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Grand Rapids Griffins-Syracuse Crunch Game 6 game-day updates: Gudas (SYR), Almquist (GR) may play

Updated 5x at 2:18 PM: Somewhat briefly: the Grand Rapids Griffins will attempt to avoid a winner-take-all Game 7 situation when they face off against the Syracuse Crunch tonight in Game 6 of the Calder Cup Final (7 PM EDT start), and there was good news on the Griffins front from Fox 17's Steve Amorose (second Tweet excluded) as the team took to the ice around 11 AM (and Fox 17 posted a game preview video, too)...

While the Syracuse Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer reports that Crunch defenseman Radko Gudas is a "game-time decision":

[Coach Rob] Zettler said he won't play a discounted Gudas, one who is playing at less than 100 percent.

"If we have to dial anything back, then he probably won't play,'' Zettler said. "Radko keeps himself in great shape. That's not an issue as far as I'm concerned.''

In terms of your TV and online options, WXSP in Grand Rapids is airing the game on TV, as is Time-Warner Cable in New York, and the Griffins' website (via RedWingsFeed) notes that FoxSportsDetroit.com, AHLLive.com, WOOD Radio and the NHL Sirius XM station will all air the game.

The Crunch's website posted a Game 6 preview...

Calder Cup Finals (Grand Rapids leads, 3-2)
Game 6: (E3) Syracuse Crunch vs. (W3) Grand Rapids Griffins
7 p.m. at War Memorial Arena, Syracuse, N.Y.

The Syraucuse Crunch host Game 6 of the Calder Cup Finals Tuesday at the War Memorial against the Grand Rapids Griffins needing a victory to keep their season alive. After losing the first three games of the Finals, Syracuse won in Grand Rapids Friday, 3-2, and Saturday, 5-2, and hopes to become the first team in AHL history to force a Game 7 after trailing the Calder Cup Finals, 3-0.

A Syracuse win Tuesday would force a winner-take-all Game 7 Thursday at the War Memorial. Three times in league history has a team won a best-of-seven series after losing its first three games, including the 2013 Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins. Syracuse is the first team in AHL history to win two road elimination games in same Calder Cup Finals.

For aditional coverage of the Calder Cup Finals, visit The AHL's preview.

Tickets
Tickets for Game 6 at the War Memorial are still available online or by calling the Crunch office at 473-4444.

Coverage
Time Warner Cable Sports Channel broadcasts tonight's game live at 7 p.m. (Ch. 19, HD 813). Online video is available for free on AHL Live for every game of the Calder Cup Finals. Register for free access by using the promo code CALDER2013. Listen to live play-by-play on The Score 1260 and iHeartRadio with pregame coverage starting at 6:45 p.m. After the game, join Dan D'Uva and a guest in the War Memorial basement for “The Shootout Show” airing on The Score 1260. For in-game updates on Twitter, follow @SyracuseCrunch and broadcaster @Dan_Duva. For post-game recap, visit SyracuseCrunch.com and join the conversation on Facebook.

Griffins Scouting Report
In the Calder Cup Finals, Grand Rapids has been led by right wing Jan Mursak (3g-2a-5pts), left wing Jeff Hoggan (1g-4a-5pts), and Riley Sheahan (1g-3a-4pts). Hoggan and Mursak both had three-game point streaks snapped in the Griffins 5-2 loss to Syracuse in Game 5 on Saturday night.

Grand Rapids got several players from Detroit in the postseason. Since joining the Griffins after the Red Wings lost in the NHL playoffs, Gustav Nyquist has played nine games and scored five points (2g, 3a), Joakim Andersson has six points (2g, 4a) in the same span, and Danny DeKeyser has an assist in five games.

In the net, Petr Mrazek continues to lead the AHL playoffs with four shutouts. He's the only goalie in Grand Rapids history with multiple postseason shutouts. Overall, Mrazek has posted a 14-9 record with a 2.32 goals against average and a .916 save percentage. However, the rookie goalie allowed seven goals over the last two games and has an .844 save percentage in that span.

Crunch Scouting Report
Tyler Johnson had a goal and an assist in Game 5 of the Finals, his fifth multi-point game of the playoffs, and first since May 11 against Springfield, Game 2 of the Eastern Conference Semifinals.  The AHL MVP began the playoffs with multi-point efforts in four of the first five games after turning in 19 multi-point games in 62 regular season games, a team best.

