This Week’s Games
GRIFFINS at San Antonio Rampage // Fri., Feb. 28 // 8 p.m. EST // AT&T Center
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:35 p.m.
Watch: AHLTV, Fox Sports Southwest
Season Series: 1-1-0-0 Road, 2-3-0-0 Overall. Sixth of eight meetings overall, third of four at the AT&T Center
All-Time Series: 25-17-0-2-1 Road, 52-31-1-5-2 Overall
NHL Affiliation: St. Louis Blues
Noteworthy: San Antonio has claimed the last three matchups, all by one goal, after the Griffins enjoyed a six-game winning streak in the series from Feb. 15, 2019-Jan. 3, 2020.
GRIFFINS at Texas Stars // Sat., Feb. 29 // 8 p.m. EST // H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
Listen: WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 7:35 p.m.
Season Series: 0-2-0-1 Road, 2-2-1-1 Overall. Seventh of eight meetings overall, fourth of four at the H-E-B Center at Cedar Park
All-Time Series: 14-11-2-1 Road, 32-17-3-4 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Dallas Stars
Noteworthy: Grand Rapids has points in nine of the last 12 meetings overall (7-3-1-1).
Last Week’s Results
Tue., Feb. 18 // GRIFFINS 2 at Rockford IceHogs 1 // 25-22-3-4 (57 pts., 3rd Central Division)
Thu., Feb. 20 // GRIFFINS 3 at Chicago Wolves 2 // 26-22-3-4 (59 pts., 3rd Central)
Sat., Feb. 22 // San Antonio Rampage 4 at GRIFFINS 3 // 26-23-3-4 (59 pts., 3rd Central)
Sun., Feb. 23 // San Antonio Rampage 2 at GRIFFINS 1 // 26-24-3-4 (59 pts., 3rd Central)
Status Update: The Grand Rapids Griffins have dropped back-to-back contests after enjoying a season-high four-game winning streak from Feb. 14-20. Grand Rapids is in third place in the Central Division, two points ahead of Chicago and four in front of Rockford. The Griffins have recorded points in 15 of their last 20 outings overall (12-5-1-2) and in 12 of their last 15 divisional battles (10-3-1-1). Grand Rapids begins a four-game road trip on Friday when the Griffins travel to San Antonio to play the Rampage for the third consecutive time.
Last Week’s Notes:
Tuesday at Rockford – Tyler Spezia netted his second career game-winning goal with 11:16 remaining...Dennis Cholowski scored his third goal of the season and extended his point streak to four games (1-4—5)...Evgeny Svechnikov had his four-game goal streak ended but picked up a point to run his point stretch to five...Pat Nagle won his fourth straight start behind 27 saves...The Griffins are 4-2-0-2 in the season series and 2-2 at the BMO Harris Bank Center...Grand Rapids finished 6-for-6 on the penalty kill and has fought off 23 consecutive penalties against Rockford. Recap | Highlights
Thursday at Chicago – The Griffins wrapped up their three-game trip through Illinois with a 3-0 mark and evened their road record for the season to 13-13-1-1...Grand Rapids finished 3-1 at Allstate Arena this season, their most wins since collecting four in five games during the 2016-17 series...The Griffins scored three unanswered goals over a 5:51 span in the third period...Tyler Spezia started Grand Rapids’ scoring at 2:53 and has goals in back-to-back games...Kyle Wood netted his first tally as a Griffin in his 27th game...Joe Veleno banked his third game-winning goal of the season...Pat Nagle made his fourth consecutive start to equal his AHL career high set earlier this season...Behind 28 saves, Nagle won his fifth start in a row. Recap | Highlights
Saturday vs. San Antonio – The Rampage scored twice in a 61-second span in the third period to pick up their first win at Van Andel Arena since Oct. 17, 2015...Chase Pearson registered his fifth two-point outing of the season behind a goal and an assist...Givani Smith opened the game’s scoring with 1:32 left in the opening period and Chris Terry logged his 10th power play goal at 14:05 of the second...Pat Nagle stopped a season-high 37 shots but had his five-game winning streak snapped...The Griffins’ run of five straight games without allowing a power play goal ended as San Antonio finished 2-for-5. Recap | Highlights
Sunday vs. San Antonio – San Antonio has won three straight meetings against the Griffins for the first time since claiming four in a row from Oct. 16, 2015-March 22, 2016…Grand Rapids is 2-3 in the season series and four of the five matchups have been decided by one goal…Calvin Pickard stopped 23 shots while making his first appearance since Feb. 11…Michael Rasmussen tallied his sixth goal of the season and third on the power play. Recap | Highlights
Follow the Leaders:
Country Roads: The Griffins will play their next four games on foreign ice to conclude a stretch of facing seven of nine on the road. Grand Rapids has won three straight away contests and four of the last five.
