12/26/2007 1:57 PM
This Week’s Games
Wed., Dec. 26 - GRIFFINS at Lake Erie Monsters - 7 p.m. - WOOD 1300 AM/B2 Networks
Thu., Dec. 27 - GRIFFINS at Toronto Marlies - 7:30 p.m. - WOOD/B2
Sat., Dec. 29 - Milwaukee Admirals at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD/B2
Mon., Dec. 31 - Hamilton Bulldogs at GRIFFINS - 7 p.m. - WOOD/B2
Last Week’s Results
Tue., Dec. 18 - GRIFFINS 3 at Milwaukee Admirals 4 - 12-15-1-2, 27 pts. (4th, North Division)
Fri., Dec. 21 - Rockford IceHogs 1 at GRIFFINS 2 SO - 13-15-1-2, 29 pts. (4th)
Sat., Dec. 22 - Chicago Wolves 4 at GRIFFINS 3 OT - 13-15-2-2, 30 pts. (4th)
Hot for the Holidays: The Griffins will bring 2007 to a close by playing four games in six nights, starting tonight in Cleveland and concluding at home on New Year’s Eve against Hamilton. Grand Rapids, which captured three of a possible four points during home games against West Division powers Rockford and Chicago last weekend, has posted a 6-2-1-1 record at Van Andel Arena since losing its first seven home games in regulation.
A New Year’s Tradition: The Griffins will ring in the New Year with a bang next Monday by hosting Hamilton in their 11th annual New Year’s Eve Bash, featuring West Michigan’s largest indoor fireworks show after the game. Early arrivers will receive noisemakers and party favors at the door, and fans will enjoy live music from The Niche, who will perform in the north tunnel during pre-game and intermissions. The Griffins will introduce a new member of their family during the game, and fans can bring their skates and take to the ice afterwards for the O’Charley’s Post-Game O’pen Skate. Church groups of 10 or more people will receive a free $5 concession voucher with each advance ticket purchased. Call (800) 2-HOCKEY to order.
Close Calls: Each of the Griffins’ last seven games (3-3-1-0) and 10 of their last 11 contests (6-3-2-0) have been decided by a single goal.
Working Overtime: Four of the Griffins’ last five home games have extended past regulation time, with Grand Rapids showing three shootout wins and an overtime loss…Grand Rapids has won its last three shootouts after starting the season 0-2 in the skills competition…Evan McGrath is a perfect 3-for-3 in shootout attempts this season, improving his career mark to 8-for-12.
Rekindle the Magic: The Griffins tonight face only their second road contest in their last 10 games, as their lone game in enemy territory since a 1-0 win at Milwaukee on Dec. 2 was a 4-3 loss at the Bradley Center on Dec. 18. Since their impressive 5-0 road start, the Griffins are just 2-6-1-1 away from Van Andel Arena.
Motown Shuttle: After scoring the decisive shootout tally in last Friday’s 2-1 win over Rockford, Mark Hartigan was recalled by the Detroit Red Wings on Saturday, logging 4:30 of ice time in their 4-1 win over the Minnesota Wild that night. Hartigan, who was reassigned to Grand Rapids on Sunday before being summoned once again by the Red Wings this morning, has appeared in four games with Detroit, showing one goal and two shots while averaging 4:46 of ice time.
The Season of Joy: After posting a 2-9-0-2 mark during November – the fewest wins they’ve ever earned during a complete month of play (Nov.-March) – the Griffins have suffered just three regulation losses in their 11 December games (6-3-2-0), with each defeat coming by a single goal.
No Soup for You!: Following a career-high six-game winless streak from Nov. 9-21 (0-5-1, 4.28 GAA, 0.863%), Jimmy Howard is 8-5 with two shutouts, a 1.96 GAA and a 0.930 save percentage (343-369) in his last 13 games. During that time, he has dropped his overall GAA by more than a point, going from 3.76 to 2.73. Moreover, during December, he owns a 6-3 mark with two shutouts, a 1.83 GAA and a 0.934% (239-256).
Who’s Hot: Brett Engelhardt has scored a goal in four of his last five games (4-2—6) to climb into a tie for third on the Griffins with seven goals on the season…Garrett Stafford has contributed assists in three of the last five games (0-4—4)…Until being held scoreless for a third straight game last Friday versus Rockford, Carl Corazzini had not experienced a scoring drought of more than two games this season.
By the Numbers: Since earning only one point in a nine-game stretch (0-8-0-1) from Oct. 28 to Nov. 21, the Griffins have captured points in 11 of their last 16 games (8-5-2-1) and are 6-3-1-0 in their last 10 outings…The Griffins’ scoring differentials this season are plus-one in the first period (28-27), minus-eight in the second (26-34) and minus-six in the third (26-32)…Only four of Grand Rapids’ losses this season – and just two of their last 16 – have been by more than two goals.
Strange But True: Grand Rapids is 8-12-0-1 when outshooting its opponents and 5-3-2-1 when being out-shot…The Griffins are 5-3-1-0 when recording 29 or fewer shots, but they own an 8-12-1-2 record in games with 30 or more attempts…Grand Rapids is one game over 0.500 on the road (7-6-1-1) and three games under the break-even mark at home (6-9-1-1).