Richard Panik has goals in four straight games, one of three players who strung together goals in four games this postseason (Mark Arcobello, OKC; Trevor Smith, WBS). Panik pulled off that feat twice in the regular season, Nov. 17-24 and Dec. 31-Jan. 9. Panik's last two goals were game-winners, giving him four game-winning goals in the postseason after six during the regular season. The ten combined are most on the Crunch.

After his one goal and two assists in Game 5, Ondrej Palat now has points in 13 playoff games this spring, including 8 multi-point performances and 4 three-point games. The Crunch are 12-1 in games when he collects a point, with the only loss coming in Game 2 of the Calder Cup Finals.

Cedrick Desjardins has more wins, 13, than any goalie in Crunch postseason history. Karl Goehring is the previous record holder at nine wins, though Goehring owns the Crunch record for career postseason appearances by a goalie, 18. The most career postseason wins in Crunch history include: C. Desjardins, 13-4 ('13); K. Goehring, 9-8 ('04, '08); J. Labbe, 8-7 ('01, '02); M. Fountain, 7-9 ('96, '97).

Crunch defenseman Radko Gudas, who has missed the last five games becuase of a leg injury in Game 5 of the Eastern Conference Final, suited up for morning skate Tuesday. His status for Game 6 was described as "probable" by coach Rob Zettler. Gudas led the AHL with a plus-32 during the regular season, and has two goals and one assist in 11 postseason games.

Game 5 in Review:
Cedrick Desjardins made 40 saves and the Crunch power play came to life with two goals as the Crunch beat the Griffins, 5-2, in Game 5 of the Calder Cup Finals in Grand Rapids Saturday night.  The Griffins still lead the best-of-seven series 3-2 as it shifts back to Syracuse for Game 6 and, if necessary, Game 7.

The Crunch got off to a fast start in the first period.  Ondrej Palat capitalized on a Griffins turnover to score an unassisted goal at 8:39 of the first for a 1-0 Crunch lead. Brett Connolly helped build on the lead by converting atip-in off a feed from Tyler Johnson for a 2-0 lead. Triston Grant got one back for the Griffins a minute and a half later, to cut the Crunch lead to 2-1 after one period.

A Tomas Tatar power-play goal early in the second tied the game at two, but the Crunch power play answered back.  Richard Panik cashed in with 8:01 left in the second to put the Crunch back in front 3-2.  Then in the third, Tyler Johnson gave the Crunch their second two-goal lead just 36 seconds into the final frame.  Dan Sexton finished it off with an empty-net goal for a 5-2 final score.

Cedrick Desjardins stopped 40 shots, including 19 in the second period, as the Crunch were outshot for the third straight game.  The Crunch were 2-for-5 on the power play while the Griffins went 1-for-3.

The Syracuse Post-Standard's Bud Poliquin reports that Richard Panik's already declared that the Crunch and Griffins will play in a Game 7 on Thursday...

Richard Panik, though, was thinking otherwise. And talking about it, too. Not only was the Crunch coming back, alive, to the rickety Onondaga County War Memorial ... it would arrive in town for Game 6 with a 3-2 series lead. At least that was the young man's "we're-gonna-win-three-in-a-row" boast.

"Yes, I said it," Panik admitted on Monday afternoon. "And I know it was very cocky. But in hockey, you have to be confident, and I was confident enough to say that. Because I know this team and I know what we're capable of doing."

OK, his prophecy was a bit fuzzy. The Syracuse club didn't go bing-bang-bong in Grand Rapids as Panik had crowed. But after losing Game 3 last week, it did triumph in the next two contests before unfriendly sellout crowds totaling more than 23,000 to thus become the first squad in AHL history to win two elimination affairs away from home in the same Calder Cup Finals.

And so, here the Crunch is -- back in its downtown barn before what promises this evening to be a large and lively house that will have gathered to watch the most important hockey game in the history of this city.

But then, only to date because an even bigger one has been faintly promised.

"I think," declared Panik, "that there is going to be a Game 7 on Thursday."

