This Week’s Games
Tue., Nov. 18 - GRIFFINS at Milwaukee Admirals - 8 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Fri., Nov. 21 - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sat., Nov. 22 - GRIFFINS at Chicago Wolves - 8 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Sun., Nov. 23 - GRIFFINS at Iowa Chops - 6:05 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM / AHLLive.com
Last Week’s Results
Tue., Nov. 11 - Houston Aeros 0 at GRIFFINS 1 - 6-2-2-1, 15 pts. (4th, North Division)
Fri., Nov. 14 - Hartford Wolf Pack 2 at GRIFFINS 3 - 7-2-2-1, 17 pts. (4th)
Sat., Nov. 15 - GRIFFINS 3 at Quad City Flames 1 - 8-2-2-1, 19 pts. (4th)
Sun., Nov. 16 - GRIFFINS 4 at Milwaukee Admirals 5 - 8-3-2-1, 19 pts. (4th)
Running the Gauntlet: The Griffins went 3-1 last week while playing their first four-in-six of the season, a test that they’ll repeat this week starting Tuesday in Milwaukee. Just like last week, the gauntlet will conclude by playing three games in three cities in three nights, starting with Friday’s visit by the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. The Penguins are under the guidance of first-year head coach Dan Bylsma, a Grand Haven, Mich., native who played 429 NHL games over his 12-year playing career (1992-2004).
Pure Refreshment: Friday’s game against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton marks another Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs night. For all 15 Friday games this season, fans can enjoy $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts from 6-8 p.m., while supplies last. Friday is College Night presented by McFadden’s Restaurant and Saloon, as college students can visit the box office to purchase a lower bowl ticket for just $10 with a valid student ID. Finally, Library Night returns for all Friday games as well, enabling fans who present a public library card from the Grand Rapids Public Library or Kent District Library at the box office to purchase a lower bowl ticket for $10 (limit four per card).
Signs of Success: The Griffins own a three-game home winning streak and are 7-1-0-1 in their last nine games at Van Andel Arena, dating to the final two games of 2007-08…Grand Rapids has earned points in five of its seven road outings this season (3-2-2-0).
Tough Neighborhood: Four of the North Division’s seven teams (SYR, MTB, HAM, GR) currently have winning percentages of 0.679 or higher, a figure attained by only four other teams around the AHL. Discounting games played against each other, those four North Division powers have a combined 38-9-3-1 record (0.784), including a 12-0 mark for Manitoba, whose only three losses this season have come to Hamilton (2) and Syracuse.
Come One, Come All: The Griffins stand fourth in the AHL with an average attendance of 6,204, a year-to-date increase of 8.6% over the first seven home games of 2007-08 (5,714).
One Month Ahead: Grand Rapids claimed its fifth home win of the season on Friday against Hartford, putting it exactly one month ahead of the 2007-08 squad that took until Dec. 14 to earn its fifth victory at Van Andel Arena.
Chart Toppers: Grand Rapids ranks among the AHL’s best in power play (5th at 19.8%), penalty killing (3rd at 89.9%), scoring average (3rd at 3.71) and shots per game (3rd at 32.43).
Something Unexpected: The Griffins had denied 43 of their opponents’ previous 44 power play chances before Milwaukee scored twice in a span of three opportunities on Sunday.
Enough’s Enough: On Saturday, the Griffins earned their first-ever win against Quad City, defeating the Flames 3-1 at the I Wireless Center with a trio of third-period goals. Last season, the Flames became the first opponent in Griffins history to sweep a season series of at least four games (0-3-0-1).
Player of the Week Nominee: Goaltender Daniel Larsson earned the Griffins’ nomination for the Reebok/AHL Player of the Week award today after going 2-0 with a 0.50 GAA, a 0.978 save percentage and one shutout last week. In Tuesday’s 1-0 win over Houston, he made 16 saves to earn first star honors and his first North American shutout. On Saturday, he made 30 saves on 31 shots to backstop the Griffins to a 3-1 come-from-behind victory at Quad City.
Take Me to Your Leaders: Several Griffins rank among the AHL’s individual leaders: Justin Abdelkader – T11th rookie points (10), 4th rookie goals (8), T4th rookie power play goals (3), 4th rookie shooting percentage (0.235); Jimmy Howard – T18th goals against average (2.68); Garrett Stafford – T12th defenseman points (9); Landon Wilson – T1st power play goals (6).
Old Faithfuls: Darren Helm, who registered points in all four games last week (2-3—5), has been held off the scoresheet in only two of the 12 games he’s played this season. Landon Wilson also had points in every game last week (1-3—4), giving him only three scoreless outings in 14 contests. Ville Leino has tallied points in nine of his 12 appearances.
Strong Starters: Just 14 games into the season, Darren Helm and Mattias Ritola are putting up offensive numbers that could dwarf their rookie hauls. Helm already has 11 assists and 14 points in just 12 appearances, after recording 15 assists and 31 points last season. Similarly, Ritola has five goals and 11 points through 14 games, after notching seven goals and 22 points in 2007-08…Jakub Kindl scored his third goal of the campaign in game no. 12 versus Hartford on Friday, equaling his 75-game goal output from his 2007-08 rookie season…Tom Galvin has scored more goals in his last seven games (2) than he did in his first 121 contests as a Griffin (1)…Ryan Oulahen’s six goals put him on an early pace for 34, which would eclipse his career-high by 20 (14 last season). He has scored goals in back-to-back games twice already this season, something he accomplished only three times in his prior three seasons combined…Garrett Stafford’s nine points (2-7—9) tie him for 12th among AHL defensemen. He has finished among the league’s top 17 blueliners in scoring in four of his previous five seasons.
