The Grand Rapids Griffins will wrap up their regular season with three games to be played over the course of four nights this week, and the Griffins will do so with something of an open competition for their playoff starting goalie’s spot.
According to the Grand Rapids Press’s Peter J. Wallner, the return of Jared Coreau doesn’t necessarily mean that Tom McCollum will lose his spot as the Griffins’ go-to goaltender:
“Tommy has been playing his best hockey right now; he played exceptional last game,” [Griffins coach Todd] Nelson said of a 4-1 win Saturday at Tucson. “Jared, obviously, he would have wanted things to go better but he was playing his best hockey when he left us. So, I have three games to figure it out.”
The Griffins practice in Austin on Tuesday and play against Texas on Wednesday. Then they are at San Antonio on Thursday and home Saturday for the regular-season finale against Cleveland. Within that, the Griffins (40-25-1-7) will finish between first or fourth in a tightly-contested Central Division.
Coreau will likely get one if not two starts to see if he can forget about what happened with the Red Wings. In seven games, he was winless with a 4.26 goals-against-average and .867 save percentage.
In 36 games with the Griffins, Coreau is 20-10-4 with a 2.47 GAA and .916 save percentage. His last two games with the Griffins (Feb. 15, 17) were shutouts and he earned the league’s monthly honor after a 1.46 GAA and .951 save percentage and two shutouts in six games before recalled.
When he left, McCollum stepped in and has played very well especially of late with two goals allowed in nine of his past 10 games (he allowed three the other game). Likewise, he also has appeared in 36 games, going 19-14-3 with a 2.56 GAA and .911 save percentage.
Wallner continues, and Nelson suggests that playoff starts will be earned on a winning basis…