And the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner offered a round-up of the Crunch's press's takes on the situation heading into tonight's game.

Update #0.5:

Update #1: Here's the AHL's Morning Skate:

Tonight's Previews
2013 Calder Cup Finals - Game 6 - 7:00 ET
(GR leads series, 3-2)
TV: Time Warner Cable SportsChannel (NY), WXSP-TV (Grand Rapids)
Satellite Radio: SiriusXM NHL Network Radio (Sirius 207, XM 92)
Webcast: AHL Live (free offer)

Cedrick Desjardins made 40 saves and Ondrej Palat notched three points as Syracuse extended its season one more time with a 5-2 win in Grand Rapids on Saturday night... With a second straight victory -- becoming the first team in AHL history to win two elimination games on the road during the Calder Cup Finals -- the Crunch return home still trailing the Griffins 3-2 in the series but Games 6 and 7 both scheduled for the Onondaga County War Memorial Arena... Desjardins (13-4, 2.25, .910) made more saves in the first two periods of Game 5 (32) than he had in any of his previous 16 starts this postseason (28)... Palat (7-18-25) tallied a goal and two assists on Saturday... For the second night in a row, Richard Panik (8-5-13) broke a 2-2 tie in the second period with a goal that stood up as the eventual game-winner... Panik has scored a goal in four straight games... Tyler Johnson (10-11-21) registered a goal and an assist in Game 5, and Mark Barberio (3-12-15) picked up two assists... Triston Grant (2-1-3) and Tomas Tatar (14-5-19) scored for the Griffins, who are 8-11 in their AHL history -- including 3-5 this postseason -- with a chance to close out a series... Petr Mrazek (14-9, 2.32, .916) stopped 17 of 21 shots in Game 5, allowing four goals for the sixth time in these playoffs... Syracuse, 2-for-23 on the power play in the Finals over the first four games, went 2-for-5 in Game 5... Grand Rapids was 1-for-3 on Saturday and is 4-for-21 in the series... The Griffins are playing their 100th game of the 2012-13 season tonight... Grand Rapids has won seven of its last nine road games... This is the fifth Finals in the last six years to go six games; there has not been a seven-game championship series since 2003 (Houston vs. Hamilton)... Tonight (June 18) is the latest calendar date ever for an AHL game.

2013 Calder Cup Finals – Series “O” (best-of-7)
E3-Syracuse Crunch vs. W3-Grand Rapids Griffins

Game 1 – Sat., June 8 – Grand Rapids 3, SYRACUSE 1
Game 2 – Sun., June 9 – Grand Rapids 6, SYRACUSE 4
Game 3 – Wed., June 12 – GRAND RAPIDS 4, Syracuse 2
Game 4 – Fri., June 14 – Syracuse 3, GRAND RAPIDS 2
Game 5 – Sat., June 15 – Syracuse 5, GRAND RAPIDS 2
*Game 6 – Tue., June 18 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
*Game 7 – Thu., June 20 – Grand Rapids at Syracuse, 7:00
   *if necessary... All times Eastern

Alumni Watch
Former AHL All-Stars Tuukka Rask (28 saves), Patrice Bergeron (goal) and Zdeno Chara (assist) helped Boston to a 2-0 win over Chicago in Game 3 of the Stanley Cup Final last night... Bergeron, who was named the game's first star, also took a game-high seven shots on goal and won 24 of 28 faceoffs... Ben Smith (27-20-47 with Rockford this season) made his first appearance of this postseason for Chicago.

Busy Bodies
With tonight's faceoff, Grand Rapids (14-9) becomes the seventh team in AHL history to play as many as 24 games in a single postseason... The other six:

*25 - Chicago Wolves, 2002 (17-8)
24 - Houston Aeros, 2011 (14-10)
24 - Texas Stars, 2010 (14-10)
*24 - Chicago Wolves, 2008 (16-8)
24 - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins, 2004 (12-12)
24 - Portland Pirates, 1996 (14-10)
  *won Calder Cup

Staying Alive
Of the 23 teams to lose the first three games of a best-of-seven Calder Cup Final series, Syracuse is just the seventh to avoid being swept, and the second to force a Game 6... The others:

