The Afternoon Shift – March 18

Bring on the Monsters!

Not much needs to be said entering tonight’s contest against the Lake Erie Monsters at Van Andel Arena, the most important game the Griffins have faced this season.

An AHL-best 9-1-1-0 record over their last 11 games – including a current 7-0-1-0 streak – has put the Griffins only two points back of third-place Toronto and the final guaranteed playoff spot in the North Division, a deficit that stood at six points just last Thursday and a season-high eight points on Feb. 19.

Even more remarkable, Grand Rapids finds itself only four points behind first-place Manitoba, having sliced deeply into what was an eight-point gap on Saturday and a 13-point chasm on Jan. 27.

The Griffins and Monsters are currently tied for fourth place, so tonight’s winner would move into a tie for third place and that last ticket to the Calder Cup Playoffs if Toronto loses in regulation at Syracuse. And if that team is the Griffins, they’ll still have two games in hand on the Marlies.

Regardless of the outcome tonight, though, two more huge opportunities for points await the Griffins this weekend as they continue their rare 3-in-3 on home ice. Rochester, last in the North, visits on Saturday, while Rockford, cellar occupant in the West, will be Sunday’s opponent.

Today’s Griffins links:

AHL/opponent links:

Alumni news and notes:

Video – NHL alumni goals:

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