The Griffins have faced two straight elimination games against the Marlies and they've won them both. Last night the Griffins posted a 5-4 win to make it two straight wins at home to even the series after losing the first two games in Toronto.
For the play by play of the game, check out the Griffins Game Recap.
Game 4 Highlights
Now that you know the details of what led the Griffins to their win, let's talk about the heroes of game 4.
- Tomas Nosek had the Griffins first 2 goals last night, first a shorthanded goal then a power play goal. After seriously injuring his hand early in the season he started out slowly but since about midway through the Griffins season, he's been a key contributor to the team offensively and on both special teams. His shorthanded goal set the tone and pace of the game for the Griffins last night, if was apparently the team fed off it and I could feel the energy even in the crowd. Nosek hasn't gotten a lot of media attention throughout the season, despite his impressive skills, sometimes Datsukian hands, and his work ethic and determination. He had 2 assists in game 3 and now had 4 points in 4 games against the Marlies, and I suspect he's going to start getting more of the attention he deserves. On his shorthanded goal below, he's in the board battle against 2 Marlies, sticks with the puck, makes a great stick life and steals the puck, then makes a great shot to beat Gibson. Nosek made that goal happen and it was beautiful.
- Andreas Athanasiou used his speed as he usually does to make his presence known, and then he scored a goal and my reaction was "No way did that just happen!" He used his speed to get an initial shot on goal, then got the rebound in the corner and threw it at Gibson, hoping it would go in, and it did! The puck bounced off Gibson's butt and into the net and the crowd went wild.
- Teemu Pulkkinen has made his offensive presence know all series, scoring 5 goals in 4 games, and last night he let the Pulkcannon go and scored on a rocket of a shot just 3 seconds into the Griffins power play. Andy Miele won the faceoff, Mark Zengerle helped get possession, sent the puck back to Pulkkinen about 10 feet below the circle, Teeny Pokemon unleashed his Holy Slapper immediately and Christopher Gibson never saw it coming. Boom! His offense is obviously very important to the team, but even outside of that key contribution, Pulkkinen was backchecking hard all game long, forechecking hard, and being a difference maker even without the puck, and that's a huge part of what's going to make him so valuable in the NHL, being a key part of the team even when he's not scoring goals. Pulkkinen picked right up where he left off after being send back to Grand Rapids and every time he scores a goal it's exciting and thrilling, and it feels like the first time all over again. Pulkkinen gonna Pulkkinen.
- Tyler Bertuzzi has been a huge surprise in his 4 AHL games. He has 3 points in 2 playoff games and his skill level and abilities have been much better than I was expecting from a kid coming in from the OHL. Tyler protects the puck incredibly well, he's been very good at zone entries, he hounds the puck and doesn't give up no matter how long he has to fight for it, he's filled out a lot in the last couple years and handles himself very well physically, and he's been an impact player for the Griffins already. He also made a couple backchecking & defensive plays in the game that I wouldn't have expected him to be making already. He's playing on the Griffins top line and deservedly so. He fills a role very similar to the one Mitch Callahan did, but Bertuzzi is already as good as Callahan and he's only played 4 games. I cannot say enough about how surprised I am at how well Lil Bert it already. He plays with a ton of energy and whenever he's out on the icehe largely sets the pace of play and, I think, helps energize his linemates. He's been an impact player and he's fresh out of the OHL. He's starting his pro career off on the right foot.
- Nick Jensen had another great game and made a couple D zone plays that I'm sure saved goals. His speed, mobility, puck carrying and passing abilities, combined with his offensive gifts and knack for good zone entries make him an effective player no matter what zone he's in or what the situation is. He often gets overlooked because of all the other defensive prospects but he's been a key D-man for the Griffins all year and quietly makes good things happen and kept bad things from happening.
|Kevin Porter||Andreas Athanasiou||Anthony Mantha|
|Tyler Bertuzzi||Andy Miele||Mark Zengerle|
|Teemu Pulkkinen||Tomas Nosek||Jeff Hoggan|
|Alden Herschfeld||Louis-Marc Aubry||Marek Tvrdon|
|Alexey Marchenko||Nathan Paetsch|
|Brian Lashoff||Nick Jensen|
|Brennan Evans||Xavier Ouellet|
The Griffins have won 2 straight elimination games, and game 5 is tonight at 5pm, winner advances to the 2nd round, losers have a long summer.
Let's Go Griffins!!!