11/17/2008 1:34 PM
Last Week’s Results
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.
Sat., Nov. 22 at Chicago Wolves (10-3-1-1) – Allstate Arena – 8 p.m.
Sun., Nov. 23 at Iowa Chops (9-5-0-0) – Wells Fargo Arena – 6:05 p.m.
Nov. 11 - 1-0 W vs. HOU
|GriffVision Video Highlights
||WTKG Radio Highlight: 1
||Post-Game Sound Bites: 1 2 3
||Official Game Report
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