2008 - Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins vs. Chicago Wolves (lost in 6)
1999 - Rochester Americans vs. Providence Bruins (lost in 5)
1974 - Providence Reds vs. Hershey Bears (lost in 5)
1973 - Nova Scotia Voyageurs vs. Cincinnati Swords (lost in 5)
1969 - Quebec Aces vs. Hershey Bears (lost in 5)
1962 - Buffalo Bisons vs. Springfield Indians (lost in 5)

Update #2: From the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner's seven facts going into tonight's game:

• With tonight’s Game 6, the Griffins will match the Portland Pirates for highest percentage of games played in one postseason (24 of 26 games under current figuration since 1996). The Griffins have gone the distance in every series except the Western Conference semifinals, when they breezed in six past Toronto. The most games a team has ever played in one postseason were 25 of a possible 29 by Chicago in 2002. Grand Rapids was part of five of those in a first-round loss.

• Looking for series MVP candidates? Here are two from each, at least based on statistics and a little flavor mixed in. For the Griffins, Jeff Hoggan is 35 going on 25. The captain has five points (1-4-5) in five games, slid into the goal net the goal. There’s also Jan Mursak, who also has five points (3-2-5) in the series, second-best 17 overall. The Crunch’s Richard Panik has points with five (4-1-5) along with 28 penalty minutes and has been a thorn in the side of the Griffins. But the team’s surge has coincided with the improved play of leading scorer Ondrej Palat who have five points (2-3-5)) with four coming the past two games.

• No team with a 3-0 lead has ever come back to win in the Calder Cup Finals. That has been well documented. But here’s an interesting nugget: of the 22 teams who had a 3-0 series lead, only one needed six games to close it out, and none has ever gone to a seventh game.

• The Griffins had three ironmen who played all 76 regular-season games in captain Jeff Hoggan and defensemen Chad Billins and Brennan Evans. Those four will hit another milestone tonight. It will mark the 100th game this season overall for the Griffins, and they've played in them all.

• Petr Mrazek has his own category for endurance. The rookie will start his 70th game of the season in a remarkable journey. He started three in Toledo in the ECHL, 42 in the regular season and 22 in the postseason with the Griffins, and two during a stint with the Red Wings in January.

Update #3: FYI:

Update #4: The Syracuse Post-Standard's Lindsay Kramer notes that the playoffs have been a grind for the Griffins:

- With tonight's faceoff, Grand Rapids (14-9) becomes the seventh team in AHL history to play as many as 24 games in a single postseason. That's nearly one-third of the entire regular season.

...

"You just have to find energy. It's one or two games left in the season,'' Grand Rapids forward Joakim Andersson said Tuesday morning.

The Crunch meanwhile, has found some extra jump with its season on the line.

Of the 23 teams to lose the first three games of a best-of-seven Calder Cup Final series, Syracuse is just the seventh to avoid being swept, and the second to force a Game 6.

....
Andersson was confident the Griffins will be able to cut short the Syracuse comeback tonight in front of what should be a sold out War Memorial.

"We'd rather have won the thing at home. But now we have two chances here,'' he said. "We had lots of fans last time we were here, (and) won two games. You get energy out of the people, even if they are not cheering for you. We have a good group here. We're going to find a way to win one more. I'm positive of that.''

Update #5: Bob Kaser and Larry Figurski set up Game 6:

 

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Comments

Slumpy's avatar

Richard Panik, though, was thinking otherwise. And talking about it, too. Not only was the Crunch coming back, alive, to the rickety Onondaga County War Memorial

Jesus, how old is that barn? I got a Dick’s Picks CD from ‘76 at the arena, lol.

This Panik guy wasn’t a nasty pest from his his first season in Windsor. He must of figured that would be his quickest route to the NHL soon after seeing how they play in the OHL and AHL. A TB Lightning draft pick I believe.

 

Posted by Slumpy from Detroit on 06/18/13 at 05:12 PM ET

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The Malik Report is a destination for all things Red Wings-related. I offer biased, perhaps unprofessional-at-times and verbose coverage of my favorite team, their prospects and developmental affiliates. I've joined the Kukla's Korner family with five years of blogging under my belt, and I hope you'll find almost everything you need to follow your Red Wings at a place where all opinions are created equal and we're all friends, talking about hockey and the team we love to follow.