Grand Rapids Griffins (32-33-6-2) at Chicago Wolves (47-16-5-5)
Game Time: 4 p.m. at Allstate Arena
Griffins Game #74 * Road Game #36 * AHL Game #1,110
Season Series: 1-8-1-0 Home Series: 0-5-1-0 Road Series: 1-3-0-0
All-Time Series: 91-79-2-7-3 All-Time Home Series: 44-37-2-5-2 All-Time Road Series: 47-42-0-3-1
Griffins at Wolves
Eleventh of 12 meetings overall, fifth of six at Allstate Arena…Grand Rapids has faced Chicago 182 times in the regular season dating back to their IHL days, the second-most of any Griffins opponent (Milwaukee, 204)…The Griffins possess a 20-30-1-1 (0.404) record against Chicago over the last five years...Since the 2017-18 season, the Griffins are 7-13-0-1 (0.357) against the Wolves on foreign ice and have been outscored 75-54...The last time Grand Rapids was above 0.500 at Chicago was in the 2019-20 season when it went 3-1-0-0...On March 13, Grand Rapids snapped its nine-game winless streak against Chicago (0-8-1-0), dating back to the 2020-21 campaign...Grand Rapids’ penalty kill comes in at 75.7% (29th) while Chicago ranks seventh at 82.7%. In addition, the power play for Chicago places 20th (18.8%) while the Griffins are 28th (16.6%)...The Wolves come into the contest with a 7-3-0-0 record in their past 10 games and a 23-6-3-3 home ledger...The Griffins are 5-5-0-0 in their last 10 outings and possess a 15-17-2-1 mark on the road...Chicago’s Andrew Poturalski has been Grand Rapids’ nemesis this season, as the forward has 21 points (8-13—21) in 10 games...As part of his 11-year pro career, Griffins coach Ben Simon registered 87 points (37-50—87) in 196 games with the Wolves from 2001-03 and 2004-05 and was a part of their first Calder Cup title in 2002...This is the final home game of the regular season for Grand Rapids.
Last Time Out
The Griffins put in a valiant effort against the Central-Division champions despite a severely depleted roster, as they fell to the Chicago Wolves 4-2 on Friday at Van Andel Arena. Head coach Ben Simon and defenseman Jared McIsaac were not at the arena due to COVID-19 protocols, Chase Pearson and Seth Barton left the game early, leaving Grand Rapids short two skaters for much of the night, and several other players battled through a flu bug. After tallying a two-point outing, Riley Barber has now recorded points in 14 straight games (12-7—19), which is the longest streak in the AHL this season. Jonatan Berggren’s outstanding rookie season continued in the outing, as he pushed his point streak to eight games (5-7—12). With 58 points (20-38—58), Berggren has now tied Gustav Nyquist (2011-12) for second on the Griffins rookie-scoring list. The Swede’s 20 goals also tie him with Evgeny Svechnikov (2016-17) and Glen Metropolit (1997-98) for the eighth-most by a Griffins rookie. Kaden Fulcher made his third appearance for the Griffins and made a season-high 30 saves. Local goaltender David DeSander was signed by the Griffins as an emergency backup netminder just prior to the game, as Victor Brattstrom was unable to play. Grand Rapids finished its home portion of the regular season with a 17-16-4-1 ledger in West Michigan.
Roster Shake Up
- April 18, 2022—F Chase Pearson recalled by Detroit; F Brett McKenzie released from PTO
- April 19, 2022—F Brett McKenzie signed to a PTO; F Riley Barber reassigned by Detroit
- April 22, 2022—F Chase Pearson reassigned by Detroit; G David DeSander signed to a PTO
- April 23, 2022—F Riley Barber and F Taro Hirose recalled by Detroit; F Riley Barber reassigned by Detroit; G David DeSander released from PTO
This Date in Griffins History
2009: Behind two goals by Darren Haydar – who appeared in his 100th career Calder Cup Playoff game – and a record-setting defensive performance, the Griffins seized a 3-2 lead in the North Division Semifinals with a 4-1 win over Hamilton. Grand Rapids set a franchise playoff record by allowing just 15 shots on Jimmy Howard, who set another team mark with his 11th career playoff win.
All Good Things Must End
The Griffins currently sit in seventh place in the Central Division standings with a 32-33-6-2 (0.493) mark and only three games remaining. The top five teams from the division will qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs, with the top three receiving a first-round bye. The Griffins were eliminated from playoff contention when Texas defeated Iowa on April 23. Grand Rapids has appeared in the last seven Calder Cup Playoffs, dating back to the 2012-13 season when it lifted the cup for the first time. Excluding the NHL lockout season of 2004-05, and the 2019-21 COVID seasons, this is the first time since Grand Rapids’ inception that neither the Griffins nor the Red Wings have qualified for the playoffs. Today’s contest will be the first game the Griffins will play after having been eliminated from playoff contention since April 15, 2012.
|Place||Team||Points||PCT||Games Left||Home||Road||Opponents' Winning %||GR Magic # Over||Magic # Over GR|
|1||y - CHI||104||0.712||3||2||1||0.516||--||--|
|2||x - MB||83||0.610||4||3||1||0.587||--||--|
|3||x - MIL||85||0.574||2||2||0||0.588||--||--|
|4||x - RFD||77||0.566||4||2||2||0.577||--||--|
|7||e - GR||72||0.493|
y - Clinched division
x - Clinched playoff berth
e - Eliminated from playoff contention
Currently in playoff position
Race to the Top
Jonatan Berggren on April 9 became just the sixth rookie in Griffins history to record 50 points, as he is tied for second on the Griffins’ rookie single-season scoring list with 58 points (20-38—58) in 67 games. Berggren has 20 points (6-14—20) in his last 15 games, including an active season-high eight-game point streak (5-8—13). The Uppsala, Sweden, native paces the Griffins and ranks fourth among rookies with his 58 points, while his 38 assists are tied for third. Berggren is second among rookies with seven game-winning goals. Berggren is on pace for 60 points, which would be enough to claim the Griffins’ rookie single-season scoring title. His 38 assists are the most by a rookie in a Griffins uniform while his 20 goals are tied for eighth among Griffin rookies.