Milestones: Ryan Oulahen played in his 243rd regular season games for Grand Rapids on Sunday, tying him with Tomas Kopecky for seventh on the team’s all-time list…Darren Haydar’s assist on Sunday was the 300th of his pro career…Garrett Stafford registered his 200th pro point with an assist during Friday’s 3-2 win over Hartford…Landon Wilson notched an assist last Tuesday for his 150th in the AHL.
Tue., Nov. 18 at Milwaukee Admirals (7-5-0-1) – Bradley Center – 8 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast ($6 at AHLLive.com) and audio web cast (free at woodradio.com) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 45-32-7-5-4 Overall, 19-18-5-4-3 Road. Season Series: 0-2-1-0 Overall, 0-1-1-0 Road. Fourth of eight meetings overall, third of four in Milwaukee. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Lane Lambert (2nd season). Notes: The Griffins, 4-10-4-1 against the Admirals over the last three seasons, are winless in their last seven games against Milwaukee overall (0-5-1-1) and in their last five visits to the Bradley Center (0-4-1-0)…This season, Grand Rapids is 0-2-1-0 against the Admirals and 8-1-1-1 versus the rest of the AHL, while conversely, Milwaukee is 3-0 against the Griffins and 4-5-0-1 versus the remainder of the league…The Admirals are averaging 4.33 goals per game against Grand Rapids this season, a figure 73% higher than their average against the rest of the AHL (2.50)…Cody Franson has seven goals in 11 career games against Grand Rapids, and just eight goals in 76 games against other AHL clubs…The Admirals have outscored the Griffins 8-3 in the first period in their three meetings this season.
Fri., Nov. 21 vs. Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins (8-6-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast ($6 at AHLLive.com) and audio web cast (free at woodradio.com) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 4-0-0-0 Overall, 2-0-0-0 Home. Season Series: First of two meetings overall, first and only in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Pittsburgh Penguins. Head Coach: Dan Bylsma (1st season). Notes: Grand Haven, Mich., native Dan Bylsma is in his first season as Wilkes-Barre’s head coach…Chris Menard leads the AHL with 14 goals and is tied for second with 24 points…Former Griffin Adam Berkhoel leads the league with three shutouts and ranks fifth with a 1.95 GAA and a 0.936%...The Griffins are 4-0 all time in the regular season and 7-1 overall against the Penguins, with their only loss coming on April 19, 2003 in Game 3 of the Western Conference quarterfinals (2-6 at WBS). Including playoffs, Grand Rapids is 4-0 all time at home against Wilkes-Barre/Scranton…Only two current Griffins – Jonathan Ericsson and Ryan Oulahen – played in the last meeting between these clubs, which saw the Griffins take a 4-3 shootout win at Van Andel Arena on Jan. 13, 2007.
Sat., Nov. 22 at Chicago Wolves (10-3-1-1) – Allstate Arena – 8 p.m.
TV: Comcast Cable 100 (Chicago). Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast ($6 at AHLLive.com) and audio web cast (free at woodradio.com) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 41-28-2-3-2 Overall, 21-17-0-1-0 Road. Season Series: First of four meetings overall, first of two in Rosemont. NHL Affiliation: Atlanta Thrashers. Head Coach: Don Granato (1st season). Notes: Griffins captain Darren Haydar held the same role last season for the Calder Cup champion Wolves…West Division-leading Chicago is 4-0-0-1 at home…Goaltender Ondrej Pavelec ranks second in the AHL with a 1.54 GAA and a 0.947% (tied)…Uncharacteristically, Chicago’s power play stands dead-last in the league at 6.1% (5-for-82)…The Wolves allow the fewest goals in the league (1.73 per game)…Don Granato is the Wolves’ first new head coach since 1997-98, as current Atlanta bench boss John Anderson guided the team over the last 11 seasons.
Sun., Nov. 23 at Iowa Chops (9-5-0-0) – Wells Fargo Arena – 6:05 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 5:35 p.m. Web Casts: Video web cast ($6 at AHLLive.com) and audio web cast (free at woodradio.com) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time/Season Series: First of two meetings overall, first and only in Des Moines. NHL Affiliation: Anaheim Ducks. Head Coach: Gord Dineen (1st season). Notes: The Griffins posted a 7-2-1-2 record against the Chops’ predecessors, the Iowa Stars, including a 3-2-0-1 mark at Wells Fargo Arena…Iowa LW Drew Miller is a cousin of former Griffins Kelly, Kevin and Kip Miller…Bobby Ryan (9-10—19) is tied for fourth in league scoring while David LeNeveu (2.21 GAA) ranks seventh among goaltenders…The Chops, winners of three straight, are 6-2 on home ice…Iowa has outscored its opponents 20-6 in the third period…The Chops are tied for fifth in the AHL in goals allowed per game (2.50).