GRAND RAPIDS, MI – The Griffins are still trying to string together some wins. That has not come easy for the defending Calder Cup Champions. Consistency has been the biggest issue for the team as they recently extended their winless streak to four games after falling to the Texas Stars 5-2 on Wednesday. With their most recent loss, the Griffins record fell to 8-10-0-2, which is sixth in the Central Division. The last place Chicago Wolves are just four points behind the Griffins. Grand Rapids is set to host the Stars tonight for a rematch of Wednesday nights match up. Tomorrow night, they will hit the road and take on the Chicago Wolves inside of Allstate Arena.
Last season, the Griffins had the top power play unit in the American Hockey League. They converted on 24.4% of their power plays which was a big factor in helping them win the Calder Cup. During the post season, they converted 21.3% of their extra man advantages. Recently, that has not been the case. Over the previous three games, the Griffins are 0-for-16 including and 0-for-6 during Wednesday’s loss to Texas. Grand Rapids had a great opportunity to capitalize on a couple of Texas penalties when held a 5-on-3 advantage. But the Griffins could not get anything going coming up empty after nearly two minutes of a two man advantage. The Griffins power play percentage fell to 18.9%.
The penalty kill is still giving the Griffins a chance to win games. Grand Rapids has a PK % of 84.4 ranked within the top 10 in the AHL. The Griffins have killed off 44 of their previous 47 penalties which is good for 93.6 over the last 11 games. Colin Campbell scored the first goal for the Griffins on Wednesday which came way during a shorthanded situation.
Many people in the organization expected Evegny Svechnikov to be one of the premier scorers for the Griffins. That has not been the case for the second year pro. Last season, Svechnikov appeared in 74 games collecting 51 points (20-31-51). During the playoffs, he added 12 more points (5-7-12). So far this season, the 21 year old has only four points (2-2-4) and has a -4 rating. The forward missed the first five games of the season after suffering a minor neck injury during training camp.
Tonight the Griffins will host the Texas Stars for a rematch of Wednesday’s loss. Currently, the Stars have a record of 12-8-1. The Griffins have won seven on the previous nine games vs the Stars at home. Tomorrow night, Grand Rapids will travel to Chicago to take on the Wolves. The Wolves are currently sitting in last place in the Central Division but are only four points behind the Griffins. Chicago’s record entering today is 5-10-4. Former Griffins sniper Teemu Pulkkinen is having a solid season for the Wolves. He currently has 19 points (7-12-19) in 19 games played for Chicago. Grand Rapids has beaten the Wolves in seven out of the last nine games.