|Teemu Pulkkinen (2013-14)||71||31||28||59|
|Jonatan Berggren (2021-22)||67||20||38||58|
|Gustav Nyquist (2011-12)||56||22||36||58|
|Glen Metropolit (1997-98)||79||20||35||55|
|Justin Abdelkader (2008-09)||76||24||28||52|
Welcome to the Barber Shop
Riley Barber has been on a tear as of late, with points in a career-high 14 straight games (12-7—19), including his third-ever hat trick on April 9 at Toronto. There have been only two longer point streaks in franchise history (Derek King 17; Donald MacLean 19). Barber’s 14-game streak is the longest in the AHL this season. His streak is also the longest by a Griffin in more than 16 years, since Donald MacLean’s franchise-record 19-game run in 2005-06. Since being reassigned by Detroit on March 2, Barber has notched 27 points (14-13—27) in 23 games, including seven multi-point outings. The Pittsburgh, native ranks third on the roster with 46 points (22-24—46) in 46 outings. Through 78 contests with the Griffins, the 28-year-old veteran has 80 points (42-38—80) and 46 penalty minutes.
Netminder Victor Brattstrom appeared in 14 consecutive games from March 22-April 20. His 14-straight appearances are tied for second all time among Griffins rookie goaltenders with Jimmy Howard (2005-06) and trailed only Jordan Pearce (2010-11, 26 GP). Brattstrom has a 3-1 record in his last four starts with a 2.50 goals against average and a 0.902 save percentage. Through 30 games this season, the Goteborg, Sweden, native shows a 10-15-3 mark with a 0.894 save percentage and a 3.30 goals against average. Brattstrom’s 30 games played are the fifth-most ever for a Griffins rookie goaltender and the most since Petr Mrazek made 42 appearances in 2012-13.
The Roaring 20s
Turner Elson reached the 20-goal mark for the first time in his career on April 9. The ninth-year pro has had a career-high season on the offensive end, with a career-best 21 goals, 23 assists and 44 points so far. Elson and Riley Barber (22) are the first Griffins teammates with 20-plus goals each since Chris Terry (29) and Matt Puempel (24) in 2018-19. The alternate captain has turned it on as of late with 17 points (8-9—17) in his last 23 games. In comparison, Elson had just nine points (3-6—9) in the 23 contests before this run.
The Griffins have struggled out of the gate recently, allowing the first goal in 12 of their past 13 contests. The Griffins snapped an 11-game run on April 20 at Rockford. Grand Rapids has six wins in those 13 games, showing a 6-6-1-0 mark. During this run, Grand Rapids has not won a first period and has been outscored 16-5. However, in the past 13 second periods the Griffins have a plus-three scoring margin (17-14). Narrowing it down even more, Grand Rapids has been outscored 12-4 in the last seven first frames while it has outscored its opponents 11-6 in the past seven second periods. When scoring first, the Griffins are 20-8-2-1 (0.694) this season while they are 12-25-4-1 (0.345) when conceding the opening goal.
The Griffins have won three games in their last 10 contests away from West Michigan, having been outscored 44-30. Grand Rapids has secured seven out of 14 points in its past seven outings away from home. Grand Rapids went on a season-high five-game road trip from March 19-27 and finished with a 1-3-1-0 mark. The Griffins are 15-17-2-1 (0.471) this season away from West Michigan while they are 17-16-4-1 (0.513) at home. Grand Rapids will play all three of its remaining games on foreign ice.
Brian Lashoff’s 577 games played for the Griffins ranks first among active AHL players who have spent their entire AHL career with the same club and fourth in league history among one-team players. Of the players ahead of him on that list, the most recent – and, coincidentally, the record-holder – last played during the 1970-71 season (Bill Needham of the Cleveland Barons, 981 games played). Lashoff overtook Paul Larivee (Providence Reds, 1952-62) for the No. 4 spot on April 6 against Cleveland and is now 31 games behind No. 3 Howie Yanosik (Hershey Bears, 1957-67). Lashoff is still 78 games away from breaking the Griffins’ all-time games played record, held by Travis Richards with 655 games (1995-2006).
AHL Leaderboard Tracker
Jonatan Berggren—58 points (20-38—58) place fourth among first-year players, 38 assists are tied for third among rookies, seven game-winning goals are second among rookies
Jared McIsaac—24 points are tied for eighth among rookie defensemen, 19 assists are tied for eighth among rookie defensemen
Ryan Murphy—11 goals are tied for fourth among defensemen
Dominik Shine—139 penalty minutes rank third
Ben Simon collected his 200th win as a pro head coach on April 20 with a 5-3 victory over Rockford. Turner Elson registered his 100th pro goal on April 20 at Rockford. Jan Drozg appeared in his 100th AHL game on April 19 at Iowa. Other upcoming milestones include:
Riley Barber—One assist from 150 in the AHL and as a pro
Kyle Criscuolo—One point from 100 as a Griffin
Jan Drozg—Three goals from 50 as a pro
Taro Hirose—One assist from 100 as a pro
Ryan Murphy—Three assists from 200 as a pro, two points from 250 as a pro
Chase Pearson—Three games from 150 in the AHL
Photo by Nicolas Carrillo/Griffins