While Grand Rapids did not earn a ticket to the Calder Cup dance, we can all live on vicariously through a number of former Griffins who have already made a significant impact in the opening round.
No alumnus has had a greater impact on the early proceedings than Hamilton netminder Drew MacIntyre, who ranks second in the playoffs with a 0.954 save percentage and third with a 1.50 goals against average.
MacIntyre was nothing short of spectacular in Saturday’s 2-1 win over Oklahoma City that gave the Bulldogs a 2-0 series lead. He made 38 saves and shepherded Hamilton unscathed through a third period during which the Barons posted an overwhelming 15-2 advantage in shots.
Speaking of the Barons, while former playoff MVP Alexandre Giroux has yet to notch a point in the series, two-time Calder Cup champion Bryan Helmer scored a goal for Oklahoma City in its 5-2 defeat in Game 1.
Next we turn to the Norfolk Admirals, a team that has built an unthinkable 2-0 lead on Wilkes-Barre/Scranton, the runaway champions of the AHL’s regular season. Expat Mattias Ritola can take much of the credit, scoring the series’ first goal and setting up the game-winner in Norfolk’s 2-1 triumph on Friday.
Milwaukee’s Chris Mueller is tied for sixth in postseason scoring with four points (2-2–4), all of them having come in Thursday’s 5-2 Game 1 victory over Texas. The Stars earned a split with a 3-1 win on Saturday, as Aaron Gagnon’s second goal of the series proved to be the deciding tally.
Erstwhile Grand Rapids captain Matt Ellis has helped stake Atlantic Division champion Portland to a 2-1 advantage over Connecticut, scoring the first goal in Saturday’s 3-2 win in Game 2. He and the Pirates are squaring off against three former Griffins, including Francis Lemieux (1-1–2), Kris Newbury and Jeremy Williams. A fourth member of the Whale, goaltender Dov Grumet-Morris – who spent time with the Griffins this season but did not see action, keeping him off the franchise’s official all-time roster – owns a 2.19 GAA and a 0.921 save percentage in three appearances.
Finally, Ryan Keller is hoping that his Binghamton squad can stage an upset of Manchester, although the Senators trail the series 2-1 following a tough 5-4 overtime loss on Sunday in their first home playoff game in six years. He has chipped in three points (1-2–3) thus far during the series.
Today’s Griffins link:
Alumni news and notes:
MacIntyre remains on fire for Bulldogs (Hamilton Spectator)
Coyotes feel Red Wings forward Darren Helm’s impact (Detroit Free Press)
Red Wings’ Justin Abdelkader looks to get even better in Game 2 (Detroit Free Press)
Healthy Nicklas Kronwall shows what he can do (Detroit News)
- Credit Jimmy Howard for Red Wings’ Game 1 win over Phoenix Coyotes (MLive)
- Howard stars before Red Wings rally in Game 1 (Fox Sports Detroit)
- Video: Holy Howard! (Red Wings)
- Ville Leino loving life, dressing sharply in Philadelphia (Detroit Free Press)
Video – NHL alumni goals:
- PHI Ville Leino – April 16 vs. BUF
- DET Darren Helm – April 16 vs. PHX
- DET Jiri Hudler – April 13 vs. PHX