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Wallner: PK problems plague the Griffins in Game 2 vs. San Jose

The Grand Rapids Griffins dropped Game 2 of their Western Conference Final series with the San Jose Barracuda last night, losing 4-2.

The Griffins struggled on special teams, surrendering 3 power play goals on 5 penalties taken, and Griffins coach Todd Nelson spoke with the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner about the Griffins' struggles on the PK:

The need to stay out of the box was stressed by Griffins coach Todd Nelson after Saturday's game, but it didn't happen as Evgeny Svechnikov's hooking call at 1:54 and Tyler Bertuzzi's roughing at 10:29 each led to Barracuda goals and a quick 2-0 deficit.

Disappointed?

"Yes," Nelson said. "It's hard to explain, isn't it? That's pretty much the story of the game. They came out and scored three power play goals and, even though we played better after (the first period) that was the difference. You know, penalties are going to happen in a game. But you have unnecessary ones that are going to cost you and it costs us tonight."

The series now shifts to Grand Rapids for Games 3 (Wednesday), 4 (Friday) and 5 (Saturday at Van Andel Arena), and Matthew Ford told Wallner that the Griffins hope to swipe home-ice advantage from the Barracuda as the 2-3-2 series shifts back to Western Michigan:

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Prospect news: Grand Rapids Griffins lose 4-2 to San Jose in Game 2 of Western Conference Final

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL's Western Conference Final, the Grand Rapids Griffins suffered a setback in San Jose, losing 4-2 to the San Jose Barracuda.

Grand Rapids received 36 saves from Jared Coreau, but San Jose was able to go 3-for-5 on the power play; Julius Bergman and Ryan Carpenter scored power play goals in the 1st period to stake out a 2-0 lead, and while Grand Rapids rallied via a 1st-period marker from Tomas Nosek and a power play goal from Matt Ford...

But the Barracuda scored the eventual game-winner 50 seconds after Ford's goal, with Joakim Ryan scoring on Coreau, and the Shark...I mean Barracuda played trap and "left wing lock" hockey the rest of the way, shutting Grand Rapids down while playing some pretty boring hockey.

The Griffins will return to Van Andel Arena for Games 3 (Wednesday, May 24), 4 (Friday, May 26) and 5 (Saturday, May 27), and if this series needs more, it will shift back to San Jose for Games 6 and 7.

Update #1: Here's the AHL's recap...

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Toledo Walleye to hold Fan ‘Thank You’ on Monday at the Huntington Center

The Toledo Walleye are holding a "Fan Thank You" event Monday night at the Huntington Center:

What an unforgettable season of Toledo Walleye hockey! Records were crushed, new leaders were crowned and our fan support could be heard across the league.

Share in those moments on Monday, May 22 at 6:30 p.m. during a special FREE “Thank you, Toledo Walleye” event as the team takes to the ice for one final appearance together.

  • Huntington Center doors will open at 6 p.m. (Enter through Jefferson Street and the parking garage).
  • Event runs from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m.
  • Coaches and players will address the fans from the ice.

Join us for one final salute.

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Here’s the Griffins’ Game-Day Preview ahead of Game 2 vs. San Jose

Ahead of tonight's game between the Grand Rapids Griffins and San Jose Barracuda (8 PM EDT on ESPN 96.1 FM and the AHL Live), the Griffins have posted a four-and-a-half-minute Game Day Preview video:

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St. James discusses Jared Coreau’s performance for the Griffins

The Detroit News's Ted Kulfan and the Free Press's Helene St. James took note of the Grand Rapids Griffins' 3-1 win over the San Jose Barracuda last night, and St. James chose to focus on Jared Coreau's playoff performances:

[Jared] Coreau stopped 26 of 27 shots Saturday to help the Grand Rapid Griffins win Game 1 of their AHL Western Conference final against the San Jose Barracuda, 3-1. Coreau made 10 straight saves to start the third period, and 16 total in the final 20 minutes, keeping the Barracuda off the scoreboard during six power plays.

Coreau’s strong play improved the Griffins to an 8-1 playoff start, best in franchise history. It's a good sign for the Wings, who could be depending on Coreau as a backup in Detroit next season. Coreau, 6 feet 6 and 220 pounds, spent three months with the team starting in mid-December, after Jimmy Howard suffered a knee injury when he was knocked over during a game in Tampa Bay. Coreau won his second NHL start, in a shoot-out at Florida, won his next start as well, and ended up getting chosen to start the Jan. 1 outdoor game at Toronto over Petr Mrazek.

St. James continues:

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Walleye reflect upon their playoff ouster

The Toledo Walleye suffered a set of devastating losses against the Colorado Eagles in the Western Conference Final, dropping 3 straight games en route to a playoff ouster on Saturday night. As such, the league's best regular-season team was eliminated from playoff contention, and the Walleye spoke with the Toledo Blade's Mark Monroe regarding the premature end of their playoff run:

“It's always tough this time of year,” Walleye coach Dan Watson said. “There's disappointment and the shock from losing. The expectations for this group were much higher than what we achieved here. Our guys deserved a little bit better fate. But it was a special, special group all season long. I told them not to hang their heads. I'm proud of what we accomplished.”

...