Kuffner Traded: The Red Wings on Monday acquired center Sam Gagner, a second-round pick in the 2020 NHL Entry Draft and a second-round pick in the 2021 NHL Entry Draft from the Edmonton Oilers in exchange for center Andreas Athanasiou and left wing Ryan Kuffner. In his first full pro season, Kuffner totaled nine points (6-3—9) in 32 games for Grand Rapids.
D’Astous Recalled: The Griffins on Monday recalled defenseman Charle-Édouard D’Astous from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. In his rookie campaign, D’Astous, 21, leads Toledo’s defensemen with 22 points and 19 assists in 46 games while also showing a plus-nine rating and 50 PIM. He was signed to a two-year contract by Grand Rapids on April 29, 2019.
Movin’ On Up: The Griffins have points in 15 of their last 20 games, helping them climb from last in the division on Jan. 6 into their current position of third. Grand Rapids holds a +9 goal differential during the stretch and is led in scoring by Chris Terry (6-8—14), Taro Hirose (0-14—14), Chase Pearson (4-7—11) and Michael Rasmussen (4-7—11). Pat Nagle (7-2, 2.00 GAA, 0.930%) and Calvin Pickard (5-3-1, 2.59 GA, 0.911%, 1 SO) have shared crease duties.
Red Wings Report: There have been 13 players who have played for both Detroit and Grand Rapids this season – Madison Bowey, Dennis Cholowski, Jonathan Ericsson, Jimmy Howard (conditioning), Joe Hicketts, Taro Hirose, Brian Lashoff, Gustav Lindstrom, Dylan McIlrath, Calvin Pickard, Givani Smith, Evgeny Svechnikov and Filip Zadina.
Net Nagle: In seven February games, Pat Nagle shows a 5-1 record to go along with a 1.86 GAA and a 0.936 save mark. Among goalies with 300 or more minutes in the month, Nagle ranks fourth in GAA. He appeared in seven straight games from Feb. 9-22 and started five consecutive from Feb. 14-22, both of which marked AHL career highs. Despite a season-high 37 saves last Saturday, the former Ferris State Bulldog’s career-high five-game winning streak was snapped. After qualifying to rank among the Griffins’ all-time goaltending leaders by virtue of playing his 20th career game on Saturday, Nagle currently stands fifth in franchise charts with a 2.19 GAA and is tied for third with a 0.921 save percentage. (Twenty-five goalies have reached that 20-game plateau in team history.) He has appeared in 17 games for Grand Rapids this season after totaling only eight games in the AHL – including three with the Griffins – during his first eight pro seasons. If Nagle had enough minutes to qualify (about 120 shy), his 2.13 overall season GAA would be fourth in the AHL.
Russian Influence: Evgeny Svechnikov’s team-high eight points (5-3—8) in nine February appearances beats his outputs from December (2-2—4 in 11 GP) and January (1-2—3 in 10 GP) combined.
