Nyquist and Brunnstrom key Griffins win...
By Jason Kasiorek
March 3rd, 2012
The surging Griffins handed the conference leading Oklahoma City Barons a rare loss and extended their winning streak to five games. The offense was keyed by the Swedish Trio with Nyquist adding a pair of goals (18,19), Brunnstrom a goal and an assist in regulation and a big shootout goal, and Anderson with an assist. Veteran Ty Conklin was second star of the game, making 30 stops during the game and stoning all four shooters in the shootout. Despite going scoreless, speedster Chris Conner was recalled by Detroit after the game.
Conklin got caught out of the net when Janik's clearing attempt was picked off and Grant buried it into the empty net. Conner, Nyquist and Tatar were putting on a puck-handling clinic, playing keep away with a frustrated Barons team. Grand Rapids played a good period, staying close to the conference leaders. Shots on goal: GR 10 - OKC 12.
Nyquist got the Griffins on the board when he flipped a bouncing puck in over LeNeveu for a powerplay goal. He scored his second of the night a few minutes later, jamming at a loose puck in front and poking it past LeNeveu. Brunnstrom shot down the ice after a loose puck and used Andersson as a decoy to cut right in front of the net, wait until the last possible second and then snap a shot past the goalie stick-side for a 3-1 lead. Shots on goal: GR 10 - OKC 7.
Johnson and Tatar 2-on-1, and Tatar smoked a heavy shot off the post. Midway through the third it looked like a Barons' powerplay point shot beat Conklin five-hole, but despite the red light coming on play continued and it was ruled no goal. Fournier in the box again and Pitlick put a high shot in over Conklin glove side to cut the lead to one. Oklahoma City pulled their netminder late, and it worked as Paajarvi put a bouncing shot behind Conklin to tie things up. Shots on goal: GR 3 - OKC 12.
Despite not being credited with a shot on goal, the Griffins had several glorious chances in the extra session. Johnson walked in to the slot and had all the time in the world with Minard screening in front and couldn't sneak the shot through. Pyett set up Tatar right in front for a great chance. Janik broke a stick in the Griffins zone, Minard handed his stick off and Conklin ended up making a huge glove save to preserve the tie. Shots on goal: GR 0 - OKC 2. For the Game: GR 24 - Roc 33.
Cornet was the first shooter for Oklahoma City and tried to freeze Conklin and go wide, but he took away the side of the net. Nyquist was first for the Griffins and made an incredible spin-o-rama move, but had the puck roll of his stick and hit LeNeveu. Hartikainen missed the net on the next chance, followed by Conner who tried to go wide and lift the puck over LeNeveu's pad, but ran out of room. Linus Omark went in slowly and tried to flip the puck in over Conklin's leg but he shut him down. Brunnstrom got the first goal when he streaked in and lasered a shot top shelf. Paajarvi had a chance to even things up, but Conklin poke-checked the puck away. Minard blazed in and won the shootout with a wicked wrester that ended up in the back of the net.
Nyquist - Andersson - Brunnstrom
Tatar - Johnson - Minard
Conner - Aubry - Pare
Parkes - Ferraro - Callahan
Janik - Pyett
Lashoff - Ehrhardt
Exelby - Fournier
Tatar - Johnson - Minard
Janik - Pare
Conner - Andersson - Brunnstrom
Nyquist - Pyett
Brunnstrom - Andersson
Exelby/Lashoff - Ehrhardt
Tatar - Pare
Janik - Pyett
Minard - Conner
The Griffins played very well the first two periods and had an exciting finish to a game that very easily could have been a stomp.
Conner played well enough to earn a return trip to Detroit with GM Ken Holland in attendance.
The fourth line was much less noticeable tonight with Ferraro centering. I hardly noted Callahan or Parkes, two of the unsung stars of last nights contest.
Aubry on the other hand looked good in his promotion to the third line. He really displayed some speed, keeping up with Conner, and some good instincts for where to be and what to do with the puck.
Ty Conklin was the difference in this game. He had a super night and made some huge saves.