The Walleye were hoping they would shift back to Toledo for Games 6 and 7 on Monday and Wednesday.

Captain Alden Hirschfeld, who had to catch an early flight back to Toledo shortly after the game as his wife had gone into labor, said his team had plenty of opportunities to score.

“The guys worked so hard and left it all out there,” Hirschfeld said. “It's obviously a tough situation because it's a special group. I'm proud of this group. It's a super close group. We play for each other and not for ourselves. We care more about the team than individuals.”

In the ECHL, player turnover is pretty significant, and both Hirschfeld and Shane Berschbach reflected upon the fact that next year's Walleye will be a very different team:

“We played pretty well the last two nights — well enough to win,” Berschbach said. “It just didn't go our way. Hats off to Colorado. They played a great series. It's pretty tough to swallow. We've been a resilient group all year. The toughest part about it is that you're losing 20 brothers.”

Monroe continues...

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Wallner: Griffins hope to dial down penalties ahead of Game 2 of WCF

The Grand Rapids Griffins opened their Western Conference Final series against the San Jose Barracuda with a 3-1 victory on Saturday night.

Ahead of tonight's game at the "Shark Tank" (8 PM EDT on ESPN 96.1 FM and the AHL Live), the Griffins plan on making one major tweak--they don't plan on taking another half-dozen minor penalties against the Barracuda for the second night in a row.

The Griffins spoke with the Grand Rapids Press's Peter J. Wallner regarding their undisciplined ways on Saturday night:

The Griffins spent much of the time trying to hold off the Barracuda, who were second in the league in the regular season on the power play (23.8 percent) and were 7 for 17 in the division finals against San Diego.

"The penalty kill was excellent but it had to be," Griffins coach Todd Nelson said. "There were way too many penalties and that can't happen (in Game 2). San Jose is too good of a team."

The upside for the Griffins is the unit has been very good; they have turned back 19 consecutive opportunities dating back to the division finals against Chicago.

The downside is many calls in the conference final opener were non-discipline in nature. Evgeny Svechnikov, who had six minutes in the [Chicago] series, was called twice in the first period (hooking and goalie interference). Martin Frk and Mitch Callahan were also whistled for high sticking minors.

"We just need good penalties," Nelson said. "What we had is telling me we weren't doing things the right way. So that's something we're going to be working on for (Sunday). Got to keep your stick down and move your feet."

Wallner continues, speaking with PK stalwart Colin Campbell...

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Prospect news: Walleye lose to Eagles, playoff ends

Of prospect-related note:

In the ECHL, the Toledo Walleye blew 1-0 and 3-1 leads as the Colorado Eagles scored 5 straight goals, eliminating the Walleye from the playoffs via a 6-3 victory.

Tyson Spink, Beau Schmitz and Dane Walters scored for the Walleye, Shane Berschbach registered his 14th and 15th playoff assists and Jake Paterson stopped 31 of the 36 shots he faced (Colorado's final goal was an empty-netter), but the Walleye's playoff run ended short of a Kelly Cup Final appearance.

Update: Here's the Walleye's website's recap:

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Prospect news: Grand Rapids Griffins defeat San Jose 3-1 to open Western Conference Final

Of prospect-related note:

In the AHL, in the Western Conference Final, the Grand Rapids Griffins defeated the San Jose Barracuda 3-1 in Game 1 of the WCF.

Grand Rapids got two assists from Eric Tangradi, goals from Mitch Callahan and Ben Street in the first period and Kyle Criscuolo Matt Ford (power play) in the 3rd, and Jared Coreau stopped 26 of 27 shots as the Griffins killed six San Jose power plays.

The Griffins looked a little rusty after not having played for a week, and Tyler Bertuzzi wasn't quite himself, but the Griffins played strongly and did a great job of getting to goaltender Trevor Grosenick early and often, firing 28 shots his way.

The series resumes on Sunday night at the SAP Center (on ESPN 96.1 and the AHL Live), starting at 8 PM EDT, and the series will then shift to Grand Rapids for games on Wednesday the 24th, Friday the 26th and, if necessary, Saturday the 27th.

Update #1: Here's the AHL's website's recap:

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Jake Paterson takes part in a roundtable Q and A

The ECHL's website held a roundtable with the four goaltenders taking part in Conference Final play, and Jake Paterson took part. Among Paterson's questions and answers:

As a goalie in the ECHL for a few years, what has helped you most in your preparation for the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs?

Paterson:  What has helped me for the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs is the preparation that the coaching staff and the players bring to the rink every day throughout the season. With the leadership we have on this team they really teach you how to prepare the right way no matter the circumstance.

Talk about the transition from regular season to playoffs as a tender. Are there any drastic changes in your opinion? Pace? Mindset? Ritual or Superstitions? Is it the same game or completely different?

Paterson: I would say the transition from regular season to playoffs is simple. At the end of the day it’s still hockey and as a goalie all you can focus on is giving your team a chance to win on every night.

What surprised you most from the first two rounds of the Kelly Cup Playoffs?

Paterson: I wouldn’t say this has come as a surprise to me but the most exciting part of the 2017 Kelly Cup Playoffs has been how loud and electric our Walleye fans have been.

The roundtable continues...

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About The Malik Report

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.

 

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