02/08/2011 11:47 AM
This Week’s Games
Last Week’s Results
Where We Stand: With 50 points, Grand Rapids stands sixth in the North Division race but just eight points behind third-place Lake Erie and a guaranteed berth in the Calder Cup playoffs. The Griffins have four games in hand on the Monsters, and they’ll have a chance to make up ground head-to-head this Saturday when they visit Quicken Loans Arena. Bookending the trip to Cleveland and rounding out this week’s three-game road swing will be a pair of games against seventh-place teams, the Chicago Wolves (Wednesday) and Rochester Americans (Sunday).
Oddly Consistent: The Griffins’ record (currently 22-23-1-5) has been 0.500 or just one game to either side of breakeven for a remarkable 34 straight games, dating to Nov. 20 when they held an 8-7-0-3 mark. Following consecutive regulation losses, they’ll have to earn at least one point on Wednesday in Chicago to continue that peculiar run.
Come One, Come All: Saturday’s crowd of 10,423 was the fourth-largest of the season at Van Andel Arena, just 411 shy of a sellout. The Griffins are now averaging 6,623 fans per game, good for fifth out of 30 teams in the AHL.
The Shirts Off Our Backs: The AHL 75th anniversary jerseys worn by the Griffins on Saturday were auctioned to the public after the game, garnering $12,300 in bids to benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation. Adam Keefe’s jersey received a high bid of $800.
The Waiting is the Hardest Part: The Griffins are looking forward to the return to their lineup of as many as four players this week. Jan Mursak will be officially reassigned by the Red Wings as soon as his left big toe heals from a direct hit it sustained on a blast from Nashville’s Shea Weber on Saturday, while all-star defenseman Brendan Smith (seven games) and cohort Greg Amadio (one game) may return from injuries as well. In addition, Derek Meech will rejoin the Griffins on Friday from a personal/family leave.
UnPearceable: Jordan Pearce owns a 4-2-1 record in his last seven appearances and has allowed more than two goals just twice in his last nine starts (5-3-1 since Jan. 13). The rookie leads the Griffins with a 0.909 save percentage.
Leader of the Pack: Curt Fraser’s all-time record as the Griffins’ head coach stands at 99-87-10-15 (0.528), putting him on the verge of joining Cole (116 victories) and Greg Ireland (109) as the only Grand Rapids coaches to reach the century mark in wins. With 211 games coached, Fraser is already the franchise’s all-time leader in that category.
Power Surge: After scoring on the power play in just one of eight games from Dec. 31-Jan. 16 (2-for-17, 11.8%), the Griffins have scored with the advantage in six of their last eight contests (9-for-38, 23.7%). For the season, Grand Rapids now ranks 12th in the league on the play power at 19.0%.
It’s Been Such a Long Time: Since posting a nine-game winning streak in the early part of last season (Oct. 23-Nov. 13, 2009), the Griffins have won as many as three consecutive games just once, going 3-0 from Dec. 5-11, 2009. They have now gone 106 straight games without a three-game winning streak.
Nice to See You Again: When Thomas McCollum entered Saturday’s game in the third period in relief of Jordan Pearce, it marked his first appearance between the Griffins’ pipes since Dec. 17.
Who’s Hot?: Doug Janik’s five-game point and assist streaks (1-5—6) tie his career highs set from Feb. 27-March 6, 2010…Tomas Tatar (2-2—4) and Brent Raedeke (1-2—3) both have points in three of their last four appearances…Adam Keefe has points in consecutive games (1-1—2) for the first time in 62 career games as a Griffin…Ilari Filppula has points in four of the last eight games (3-5—8).
Upcoming Milestones: Jamie Tardif (287 Griffins games) is approaching fourth-place Darryl Bootland (293) on the franchise’s all-time games played list, and his 66 career goals put him three behind fifth-place Matt Ellis (69). Tardif has also played 290 AHL contests…Derek Meech (277 GP) sits three games behind seventh-place Dave Van Drunen (280) on Grand Rapids’ career list…Other Griffins nearing personal benchmarks include Cory Emmerton (189 GR/AHL games played, 191 pro games played, 97 GR/AHL points, 98 pro points), Francis Pare (191 GR/AHL/pro games played), Doug Janik (496 AHL games played), Jamie Johnson (296 pro assists), Chris Minard (96 AHL assists, 198 pro assists) and Jordan Owens (93 AHL points).
Wed., Feb. 9 at Chicago Wolves (26-22-2-4) – Allstate Arena – 8 p.m.
Sat., Feb. 12 at Lake Erie Monsters (25-22-3-5) – Quicken Loans Arena – 7:30 p.m.
Sun., Feb. 13 at Rochester Americans (21-24-3-2) – Blue Cross Arena – 3:05 p.m.
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