Lashoff 500: One of only three players in franchise history to be a part of Grand Rapids’ 2017 and 2013 Calder Cup championship teams, defenseman Brian Lashoff needs six more games to become only the second player in franchise history with 500 or more regular season games played (Travis Richards, 655). In fact, Lashoff’s 494 career regular season appearances rank first among active AHL players who have spent their entire AHL career with the same club and places 10th all time in league history.
|981||Bill Needham||Cleveland Barons||1956-71|
|753||Arnie Kullman||Hershey Bears||1948-60|
|608||Howie Yanosik||Hershey Bears||1957-67|
|570||Paul Larivee||Providence Reds||1952-62|
|534||Pete Backor||Pittsburgh Hornets||1945-54|
|531||Roger DeJordy||Hershey Bears||1962-70|
|Pete Kapusta||Providence Reds||1946-55|
|513||Stan Smrke||Rochester Americans||1957-67|
|496||Bob Leduc||Providence Reds||1964-72|
|494||Brian Lashoff||Grand Rapids Griffins||2008-present|
Of Note: Joe Hicketts has assists in six of the last nine games and leads all team defensemen with 26 points…Chase Pearson has three multi-point games in the last six...Matt Ford shows five points (2-3—5) in the last five games...Dominic Turgeon as the lone Griffin to play in all 57 games this season.
Model Year: Captain Matthew Ford ties for third on the team in scoring. In his 12th year as a pro, Ford has banked 10 or more tallies in seven consecutive campaigns and his three multi-goal outings are his most since producing three during 2015-16 with Bakersfield.
Tar-Oh!: Rookie Taro Hirose’s 24 points and 20 assists are both team highs since Dec. 3 – the date of his first assignment by Detroit to GR. The former Michigan State Spartan has an assist in 10 of his last 12 outings, picking up 13 in that span.
Back Up, Terr: 2020 AHL All-Star Classic selection Chris Terry netted his 19th goal of the year last Saturday and is bidding for his fourth consecutive AHL season of 20 or more. His goal on Saturday was also his 10th on the power play, marking the third time in the last four campaigns he’s reached double figures. Overall, he ties for seventh in the AHL in points (48) while pacing the Griffins in goals (19), assists (29), multi-point games (14) and power play goals (10).
Hicks Mix: Defenseman Joe Hicketts needs one more point to become the 43rd player to record 100 or more points in a Griffins uniform. With 99 points (15-84—99) in 252 games, he can also become only the sixth blueliner in team history to reach the century mark and the third-fastest.
|Defenseman||Games Needed to Reach 100 Pts|
Give Me a Break: Since joining the AHL in the 2001-02 season, the Griffins post a 307-220-7-21-27 (0.575) combined record in games played after the all-star break. Grand Rapids has tallied a 0.500 mark or better in each of the last nine seasons after the hiatus, including going a combined 137-74-11-12 (0.635) since 2012-13 – the year its current postseason streak began. The Griffins are 6-4-1-0 after the break so far this season.
Rotating Roster: The Red Wings have recalled or assigned a player from or to Grand Rapids 84 times this season and the Griffins have used 38 different players, including five goalies.
February Finish: The Griffins have points in 24 of their last 31 games in the month of February (20-7-2-2, 0.710). That stretch includes points in 15 of 19 appearances at Van Andel Arena (12-3-2-1) and in nine of 12 contests on foreign ice (8-3-0-1).
Leap of Faith: The Griffins have played on Leap Day twice previously, winning 4-2 at Peoria in 2008 and falling 5-3 at home vs. Philadelphia in 2004.
