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GRIFFINS CONTINUE SEVEN-GAME ROAD TRIP WITH THREE-IN-THREE VERSUS WILD AND WOLVES

This Week’s Games
Fri., March 21    GRIFFINS at Iowa Wild    8:05 p.m.    WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., March 22    GRIFFINS at Iowa Wild    2:05 p.m.    WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sun., March 23    GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves    4 p.m.    WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM / AHLLive.com

Last Week’s Results

Thu., March 13    GRIFFINS 1 at San Antonio 2 SO    37-18-2-4, 80 pts. (1st, Midwest Division)
Fri., March 14    GRIFFINS 3 at Oklahoma City 2    38-18-2-4, 82 pts. (1st)
Sat., March 15    GRIFFINS 4 at Oklahoma City 3    39-18-2-4, 84 pts. (1st)

Rollin’, Rollin’, Rollin’: After earning five of six possible points last week, the Griffins hold on to their first-place spot in the Midwest Division and also tie with the Texas Stars (37-17-3-5, 82 pts.) for first in the Western Conference and second overall. On Thursday, the Griffins gave up their second shootout loss to the San Antonio Rampage, resulting in a 2-1 loss. With their win, the Rampage swept the four-game season series, earning a regulation win, an overtime win and two shootout victories to complete the sweep. Adam Almquist earned the Griffins’ lone goal, but San Antonio’s Michael Houser turned away Almquist, Martin Frk and Jordin Tootoo in the shootout to earn the extra point. Tom McCollum stopped only one of four shooters on his way to his third shootout loss of the campaign. The shootout loss resulted in a 4-4 shootout record for Grand Rapids on the season. On Friday, Grand Rapids edged out the Oklahoma City Barons, 3-2, with tallies coming from Andrej Nestrasil, Mitch Callahan and Triston Grant. On Saturday, the Griffins won their rematch with the Barons, 4-3, despite Oklahoma City earning 10 power plays. Comparatively, the Griffins had six power plays, and five of the seven goals that night were scored on the power play, including all three of Oklahoma City’s markers. Nestrasil put away two of the Griffins’ four goals to earn the win. Grand Rapids has garnered points in 10 of its last 11 games (9-1-0-1).

Midwest Race: A reign they’ve held since Nov. 3, the Griffins (39-18-2-4, 84 pts.) rank first in the Midwest Division, now seven points ahead of their second-place division rival, the Chicago Wolves (35-19-5-2, 77 pts.). The Milwaukee Admirals (29-20-6-6, 70 pts.) jumped to third place last week after earning four of six possible points, including victories over the fourth-place Rockford Icehogs (30-24-5-4, 69 pts.) and the San Antonio Rampage. Rockford trails Milwaukee by only one point and hangs on to the last-place Western Conference playoff spot over the Oklahoma City Barons by three points. The Iowa Wild (25-25-6-4, 60 pts.) rank fifth. The Griffins have scored the most goals in the division (202), while tying with Chicago for the fewest goals against (153).
 
Pulkkinen Makes NHL Debut: Right wing Teemu Pulkkinen made his NHL debut last Friday in a 2-1 shootout win over the Edmonton Oilers at Joe Louis Arena, becoming the 141st Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL. While the Vantaa, Finland, native tallied zero points in the contest, he rifled off two shots and earned 7:36 worth of ice time. Pulkkinen also played in Detroit’s 4-1 road loss to the Chicago Blackhawks on Sunday with 8:17 of ice time. Pulkkinen leads the Griffins in scoring with 26 goals and 25 assists, posts a team-high plus-20 rating and has popped off 175 shots, the most of any Griffin, yielding a 14.9 shooting percentage. Pulkkinen is also the owner of the Griffins’ longest point streak (eight games) and ties with center Cory Emmerton (Nov. 30-Dec. 18) for the longest goal streak (three games) on two separate occasions (Nov. 3-8; Feb. 26- March 1). Technically qualifying as a rookie despite spending four professional seasons in Finland, Pulkkinen ranks second in scoring among league rookies (51 pts.), ranks first in goals (26), third in shots and first in plus/minus. Pulkkinen (51 pts.) currently ranks fourth on the Griffins’ all time top single-season rookie scorers behind Justin Abdelkader (52 pts., 2008-09), Glen Metropolit (55 pts., 1997-98) and Gustav Nyquist (58 pts., 2011-12). However, Pulkkinen became the highest rookie goal-getter in franchise history with his 25th goal of the season on March 7 in a 4-0 shutout of the Iowa Wild at Van Andel Arena.

