12/15/2008 2:49 PM
Last Week’s Results
Get Busy: After playing only two games in a 10-day span (Dec. 7-16) and just four contests in 16 days (Dec. 1-16), the Griffins will play eight times over the final 15 days of the month, beginning with Wednesday’s matchup at home against Syracuse. Grand Rapids, which sits only two points behind Hamilton and four behind Manitoba in the North Division race, will also host a pair against Milwaukee this Friday and Saturday before completing a 4-in-5 with Sunday’s visit to Rochester. The Griffins have thrived during hectic schedules this season, as they are a combined 6-2-0-1 when playing three times in as many nights and 3-0-0-1 when playing four games in five nights.
Holiday Fun: A slew of promotions are on tap for Griffins fans this week: Wed. vs. Syracuse – As part of Winning Wednesday, all fans in attendance can redeem their ticket stub for a free ticket to the Jan. 7 game vs. Rockford if the Griffins defeat the Crunch. Fri. vs. Milwaukee – It’s another Dollar Beers, Dollar Dogs night, with $1 hot dogs and $1 domestic drafts available from 6-8 p.m. while supplies last, as well as College Night and Library Night. Sat. vs. Milwaukee – Thanks to Chrysler Jeep, 2,500 fans will receive a Darren McCarty figurine, commemorating his memorable hat trick during his Van Andel Arena debut last season. Detroit Red Wings legend and Hall of Famer Ted Lindsay will be on the concourse selling and signing copies of his new book, #7, for fans. In addition, fans can bring their skates and take to the ice for the post-game open skate.
Causes for Celebration: The Griffins franchise stands poised to reach as many as four significant milestones this week:
Home Sweet Home: The Griffins are an impressive 7-2-1-3 at Van Andel Arena this season and have points in eight of their last nine games in friendly territory (5-1-1-2).
Welcome Back: The Griffins today recalled defenseman P.J. Atherton from the Ontario Reign of the ECHL. Atherton, 26, has logged 14 games in the ECHL this season between Las Vegas (5) and Ontario (9), tallying two points (1-1—2) with the Wranglers and seven points (2-5—7) with the Reign. The Edina, Minn., native has appeared in four games thus far with the Griffins, registering four PIM.
Enough’s Enough: The Griffins have two shots this week to break a mind-boggling skid against their rival from across Lake Michigan. They are 0-6-1-1 in their last eight games against Milwaukee – including 0-2-0-1 at home – since their last series win, a 4-2 victory at Van Andel Arena on Dec. 29, 2007. Dating back to their 2006 Western Conference Finals series against the Admirals, the Griffins are 4-15-4-1 versus Milwaukee, including a 2-7-1-1 mark at home.
Come One, Come All: The Griffins stand fourth in the AHL with an average attendance of 6,576, a year-to-date increase of 18.3% over the first 13 home contests of 2007-08 (5,559) and 32.4% over the first 13 home games of 2006-07 (4,968). The team’s total attendance of 85,484 is its highest through 13 home games in eight years, since the 2000-01 campaign (97,854).
Youth is Served: Cory Emmerton netted his first pro goal on Dec. 6 against Hamilton then built his first goal streak by lighting the lamp in Friday’s 6-5 win at Manitoba. He has points in five of the last eight contests (2-4—6)…Justin Abdelkader has points in six of his last nine outings (1-6—7)…Jamie Tardif has contributed points in six of the last seven contests (4-2—6) and is currently riding a four-game point streak (3-1—4). He had just one shot in each game against Manitoba over the weekend but lit the lamp each time…Jakub Kindl saw his three-game assist streak snapped on Saturday…Evan McGrath has points in six of the last 10 games (3-6—9).
Lone Star Landon: Since being recalled by Dallas on Nov. 21, Landon Wilson has tallied four points (1-3—4) and 12 PIM in 11 games, averaging 9:59 of ice time. He tallied two assists in the Stars’ 3-1 win over Detroit on Friday. Despite his absence from Grand Rapids’ last 11 games, he still places among the club’s leaders with eight goals (T3rd), 15 points (T6th), 37 PIM (3rd) and seven power play goals (1st).
Take Me to Your Leaders: Several Griffins rank among the AHL’s individual leaders: Justin Abdelkader – T9th rookie points (18); Jakub Kindl – T16th defenseman points (14); Daniel Larsson – T5th shutouts (2); and Garrett Stafford – T8th defenseman points (16).
Miss You: As of Landon Wilson’s recall to the Dallas Stars on Nov. 21, the Griffins ranked third in the AHL with an average of 3.60 goals per game (54 goals in 15 contests). Their output has since dropped by more than 0.75 goals per game, having scored just 31 goals in the last 11 outings for a 2.82 average. Overall, Grand Rapids now ranks seventh in the league at 3.27 goals per game.
Hard to Kill: The Griffins’ seven regulation losses are tied for the fewest in the AHL, but their six losses past regulation time (3 OTL, 3 SOL) tie for the most in the league.
Here’s the Situation: Oddly, nine of the Griffins’ 13 losses have come during games in which they scored first (8-5-2-2), while they have suffered just four defeats when allowing the first lamp-lighter (5-2-1-1)…Grand Rapids is 9-0-1-1 when leading after two periods and a robust 3-4-1-0 when trailing entering the third period.
Milestones: Tom Galvin appeared in his 300th pro game on Saturday…Garrett Stafford needs six more games for 400 as a pro…Ryan Oulahen currently stands in seventh on the Griffins’ all-time games played list with 255 games played, just nine behind sixth-place Derek King (264).
Wed., Dec. 17 vs. Syracuse Crunch (14-12-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Fri., Dec. 19 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (16-7-0-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
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