The Grand Rapids Griffins’ weekly presser: 3 home games on tap

Here’s the Grand Rapids Griffins’ weekly press release:


This Week’s Games
Chicago Wolves at GRIFFINS // Wed., Feb. 21 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
Listen:ESPN 96.1 FM at 6:35 p.m.
Season Series: 1-2-0-0 Home, 2-4-0-0 Overall. Seventh of eight meetings overall, fourth of four at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 40-24-2-4-2 Home, 81-55-2-6-2 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Vegas Golden Knights
Noteworthy: The Wolves have won three straight against the Griffins.

Iowa Wild at GRIFFINS // Sat., Feb. 24 // 7 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
Iowa Wild at GRIFFINS // Sun., Feb. 25 // 4 p.m. // Van Andel Arena
WOOD 106.9 FM/1300 AM at 6:35 p.m. on Saturday, 3:35 p.m. on Sunday
Season Series: 1-0-0-0 Home, 2-2-0-0 Overall. Fifth and sixth of 10 meetings overall, second and third of five at Van Andel Arena
All-Time Series: 12-3-0-1 Home, 25-8-0-1 Overall
NHL Affiliation: Minnesota Wild
Noteworthy: Grand Rapids has points in 11 of the last 12 meetings with Iowa at Van Andel Arena (10-1-0-1).

Last Week’s Results

Thu., Feb. 15    GRIFFINS 1 at Manitoba Moose 0    27-18-1-6 (61 pts, 4th Central Division)
Sat., Feb. 17    GRIFFINS 5 at Manitoba Moose 0    28-18-1-6 (63 pts, 3rd)

Listen here to Matt Ford’s Tuesday interview on WOOD Radio’s West Michigan’s Morning News

Opening Faceoff: Fresh off a sweep of the Western Conference-leading Manitoba Moose, the Grand Rapids Griffins have points in a season-high 11 straight games (9-0-0-2) and are 18-3-0-3 in their last 24. The Griffins, who have climbed to third in the Central Division, open up a six-game homestand with games against the Chicago Wolves and Iowa Wild this week.

Follow the Leaders:
Points: Matt Puempel (19-25—44)
Goals: Eric Tangradi (21)
Assists: Ben Street (32)
PIM: Dylan McIlrath (90)
Plus-Minus: Filip Hronek (+24)
Goaltender Wins: Jared Coreau (20)
Goals Against Average: Coreau (2.47)
Save Percentage: Coreau (0.916)

Last Week’s Notes:

Thursday at Manitoba:Jared Coreau recorded 28 saves for his first shutout of the season and 12th career in the AHL…Coreau logged his first shutout since March 11, 2017 at San Jose (0-1 SOL)…Matt Lorito scored the game-winner, his second GWG in the last three games…Robbie Russo skated in his 200th pro game and captain Matthew Ford played in his 100th contest as a Griffin…Grand Rapids earned a 1-0 regulation victory for the 22nd time in team history…Grand Rapids shut out Manitoba for the first time since Oct. 15, 2010 when Joey MacDonald made 25 saves in a 1-0 win at the Moose…The Griffins outshot their fourth straight opponent…Grand Rapids became the third Western Conference team with 60 or more points.
Saturday at Manitoba:Jared Coreau tallied a season-high 38 saves and notched his second consecutive shutout…Coreau is the first Griffin with shutouts in back-to-back starts since Petr Mrazek on Feb. 27-28, 2015…Dominic Turgeon recorded his first career hat trick…Five goals is the Griffins’ largest margin of victory this season…Grand Rapids finished the season series against Manitoba with a 6-2 record, and won the last five meetings…The Griffins have won five straight at Bell MTS Place.

This Week’s Promotions: Wednesday against Chicago will be a Winning Wednesday presented by Farm Bureau Insurance. Every time the Griffins win at home on Wednesday, each fan in attendance will receive a free ticket to the next Wednesday game. All fans who were in attendance for the Griffins’ win against the Manitoba Moose on Feb. 7 can redeem their ticket stub to a free ticket to this game. Saturday against Iowa is Toy Night and the first 2,500 fans will receive a Joe Hicketts OYO Blockhead, courtesy of Chick-fil-A. Sunday against Iowa is the Jake Engel Memorial Bring Your Dog Game presented by Nestle Purina and Meijer.

