…Evan McGrath has points in five of the last six outings (2-3—5)…Kris Newbury has points in three straight contests (1-4—5) and in four of the last five games (2-5—7)…Patrick Rissmiller has points in three of the last four games (2-1—3)…Tomas Tatar netted his first pro goal last Thursday to provide the game-winning tally at the tender age of 18 years, 10 months and 28 days.
Get Defensive: Grand Rapids has allowed a total of only two goals in its last three games to climb into the upper half of the AHL’s goals-against rankings at 2.80 per game (14th). Meanwhile, the Griffins continue to boast one of the league’s most productive offenses, tying for sixth at 3.10 goals per game…Houston’s lone goal on Friday snapped the Griffins’ shutout streak of 145:09 against the Aeros on home ice. Houston had been blanked in two straight visits to Van Andel Arena, with its last goal coming late in a 4-1 win over Grand Rapids back on April 4, 2008.
History Repeating?: After going 1-3-1-0 out of the gate during what had been their worst-ever start in 2002-03, the Griffins immediately ripped off a franchise-record 16-game point streak (11-0-3-2 from Oct. 25 to Nov. 30, 2002) that propelled them to a 48-22-8-2 record, the Central Division title, the Western Conference’s top playoff seed and an eventual Game 7 loss in the Western Conference Finals, their deepest playoff run since joining the AHL in 2001. This season, the Griffins have won five straight games since starting 1-4.
Milestones: Patrick Rissmiller tallied his 100th pro goal with an empty-netter on Friday against Houston…Andy Delmore is five points away from 400 for his pro career…Jeremy Williams needs three more points for 200 in his pro career…Doug Janik is two assists away from 100 as a pro.
Fri., Nov. 6 vs. Chicago Wolves (4-6-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 8 at Lake Erie Monsters (6-6-0-0) – Quicken Loans Arena – 3 p.m.
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