Milestones Within Reach:
Joe Hicketts – needs one point to reach 100 as a Griffin
Turner Elson – needs four points to reach 150 in the AHL
Brian Lashoff – needs six games to reach 500 as a Griffin/in the AHL
Chris Terry – needs one point to reach 550 in the AHL
Givani Smith – needs two games to reach 100 as a Griffin
Griffins in General: Grand Rapids is in the franchise’s 24th overall season of play, 19th as a member of the American Hockey League and 18th as the primary affiliate of the 11-time Stanley Cup champion Detroit Red Wings…Grand Rapids is 991-680-27-61-116 (0.583) in the regular season since 1996-97 to go along with 17 playoff appearances, seven division titles and two Calder Cups (2017, 2013)…The Griffins have earned 40 or more wins and accumulated 90 or more points in six of the last seven seasons…Grand Rapids has qualified for the Calder Cup Playoffs in a franchise-record seven consecutive seasons and advanced to at least the second round on five occasions…The Griffins’ 8-5 season-opening win at Chicago on Oct. 5 marked the club’s 750th win in the AHL…Grand Rapids’ 331 regular season wins since the 2012-13 campaign tie Wilkes-Barre/Scranton for second, behind only Toronto’s 343 while the Griffins’ 720 points in that span are third, trailing Providence (728) and Toronto (744).
Déjà Vu: After playing San Antonio three times in their first 55 games, last Saturday marked the first of three consecutive and four of their next five the Griffins will play against the Rampage. The last time Grand Rapids played the same opponent three straight times was Feb. 1-4, 2018 when the Griffins visited Cleveland for three games in four days and took home five out of a possible six points.
San Antonio Notes: Current record 21-21-7-5, 54 points, 6th Central Division…San Antonio has claimed the last three matchups, all by one goal, after the Griffins enjoyed a six-game winning streak in the series from Feb. 15, 2019-Jan. 3, 2020…Grand Rapids has won 16 of the last 21 and outscored the Rampage 79-48…Three games is San Antonio’s longest winning streak against Grand Rapids since reeling off four straight from Oct. 16, 2015-March 22, 2016…The Griffins have won seven of their last 10 at the AT&T Center, including three of the last four…Grand Rapids has scored on the power play in the last three meetings and gone 4-for-20 (20%) in the series…Chase Pearson (2-3—5 in 5 GP) and Chris Terry (1-4—5 in 5 GP) lead the team in the series… Calvin Pickard, who earned his 100th AHL win on Nov. 20 vs. San Antonio, appeared in 21 games with the Rampage during the 2015-16 season and posted a 9-8-4 record to go along with a 2.75 GAA, a 0.917 save percentage and one shutout…Turner Elson spent the 2016-17 with San Antonio and scored three points (1-2—3) while being limited by injury to 13 games…Zach Nastasiuk was a second-round draft selection, 48th overall, by Detroit in the 2013 NHL Entry Draft and skated in 65 games with the Griffins from 2013-18, tallying 14 points (4-10—14) and four PIM.
Texas Notes: Current record 23-25-2-3, 51 points, 7th Central Division…In the last meeting on Feb. 9 at Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids scored the game’s final five goals and matched its largest margin of victory this season with a 5-1 triumph…During two matchups in West Michigan on Feb. 8-9, the Griffins finished 4-for-10 (40%) on the power play…The home team has points in all six clashes this season…Grand Rapids has points in nine of the last 12 meetings overall (7-3-1-1)…The Griffins have been shut out in their last 134:37 at the H-E-B Center, last scoring at the 10:23 mark of the third period in a 4-3 shootout loss on Oct. 18…Evgeny Svechnikov (3-3—6 in 4 GP), Matt Puempel (2-4—6 in 6 GP) and Joe Hicketts (0-6—6 in 6 GP) lead the team in the series…The Griffins and Stars are facing off for the 11th consecutive season and Grand Rapids has finished with a 0.500 record or better in season series nine times, including eight consecutive years.
Win Some, Lose Some: Compare the statistics between the Griffins’ 26 wins and 31 (including OT and SO) losses:
Back-to-Back: This weekend will mark the 19th of 25 times total this season the Griffins will play on consecutive nights.
|W||L (incl. OT, SO)||GF||GA||PP%||PK%||SF||SA|
Photo at top by Sam Iannamico/Griffins