Coreau Named AHL Player of the Week: The AHL announced yesterday that Griffins goaltender Jared Coreau has been selected as the CCM/AHL Player of the Week for the period ending Feb. 18, 2018. Coreau led the Griffins to consecutive road shutouts of the Western Conference-leading Manitoba Moose last week, stopping all 66 shots he faced. He became the first Griffins goaltender to record a shutout in back-to-back starts since Petr Mrazek on Feb. 27-28, 2015.

Coreau Recalled and Machovsky Reassigned: The Detroit Red Wings today recalled goaltender Jared Coreau from the Griffins and reassigned goaltender Matej Machovsky to the Griffins from the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye. Coreau is the reigning AHL Player of the Week after combining for 66 saves in back-to-back road shutouts of the Western Conference-leading Manitoba Moose last Thursday and Saturday. Since Dec. 22, the 6-foot-6 netminder sports a 13-2-3 record along with a 1.92 goals against average and a 0.933 save percentage in 18 appearances. Now in his fifth season as a professional, Coreau ranks among the AHL’s goaltending leaders this season with 20 wins (T3rd), a 2.47 GAA (14th), a 0.916 save percentage (T13th) and 2092:11 minutes (3rd) in 36 games. Machovsky, 24, is skating in his first professional season in North America and is the ECHL’s leader in GAA with a 2.02 mark while also placing third with a 0.928 save percentage. He shows an 11-9-1 record with two shutouts in 21 games with the Walleye and has won four of his last six outings.

Home Sweet Home: The Griffins have points in 10 of their last 12 home games (8-2-1-1). Grand Rapids’ six-game homestand is its longest since Jan. 8-18, 2014.

Reversal of Fortunes: The Griffins have gone from being five games under 0.500 (10-15-1-3) to 10 games over 0.500 (28-18-1-6) in a span of 24 games. Compare the numbers for the season’s first 29 games and the last 24:

First 29 Games Last 24 Games
Record 10-15-1-3 18-3-0-3
Playoff Position Five points out Five points up
Home Record 5-8-1-1 8-2-0-1
Road Record 5-7-0-2 10-1-0-2
Leading Scorer Matt Puempel (9-12–21) Eric Tangradi (14-9–23)
Leading Goaltender Jared Coreau (7-8-1, 3.06 GAA, 0.897%) Jared Coreau (13-2-3, 1.92 GAA, 0.933%)
Goals For 86 (2.97 avg.) 85 (3.54 avg.)
Goals Against 100 (3.45 avg.) 53 (2.21 avg.)
Power Play % 20.20% 20.40%
Penalty Kill % 82.90% 86.52%

Griffins in the Olympics:Eight former Griffins are a part of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics: Dick Axelsson (2009-10), Sweden; Chad Billins (2012-13, 2013 Calder Cup champion), USA; Chris Chelios (2008-09), assistant coach USA; Chris Kelly (2001-02), Canada; Alexey Marchenko (2013-16), Olympic Athletes of Russia; Jan Mursak (2006-07; 08-13, 2013 Calder Cup champion), Slovenia; Jim Paek (assistant coach 2005-14, 2013 Calder Cup champion), head coach Korea; and Brock Radunske (2006-07), Korea.

McCollum the Records Holder: Grand Rapids’ all-time leader in goaltender games played, minutes and saves, Tom McCollum surpassed Joey MacDonald for the most victories in franchise history (110) following the Griffins’ 4-2 win at Cleveland on Feb. 2. McCollum has won five of his last six starts and shows a 2.32 GAA and a 0.927 save percentage in that span.

Special Teams: Grand Rapids is one of six teams to rank in the top 10 for both power play and penalty kill. Grand Rapids’ power play places fifth at 20.3% but has gone 1-for-19 over the last four games. The penalty kill ranks eighth at 84.3% and is 6-for-6 in the last two contests.

On the Road: The Griffins have points in 12 of the last 13 road contests (10-1-0-2), including eight in a row.

