The optimists among us say that a journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step. The pessimists — or realists, perhaps — point out that the first note is waiting to emerge from the Fat Lady’s throat. But at least until Friday night, the Griffins are still alive.
Whether it was the first chapter in a historic playoff push or simply a delaying of the inevitable, the Griffins displayed their character on Wednesday night with a 2-1 win at Milwaukee. Not only did the victory keep Grand Rapids’ flickering postseason hopes from being extinguished, but it also prevented the Admirals from wrapping up the West Division title. It also marked just the 21st regulation loss of the season for Milwaukee, no small feat in that only regular season champion Wilkes-Barre/Scranton (20) has been held without a point fewer times this year.
In short, here is the mountain the Griffins still must scale in order to qualify for the Calder Cup Playoffs: Grand Rapids has to win its final three games, Oklahoma City has to lose its final three games, and several other results involving Chicago, San Antonio and Abbotsford have to fall the Griffins’ way.
It’s a fine line between hope and delusion, one that we’ve been toeing since Grand Rapids’ recent, crushing five-game losing streak began. But in regards to the baby steps of a Griffins playoff journey, only three of the AHL’s 13 games on Friday matter, and each necessary outcome involves a win by the home team.
Obviously, the Griffins must beat Abbotsford in their home finale. Second, Peoria must defeat Chicago in regulation. Third, San Antonio must beat Oklahoma City.
That doesn’t seem too much to ask, especially for a team that has already dodged two bullets this week (including Rockford’s 4-2 win at San Antonio on Tuesday). Don’t compound the challenge by thinking about what would also need to happen on Saturday and Sunday. Just enjoy Friday’s game and hope the Griffins take care of the task at hand.
Today’s Griffins links:
- Pearce backstops Griffins to 2-1 victory (Griffins)
- Griffins still fighting for playoffs (Griffins)
- Video: ‘Getting to know the Griffins,’ Episode 23: Defenseman Sergei Kolosov (MLive)
- Griffins stave off official playoff elimination with win against Milwaukee (MLive)
- Playoff fate all but sealed, Griffins focus on finishing season on strong note (MLive)
- Title-clinching point eludes Admirals again (Milwaukee Journal Sentinel)
- Playoff primer: April 7 (AHL)
Alumni news and notes:
- Red Wings’ Justin Abdelkader impresses while filling in for Valtteri Filppula on scoring line (MLive)
- Versatile Red Wing Justin Abdelkader fits well in many line slots (Detroit Free Press)
- Red Wings’ Abdelkader: ‘I feel like I belong’ (Fox Sports Detroit)
- Wings’ Darren Helm doesn’t mind the grind (Detroit News)
- Red Wings’ Niklas Kronwall not ready for Wednesday (MLive)
- Larsson still needs ‘another step up’ (Red Wings Central)
Video – NHL alumni goals:
- CHI Tomas Kopecky – April 6 vs. STL
- OTT Jason Spezza – April 5 vs. PHI
- BOS Chris Kelly – April 4 at NYR