Power Outage: After notching a power play goal in 12 of 14 games (8-for-41, 19.5%), including a season-high six straight contests from Dec. 5-15, the Griffins went 0-for-15 with the advantage during their three games last week.
Rock the Vote: Through Jan. 6, fans can visit theahl.com to help decide which players will earn a trip to the 2008 AHL All-Star Classic, to be held in Binghamton, N.Y., on Jan. 27-28. The 2008 AHL All-Star Classic Fan Balloting presented by Reebok will determine the starting lineups for both the Canadian and PlanetUSA AHL All-Star teams, and a committee of AHL coaches will help complete the rosters.
Red Wings Jersey Auction: Twenty-three autographed, game-issued Detroit Red Wings jerseys are being made available for public bidding throughout the 2007-08 season through exclusive auctions that begin at griffinshockey.com and conclude after select Griffins home games. Online bidding, which begins at $250 per jersey, will establish the starting bids for silent auctions that will take place on the arena concourse during Griffins games. Subsequently, the highest bids from the silent auctions will serve as the starting bids for live post-game auctions. The Tomas Kopecky, Kirk Maltby and Derek Meech jerseys are now online, with the silent and live auctions set for Jan. 18. Proceeds from the auctions will benefit the Griffins Youth Foundation. For more information and a complete auction schedule, visit http://www.griffinshockey.com/fanzone/auctions.
Wed., Dec. 26 at Lake Erie Monsters (8-15-1-5) – Quicken Loans Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time/Season Series: 2-0-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road. Third of 10 meetings overall, second of five in Cleveland. NHL Affiliation: Colorado Avalanche. Head Coach: Joe Sacco (1st season). Notes: The Monsters own the AHL’s worst home record at 4-10-1-3, which includes a 3-2 loss to Grand Rapids in their Oct. 6 franchise debut…Lake Erie is on a 0-3-1-2 slide on home ice…Both Griffins wins in the series have been by 3-2 margins…Matt Hussey, who ranked third on Grand Rapids in scoring last season with 44 points (15-29—44), stands sixth on the Monsters with 12 points (6-6—12) in 28 games…Lake Erie averages 2.38 goals per game (28th in the AHL) while allowing 3.45 (26th).
Thu., Dec. 27 at Toronto Marlies (19-5-0-4) – Ricoh Coliseum – 7:30 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 7:10 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series: 8-8-0-0 Overall, 4-4-0-0 Road. Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Overall, 1-0-0-0 Road. Third of eight meetings overall, second of four in Toronto. NHL Affiliation: Toronto Maple Leafs. Head Coach: Greg Gilbert (2nd season). Notes: The Griffins handed the Marlies a 6-1 defeat at Ricoh Coliseum on Nov. 28, Toronto's only loss by more than three goals all season. Since that game, the Marlies are 6-1-0-2…Toronto ranks fourth in the AHL in goals scored with 3.46 per game…Darryl Boyce’s 22 points (6-16—22) tie for fifth among rookies while Derrick Walser’s 23 points (9-14—23) tie for fourth among defensemen.
Sat., Dec. 29 vs. Milwaukee Admirals (17-10-1-1) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:40 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 44-27-7-4-3 Overall, 25-12-2-1-0 Home. Season Series: 1-2-0-0 Overall, 0-1-0-0 Home. Fourth of eight meetings overall, second of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Nashville Predators. Head Coach: Lane Lambert (1st season). Notes: Dating to last season, each of the last six meetings between the Griffins and Admirals has been decided by a single goal, with Grand Rapids holding a 2-2-2-0 mark…The Griffins’ 1-0 win at Milwaukee on Dec. 2 stands as their only regulation victory in the last 16 regular season and playoff meetings against the Admirals…The Ads are tied for second in the AHL in goals allowed, a paltry 2.48 per game…Goaltender Pekka Rinne stands 10th in the league with a 2.33 GAA.
Mon., Dec. 31 vs. Hamilton Bulldogs (9-12-1-5) – Van Andel Arena – 7 p.m.
Radio: WOOD 1300 AM at 6:59 p.m. Web Casts: Video ($6 – B2 Networks) and audio (free) available through griffinshockey.com. All-Time Series (W-L-T-OTL-SOL): 18-15-1-0-2 Overall, 10-6-1-0-2 Home. Season Series: 3-1-0-0 Overall, 2-1-0-0 Home. Fifth of eight meetings overall, fourth of four in Grand Rapids. NHL Affiliation: Montreal Canadiens. Head Coach: Don Lever (3rd season). Notes: The defending Calder Cup champions stand in fifth place in the North Division, six points behind Grand Rapids…The Griffins swept a pair from the Bulldogs via shootouts on Dec. 12 and 14 at Van Andel Arena…Hamilton’s Sergei Kostitsyn is tied for fifth in AHL rookie scoring with 22 points (6-16—22)…The Dogs rank seventh in the AHL in penalty killing at 85.4%, but on Dec. 14, the Griffins tied their season high with three power play goals against Hamilton’s then-top-ranked penalty killers.