Turg-ON: Second-year pro Dominic Turgeon scored his first career hat trick in last Saturday’s 5-0 win at Manitoba. He joins Matt Lorito (Oct. 27 vs. CHI) as Griffins who have logged their first three-goal game this season. Detroit’s second choice, 63rd overall, in the 2014 NHL Entry Draft, Turgeon places sixth on the Griffins in scoring with 29 points (13-16—29) and has already surpassed his rookie totals of 18 points in 71 games.

Tangoal: Ninth-year pro Eric Tangradi has scored 15 points (10-5—15) in the last 14 games. Since Jan. 1, Tangradi ties for the league lead with 12 goals, while his 19 points in that span tie for sixth. He scored his team-leading 21st goal of the season in last Saturday’s win and has reached the 20-goal plateau for the second time in his AHL career (2015-16).

Cool Ranch Loritos:Matt Lorito scored the only goal in last Thursday’s 1-0 victory and added an assist in Saturday’s 5-0 win. He has points in nine of the last 10 games, accumulating 10 points (5-5—10) in that span.

Hot Street: Including the game-winning goal last Saturday, Ben Street has 10 points (2-8—10) in the last nine games. His team-high 32 assists tie for eighth in the AHL.

Filip Hero-nek: Four of rookie defenseman Filip Hronek’s seven goals this season have been of the game-winning variety, tying for the most among AHL blueliners. He has eight points (3-5—8) in the last seven games. The 53rd overall selection by Detroit in the 2016 NHL Entry Draft, Hronek ranks among the league’s rookie defensemen leaders with 27 points (2nd), seven goals (4th), 20 assists (3rd) and a plus-24 rating (2nd).

Puemped Up:Matt Puempel has tallied 14 points (6-8—14) in the last 11 contests. Acquired by the Red Wings via trade on Oct. 21, Puempel has not gone more than three consecutive games in a Griffins uniform without recording a point. He ties Matthew Ford for second on the team with 19 goals and his 44 points are ninth in the AHL. Since the calendar turned to 2018, he ties for 10th in the league with 18 points in 16 games.

Robbie Russo – five points to reach 100 as a pro
Ben Street – four points to reach 100 as a Griffin
Turner Elson – two points to reach 100 as a pro
Eric Tangradi – two games played to reach 550 as a pro
Matt Lorito – five points to reach 100 as a Griffin

Championship Effects: Seven players from the 2017 Calder Cup championship team have played in the NHL this season: forwards Tyler Bertuzzi (Detroit), Kyle Criscuolo (Buffalo), Martin Frk (Detroit), Tomas Nosek (Vegas) and Dominic Turgeon (Detroit), and defensemen Joe Hicketts (Detroit) and Brian Lashoff (Detroit).

Chicago Notes: Chicago has points in eight of its last 10 games (7-2-1-0)…Under third-year head coach Todd Nelson, the Griffins are 16-7-1-0 against Chicago, including 8-3-1-0 at Van Andel Arena…The Wolves have won three straight against the Griffins…In the last meeting on Jan. 6 at Chicago, Kasimir Kaskisuo shut out Grand Rapids to snap the Griffins’ five-game winning streak and seven-game point streak…Kaskisuo also blanked Grand Rapids on Nov. 3 in West Michigan…Matt Lorito has a team-high seven points (4-3—7) in the season series, including banking his first pro hat trick in the year’s first matchup on Oct. 27…Nelson won his 100th game as a Griffin on Dec. 2 at Chicago…Grand Rapids’ power play is 6-for-24 (25.0%).

Chicago Connections: Wolves first-year head coach Rocky Thompson served on Todd Nelson’s staff as an assistant with the AHL’s Oklahoma City Barons from 2010-14…In those four seasons, the Barons posted a 161-105-10-32 (0.591) record and advanced to the postseason every year, including a trip to the 2013 Western Conference Finals…Former Griffin Teemu Pulkkinen ranks second on the Wolves with 36 points (13-23—36) in 50 games…A 2013 Calder Cup champion with Grand Rapids, Pulkkinen skated in 119 games with the Griffins from 2012-15 and scored 121 points (65-56—121), while being named a First Team AHL All-Star selection in 2014-15…Nelson served as an assistant coach for the Wolves for two seasons (2006-08) and won the 2008 Calder Cup in his final season with Chicago…Assistant coach Ben Simon appeared in 196 games with the Wolves from 2001-03 and 2004-05 and was a part of Chicago’s first Calder Cup title in 2002…Third-year defenseman Robbie Russo is from Chicagoland’s Westmont.

