Photo by Mark Newman
Don't look now, but the Griffins are on a roll.
The kids in Grand Rapids have won 9 of their last 11 games (9-1-1-0) and moved into 3rd place in the North Division. If you're not up-to-date on your AHL rules, that means they're sitting in the final guaranteed playoff spot of their division. They're only 2 points behind Manitoba for 2nd place and 4 points behind Lake Erie for 1st.
The Griffs have three big games this week as they continue their playoff push. They'll square off at Van Andel Arena tonight against the Toronto Marlies and they will head to Texas to take on the Stars Friday and Saturday.
More Griffins love and, of course, a Brendan Smith update after the jump.
Impressive numbers from goaltender Jordan Pearce lately. He's started the last 17 games for Grand Rapids going 12-2-1-3 with a 2.66 GAA and a .910 save percentage. Only one shutout during that time, but the kid deserves a lot of credit for the Griffins latest run.
Everyone's second favorite Filppula as been putting up some nice stats this season. Ilari is currently 9th in AHL scoring with 20 goals and 42 assists in 67 games and has a 6 game point streak. He's within striking distance of 2nd on the scoring list. He's almost at a point-per-game pace and along with Tomas Tatar (23 G, 32 A) has been the Griffins most reliable scorer this year. I know Cory Emmerton and Jan Mursak have to clear waivers next season if they don't make the Red Wings' roster, but there isn't much talk about Flip's big brother. I could see Larry Flip making a run in camp to make the 2011-12 squad. Will it happen? Who knows. It will be a big competition between Emmerton, Mursak, I. Filppula, and Tatar.
And last but not least, the moment we've all been waiting for...a Brendan Smith update.
Smith is still having a very solid rookie season. His 12 goals and 20 assists in only 57 games is good for 10th in scoring for the Griffs this season. Unfortunately, he left last Friday's game with less than 4 minutes to go in the 1st period. Reports are that it's the same knee injury that held him out 4 games in January. Griffins' coach Curt Fraser said he could be out 2-4 weeks. Hopefully he'll be back sooner rather than later. The Griffs need all the help they can get for the rest of the season and into the playoffs, if they make it. Smith will surely be one of the Black Aces during the Red Wings' playoff run when the Griffins' season is over.
Let's Go Griffins.