Blueline Warrior: Defenseman Adam Almquist tallied his 40th (assist) and 41st (goal) points of the 2013-14 campaign on March 7 against the Iowa Wild, marking the fifth time in Griffins franchise history that a defenseman has tallied at least 40 points in a single season. Other defensemen to earn the same milestone include Bryan Helmer (56 pts., 2005-06); Niklas Kronwall (53 pts., 2004-05) and Garrett Stafford (45 pts., 2008-09; 44 pts., 2007-08). Almquist ranks third among league d-men and ties for third overall in assists (41). Last Thursday, the defenseman earned the Griffins’ lone goal in a 2-1 shootout loss to the San Antonio Rampage, and he notched two helpers in a 3-2 edging of the Oklahoma City Barons on Friday. Currently, Almquist ranks second on the team in scoring with 45 points (4-41—45), shattering his 2012-13 record (10-21—31), and owns 52 penalty minutes and a plus-eight rating.

Team Leaders: Right wing Teemu Pulkkinen (26-25—51) leads the Griffins in scoring and registers a team-high plus-20 rating through 60 games. Defenseman Adam Almquist (4-41—45), who ties for third among league defensemen, ranks second on the team, followed by right wing Mitch Callahan (22-14—36) and Calle Jarnkrok (13-23—36), who tie for third. Four of the Griffins’ top six scorers (Pulkkinen, Jarnkrok, Cory Emmerton and Tomas Jurco) are not active on the roster. Pulkkinen, Emmerton and Jurco are all with the Detroit Red Wings, while Jarnkrok was traded to the Nashville Predators by Detroit on March 5. Despite staying out of the box for nine consecutive games, Brennan Evans (99) leads the team in penalty minutes and is just one infraction away from crossing the 100-minute threshold. Left wing Triston Grant (94) garnered 10 penalty minutes last week, putting him within range of Evans’ team-high.

Marchenko Out: The Griffins’ 2014 AHL All-Star defenseman Alexey Marchenko suffered an ankle injury in a game against the Milwaukee Admirals on Feb. 23. Marchenko had surgery for a severe high ankle sprain and is expected to be out for the remainder of the regular season.

Detroit Trades Jarnkrok: The Detroit Red Wings on March 5 traded center Calle Jarnkrok, along with forward Patrick Eaves and a conditional third-round pick in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, to the Nashville Predators in exchange for forward David Legwand. A native of Gavle, Sweden, Jarnkrok ties for third on the Griffins in scoring with 36 points (13-23—36) in 57 games. Detroit’s second choice (51st overall) in the 2010 NHL Entry Draft, Jarnkrok spent the previous four seasons with Brynas of the Swedish Elite League, tallying 118 points (44-74—118) in 185 games. The 6-foot, 188-pound center helped his team to an SEL championship in 2012 and assisted his country in earning a gold medal at the 2013 World Championships. Since being traded to Nashville, Jarnkrok has tallied five goals and two assists in five games with the Milwaukee Admirals, averaging 1.4 points per game.

Injury-Ridden: Upon Landon Ferraro’s recall to Detroit on Monday, there are now 11 members of Grand Rapids’ Calder Cup championship team on Detroit’s current roster, compared to 10 who remain on the Griffins’ roster. Since March 8, five Griffins have been recalled to Detroit (Petr Mrazek, Cory Emmerton, Teemu Pulkkinen, Jordin Tootoo and Ferraro) to compensate for an ever-growing list of injured Red Wings, including Justin Abdelkader, Joakim Andersson, Todd Bertuzzi, Daniel Cleary, Pavel Datsyuk, Darren Helm and Tomas Jurco. Tootoo was returned to Grand Rapids earlier this afternoon.

Ferraro’s Shot: The Detroit Red Wings on Monday recalled center Landon Ferraro from the Griffins. A native of Trail, British Columbia, Ferraro has spent the last three full seasons and part of a fourth (2009-10) with the Griffins, notching 95 points (46-49—95) and 135 penalty minutes in 190 career AHL games. Detroit’s first choice (32nd overall) in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Ferraro has netted 28 points (13-15—28) and 44 PIM in 60 appearances this season. Ferraro, 22, led the Griffins with 24 goals last season, finished third on the team with 47 points (24-23—47) and paced the AHL with seven shorthanded points (3-4—7). The 6-foot, 182-pound forward ranks among the Griffins’ all-time playoff leaders with 11 assists (T9th), one shorthanded goal (T1st), two game-winning goals (T6th) and one unassisted goal (T5th), all captured en route to leading Grand Rapids to its first-ever Calder Cup championship last season. The Wings will host the Toronto Maple Leafs tonight at 7:30 p.m., when Ferraro could make his NHL debut and become the 142nd Griffins alumnus to play in the NHL.