Iowa Notes: Grand Rapids has points in 11 of the last 12 meetings with Iowa at Van Andel Arena (10-1-0-1)…Both of Grand Rapids’ wins against Iowa this season have come in shootouts…The Griffins are 17-3-1-1 all time at Van Andel Arena against AHL teams from Iowa (1-0-0-0 vs. Iowa Chops, 4-0-1-1 vs. Iowa Stars, 12-3-0-1 vs. Iowa Wild)…In the last meeting on Dec. 22 at Iowa, Matthew Ford scored the game-tying goal with 1:47 left in regulation…Grand Rapids went on to defeat Iowa in an eight-round shootout…In the last matchup in West Michigan on Dec. 13, the Griffins rallied from a 3-0 second-period deficit and won 4-3 in a shootout…Grand Rapids holds a +39 shot margin against the Wild and has outshot Iowa in all four meetings so far…Nine of the last 12 games between the teams have been decided by one goal…Iowa is celebrating its fifth season as an AHL franchise.

Iowa Connections: Former Griffin Landon Ferraro has 23 points (11-12—23) in 42 games with Iowa and one goal in two games with Minnesota this season…A second-round draft selection by Detroit in the 2009 NHL Entry Draft, Ferraro tallied 140 points (75-65—140) in 270 games with the Griffins over parts of five seasons (2009-10; 2011-15) and ranks among the franchise’s all-time leaders with 75 goals (T6th), seven shorthanded goals (T2nd) and 12 game-winning goals (T6th)…He added 19 points (6-13—19) in 33 playoff games and helped Grand Rapids win the 2013 Calder Cup…Derek Lalonde is in his second season at the helm of the Wild after spending the previous two years as head coach of the Toledo Walleye, the ECHL affiliate of the Red Wings and Griffins…Wild rookie and Wyandotte, Mich., native Gerald Mayhew skated four seasons with the Ferris State Bulldogs (WCHA) and tallied 119 points (52-67—119) in 150 games from 2013-17…Kurtis Gabriel and Zach Nastasiuk played together with the Owen Sound Attack from 2011-14.

Up and Down: With a 28-18-1-6 record through 53 games, take a look at how the statistics compare between the Griffins’ 28 wins and 25 (including overtime and shootout) losses.

W (28) 4.54 2.18 27.27% 88.07% 33.14 30.39
L (25) 1.76 3.68 12.12% 80.83% 32.52 30.20

Back-to-Backs: The Griffins will play back-to-back games a total of 24 times this season. Compare the statistics for when Grand Rapids has played on consecutive nights:

W L (incl. OT, SO) GF GA PP% PK% SF SA
First Night 8 8 3.69 3.25 24.59% 83.08% 31.38 30.38
Second Night 6 10 2.56 3.19 17.54% 81.69% 30.88 31.69
Third Night 1 2 2.33 2.67 27.27% 85.71% 38.67 31.33

Walleye Report: Under second-year head coach Dan Watson, the ECHL’s Toledo Walleye have won eight of their last 10 and place second in the Western Conference with a 34-14-2-2 record (72 points). Erik Bradford (13-27—40) and Christian Hilbrich (19-18—37) lead the team in scoring, while Griffins-contracted Mike Borkowski (13-20—33) ties for third. Griffins-contracted and 2018 ECHL All-Star Pat Nagle leads the league with 23 victories (23-4-3) while placing seventh with a 2.33 GAA and tying for eighth with a 0.919 save percentage. Red Wings-contracted Matej Machovsky, who is currently with Grand Rapids, paces the ECHL with a 2.02 GAA and ranks third with a 0.928 save percentage while showing an 11-9-1 mark.


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George Malik

My name is George Malik, and I'm the Malik Report's editor/blogger/poster. I have been blogging about the Red Wings since 2006, when MLive hired me to work their SlapShots blog, and I joined Kukla's Korner in 2011 as The Malik Report. I'm starting The Malik Report as a stand-alone site, hoping that having my readers fund the website is indeed the way to go to build a better community and create better content.