The Afternoon Shift – March 28

He's Lovin' It/Photo by Getty Images

Joey MacDonald and Gustav Nyquist are both trying to prove they can succeed at the next level. Why the former still even needs to is a head-scratcher.

When MacDonald starts for the Red Wings tonight in place of the injured Jimmy Howard, he’ll look to extend his current shutout streak of 107:53 that stretches over parts of four games. While well-documented in this blog, MacDonald’s success in Detroit has apparently gone unnoticed by many of Hockeytown’s resident chicken littles, for whom the Red Wings’ goaltending sky is constantly falling.

At what point does MacDonald’s body of work become enough evidence to convince the doubters that he is a more-than-capable NHL netminder? His 49-game run with the Islanders two seasons ago wasn’t enough, despite being named the NHL’s Third Star for November 2008. This season, he owns a team-leading 2.05 GAA and 0.928 save percentage through 13 games, numbers that would do the trick in most of the league’s outposts. But still his Detroit detractors persist.

Tonight, here’s hoping that Joey Mac can shut down the defending Cup champion Chicago Blackhawks – including his one-time Griffins teammate, Tomas Kopecky – and continue to shut up the naysayers.

As for Nyquist, the two-time Hobey Baker finalist is two games into a very promising pro career, after concluding his junior season at the University of Maine. He earned his first pro point with an assist in his AHL debut on Friday in Texas, then tallied his first goal – the lone marker for the Griffins – in Saturday’s rematch.

Having already signed a two-year, entry-level deal with the Red Wings, Nyquist is ticketed for Grand Rapids’ 2011-12 roster. Local fans will have just one shot to get a sneak peek of Detroit’s third pick in the 2008 draft in person, when the Griffins host their home finale against Abbotsford on April 8.

Today’s Griffins links:

Alumni news and notes:

Video – NHL alumni goals:

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