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IN HOT PURSUIT

This Week’s Games
Fri., Feb. 25 - Lake Erie Monsters at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. -
Buy Tickets / ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com

Sat., Feb. 26 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7:30 p.m. - ESPN 96.1 FM / AHLLive.com

Sun., Feb. 27 - GRIFFINS at Hamilton Bulldogs - 4 p.m. - WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Last Week’s Results
Wed., Feb. 16 - Hamilton Bulldogs 3 at GRIFFINS 5 - 24-24-1-6, 55 pts. (6th, North Division) 

Fri., Feb. 18 - Texas Stars 3 at GRIFFINS 2 SO - 24-24-1-7, 56 pts. (6th) 


Sat., Feb. 19 - GRIFFINS 3 at Toronto Marlies 4 SO - 24-24-1-8, 57 pts. (6th) 

Sun., Feb. 20 - Peoria Rivermen 2 at GRIFFINS 4 - 25-24-1-8, 59 pts. (6th) 

Get Busy Livin’ or Get Busy Dyin’: With just one regulation loss in their last seven games (3-1-0-3), the Griffins have a golden opportunity this weekend to make up critical ground in their chase for the playoffs. Hamilton, Manitoba and Lake Erie are deadlocked in a three-way tie atop the North Division, just seven points ahead of sixth-place Grand Rapids, and the Griffins will begin a home-and-home against the Monsters on Friday at Van Andel Arena before visiting the Bulldogs on Sunday.

Fun at the Van: This Friday is ‘90s Night, as fans are encouraged to attend the game against Lake Erie in their best ‘90s attire, while they enjoy ‘90s-themed music and promotions throughout the night. Several fans, plus one surprise celebrity, will donate their hair to Locks of Love during a second-intermission ceremony at center ice, while other promotions include Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs from 6-8 p.m. (while supplies last), College Night and the D-Zone.

Positive Signs: By recording points in all four games last week (2-0-0-2), the Griffins tied their longest point streak of the season (3-0-0-1 from Oct. 23-30). Grand Rapids is 4-1-0-3 in its last eight games on the road and 2-0-0-1 in its last three at home.

Oddly Consistent: The Griffins’ record (currently 25-24-1-8) has been 0.500 or just one game to either side of breakeven for a remarkable 41 straight games, dating to Nov. 20 when they held an 8-7-0-3 mark.

Jordan Rules: Jordan Pearce has helped the Griffins earn points in 10 of his 12 decisions since Jan. 16, going 6-2-0-4 with a 2.48 GAA and a 0.920 save percentage. On Sunday, he became the first Griffins goalie since Jimmy Howard to start both three games in three nights (April 3-5, 2009) and four games in five nights (April 11-15, 2007), while becoming the first rookie to ever accomplish the latter. Only two other rookie netminders had ever started 3-in-3 for Grand Rapids: Howard (Dec. 21-23, 2005) and Simon Lajeunesse (Jan. 18-20, 2002).

Reebok/AHL Player of the Week Nominee: The Griffins on Monday nominated right wing Jamie Tardif for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award, after he recorded a pair of two-goal games and an assist in four outings. After notching two goals in Wednesday’s 5-3 win over Hamilton and Sunday’s 4-2 victory over Peoria, he leads the Griffins and is tied for 14th in the AHL with a career-high 21 goals. With 72 goals for his Griffins career, Tardif has tied Darryl Bootland for fourth place on the franchise’s all-time list and moved within one of third-place Derek King and three of second-place Kip Miller. In addition, his 294 games played put him past Bootland’s 293 into sole possession of fourth in franchise annals, just eight behind third-place Ryan Oulahen. Tardif is slated to log his 300th AHL contest this Sunday in Hamilton.

Almost Whole: With the return of defenseman Greg Amadio to Grand Rapids’ lineup on Saturday following a six-game injury absence, the Griffins’ lineup is nearly intact. Defenseman Sergei Kolosov (eight games) continues to nurse an injured knee while goaltender Joey MacDonald remains with the Red Wings. He helped Detroit earn a 4-3 victory in Florida on Friday with 29 saves.

