From the Griffins:
#3 SYRACUSE CRUNCH vs. #3 GRAND RAPIDS GRIFFINS
Game 1 - Sat., June 8 - GRIFFINS at Crunch - 7 p.m.
Western Conference Finals vs. Oklahoma City
Series Summary: After splitting the first two games of the series in Grand Rapids, the Griffins fell behind in the series 2-1 – a deficit they had never come back to win a series from – after a 4-1 win by the Barons in Game 3. The Griffins’ lineup was bolstered by the additions of Joakim Andersson andGustav Nyquist, fresh off NHL recalls and two seven-game series with the Red Wings. The duo made an immediate impact on the lineup, helping the Griffin score 15 goals over the series’ final four games (after only five in the first three) and rejuvenating a power play that started the series 0-for-9 by finishing 6-for-14. A series that was tied 1-1, 2-2- and 3-3 fittingly ended in a Game 7 that was tied at one, two, three and four before Tomas Jurco’s unassisted breakaway goal gave the Griffins the lead for good and helped them capture the Western Conference championship. Chad Billins paced the Griffins with six points (1-5—6) during the series, while four players – Jurco, Tomas Tatar, Mitch Callahan and Jan Mursak – shared the team lead with three goals.
Western Conference Semifinals vs. Toronto
Series Summary: The Griffins opened the series with a convincing 7-0 victory, but the Marlies evened it heading back to Grand Rapids with a 4-2 win on home ice. The Griffins took the first two games at Van Andel Arena but missed out on a chance to eliminate the defending Western Conference champions with a 4-1 loss in Game 5. Back in Toronto, the Marlies jumped out to a 3-1 lead leading into the third period with the possibility of extending the series to seven games, but Jan Mursak andTomas Tatar struck for goals in a 28-second span to tie the game before Luke Glendening added the series-clinching goal with 4:03 to play to give the Griffins a 4-3 win. Tatar’s goal was his fifth of the series, giving him a team-best seven points (5-2—7) in six games. Mursak (4-1—5), Glendening (3-2—5), Tomas Jurco (2-3—5) and Francis Pare (1-4—5) also paced the team offensively with five points apiece.
Western Conference Quarterfinals vs. Houston
Series Summary: The Griffins and Aeros split the first two games of the series, as Houston’s Darcy Kuemper starred with a 1.51 goals against average and a 0.957 save percentage. After he was called up to the parent Minnesota Wild, rookie Mike Condon, with just five career pro appearances leading into the series, took over in net for the Aeros and posted 35 saves in a 4-2 loss and 41 in a 4-1 win as the teams skated into a decisive Game 5. The Griffins’ offense came alive in Game 7, as four second-period goals broke open a tightly-contested game and paved the way for the Griffins to earn a spot in the second round with a 7-0 win.