Campbell Signed to ATO: The Griffins on Monday signed forward Colin Campbell to an amateur tryout. The 22-year-old Campbell, who also signed a two-year entry-level contract with the Detroit Red Wings, has spent the last four seasons with the WCHA’s Lake Superior State Lakers, registering 64 points (27-37—64) and 64 penalty minutes in 119 games. A native of Pickering, Ontario, Campbell ranked second on the Lakers this season with 29 points (14-15—29) in 36 games, bouncing back from a junior season in which he missed 30 games while recovering from surgery. The 6-foot-1, 203-pound forward led the Lakers in goals (14) and game-winning goals (three).

Walleye World: The ECHL’s Toledo Walleye (18-37-3-1) dropped all three of their games last week at home. The Walleye fell to the Kalamazoo Wings on Friday (2-1) and Saturday (6-4), while losing to the Fort Wayne Komets  on Sunday (4-2). Walleye head coach Nick Vittuci stepped down from his position on Feb. 25, making way for interim head coach Dan Watson, who is now 2-6 since taking the reins of the squad. Trevor Parkes (17-17—34), who is currently with the Griffins, ties for first on the team in scoring, while forward Travis Novak (10-20—30) ranks third, and Alden Hirschfeld (9-20—29) ranks fourth. Both Novak and Hirschfeld are currently signed to professional tryouts with Grand Rapids. Toledo (40 pts.) ranks fifth in the North Division, 24 points behind the fourth-place Evansville IceMen.

Scouting Report

Fri., March 21 at Iowa Wild (25-25-6-4, 60 pts.) – Wells Fargo Arena – 8:05 p.m.
Sat., March 22 at Iowa Wild – Wells Fargo Arena – 2:05 p.m.

Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:40 p.m (Fri.) and 1:40 p.m. (Sat.) Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time/Season Series: 5-2-0-0 Overall, 3-0-0-0 Road. Season Series: Eighth and ninth of 10 meetings overall, fourth and fifth of five at Wells Fargo Arena. NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild. Head Coach: Kurt Kleinendorst (1st season). Notes: The Wild rank fifth in the Midwest Division, 12th in the Western Conference and tie for 22nd overall…Iowa posts a 4-6-0-0 record through its last 10 games, but is currently on a three-game winning streak. However, the Wild have had less success at home (11-15-3-1) than when on the road (14-10-3-3)…Iowa’s overall power play record (16.5%) ranks 18th, while its penalty killing record (79.7%) ranks 26th…Left wing Brad Winchester (17-15—32), who joined the Wild after skating in 55 games with the Rockford IceHogs this season, ranks first on the team in scoring…Left wing Curt Gogol, who played in 40 games with the Worcester Sharks earlier this season, has tallied 170 penalty minutes, including 21 minutes in 10 games since joining the Wild.

Sun., March 23 at Chicago Wolves (35-19-5-2) – Allstate Arena – 4 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 3:40 p.m. TV: The U-Too at 4 p.m. (Chicago) Web Casts: Video web cast at AHLLive.com, free audio available through woodradio.com. All-Time Series: 61-44-2-4-2 Overall, 30-25-0-2-0 Road. Season Series: 5-4-0-0 Overall, 2-2-0-0 Road. 10th of 10 meetings overall, fifth of five at Allstate Arena. NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues. Head Coach: John Anderson (12th season). Notes: Chicago ranks second in the Midwest Division and has been contesting Grand Rapids for the first-place spot all season long…The Wolves have had a strong showing at Allstate Arena, posting an 18-8-3-0 record on home ice…Currently on a two-game losing streak, Chicago posts a 6-3-0-1 record through its last 10 contests…Goaltender Jake Allen ranks second among AHL netminders with a 2.11 goals against average, trailing only Petr Mrazek’s 2.01 GAA. Allen’s other 2013-14 accolades include a 26-15-0-2 record, four shutouts, an appearance at the 2014 AHL All-Star Classic and a 0.925 save percentage. He also leads league goalies in wins (26)…Rookie right wing Ty Rattie (24-15—39) leads the team in scoring, and, among rookies, he ties for 13th in scoring (39 pts.), ties for second in goals (24) and ranks fifth in shots (154)…Chicago’s power play record (12.4%) rank last in the league, while their penalty killing record (86.3%) ties for fourth…Three of the Wolves’ top five scorers are not active on the rosters. Mark Mancari and Dmitrij Jaskin are currently with the St. Louis Blues, while Corey Locke was traded to Abbotsford on Jan. 23.



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