Who’s Hot?: Cory Emmerton has consecutive multi-point games (1-3—4) and points in three of the last four contests (2-3—5)…Jan Mursak has assists in three of four games (0-4—4) since returning from injury/Detroit…Chris Minard is riding his second three-game point streak (2-2—4) of the season…Ilari Filppula has points in three straight games (0-4—4), four of five contests (0-5—5) and six of eight outings (2-6—8)…Tomas Tatar owns a four-game scoring streak (3-3—6), one shy of his career high, along with points in eight of his last 11 contests (5-6—11).

Milestones: Derek Meech appeared in his 283rd game as a Griffin on Sunday, moving past Matt Ellis into sole possession of sixth place on the franchise’s all-time list…Cory Emmerton, who notched his 100th pro point with a goal on Wednesday and his 100th and 101st points as a Griffin on Saturday, has 196 GR/AHL games played and 198 pro games played…Other benchmarks are approaching for Francis Pare (198 GR/AHL/pro games played), Jamie Johnson (298 pro assists), Chris Minard (99 AHL assists) and Jordan Owens (94 AHL points).

Scouting Report

Fri., Feb. 25 vs. Lake Erie Monsters (29-23-3-5) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 26 at Lake Erie Monsters – Quicken Loans Arena – 7:30 p.m.
TV: Fox Sports Ohio at 7:30 p.m. (Sat. only). Radio: ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:45 p.m. (Fri.) and 7:15 p.m. (Sat.). Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 16-10-1-4 Overall, 10-5-0-0 Home, 6-5-1-4 Road. Season Series: 2-2-0-1 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Home, 1-1-0-1 Road. Sixth and seventh of eight meetings overall, third of four in Grand Rapids, fourth and final in Cleveland. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: David Quinn (2nd season). Notes: The Monsters are 10 games over 0.500 at home (18-8-2-3) and four games under on the road (11-15-1-2)…In their five meetings this season, Lake Erie has twice held Grand Rapids to one goal while also earning a 3-0 shutout on Nov. 17…In their two series wins, the Griffins have scored four and five goals…A 4-2 loss at Manitoba on Saturday snapped the Monsters’ five-game winning streak and six-game point streak…NHL veteran John Grahame, currently on recall to Colorado, ranks seventh in the AHL with a 2.20 GAA…The Monsters’ second- and third-ranked scorers (Mark Olver 21-15—36 and Ryan Stoa 16-17—33) are also with the Avalanche, while No. 4, former Griffins Patrick Rissmiller (12-19—31), was recalled by the Atlanta Thrashers on Monday...The Griffins (12) and Monsters (10) rank first and second (tied) in the league in shorthanded goals.

Sun., Feb. 27 at Hamilton Bulldogs (30-20-1-5) – Copps Coliseum – 4 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 3:45 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 25-28-1-0-3 Overall, 11-16-0-0-1 Road. Season Series: 3-2-0-0 Overall, 1-1-0-0 Road. Sixth and final meeting overall, third and final in Hamilton. NHL Affiliation: Montreal Canadiens. Head Coach: Randy Cunneyworth (1st season). Notes: The Griffins have won three of their last four games against the Bulldogs, including a 5-3 decision in Grand Rapids last Wednesday…Hamilton is 2-0-0-1 since dropping five straight and seven of eight…Two of the Bulldogs’ top four scorers (No. 1 David Desharnais 10-35—45 and No. 3 Max Pacioretty 17-25—32) remain with the parent Montreal Canadiens…Curtis Sanford stands second in the AHL with a 1.94 GAA and is tied for first with a 0.930 save percentage.
 

Griffins Game Rewinds

Feb. 20 - PEO 2 at GR 4
AHLLive Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews
ESPN Radio Highlights:  Tardif goal 1  Tardif goal 2  Smith GWG
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

Feb. 19 - GR 3 at TOR 4 SO
WOOD Radio Highlights:  Minard Goal   Emmerton Goal   Tatar Goal   Toronto Goal (3-3)
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report
 
Feb. 18 - TEX 3 at GR 2 SO
GriffVision Video Interviews
ESPN Radio Highlights:  Tatar goal  Johnson goal  Texas goal (2-2)
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report
 
Feb. 16 - HAM 3 at GR 5
AHLLive Video Highlights
GriffVision Video Interviews
ESPN Radio Highlights:  Johnson goal  Emmerton goal  Tardif goal 2
Flickr Photo Gallery
Official Game Report

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