The Malik Report
by George Malik on 06/18/13 at 12:32 PM ET
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 for Game 6 at the War Memorial are still available online or by calling the Crunch office at 473-4444.
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 #3: FYI:
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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.