Weekly Plus - Minus 02/10/09|
Best and worst performances of the week...
By Jason Kasiorek
The Griffins managed a split in four games last week, winning their first two in convincing fashion and then dropping a pair including a franchise record stomping by the Toronto Marlies. They opened the week on the road in Quad City with Jimmy Howard making a 44 save performance to top the Flames 3-2. Daniel Larsson had a weak outing at home on Friday, but thanks to some timely offense managed to beat the Chicago Wolves 6-3. Saturday the visiting Lake Erie Monsters beat a lackluster Griffins team 4-1, setting up Sunday's 10-5 road loss in Toronto. That game featured both netminders being pulled and then returning and set five new team records for futility.
Grand Rapids was hanging on with a patchwork lineup with Darren Helm and Ville Leino enjoying extended stays in Detroit (NHL). Also missing from the lineup were Jonathan Ericsson (wrist), Mattias Ritola (lower body), Jamie Tardif (unspecified)and Sergei Kolosov (unspecified), prompting the Griffins to recall D Brett Peterson from Phoenix (ECHL) and sign LW Mike Walsh from Utah (ECHL). The lineup shift also allowed some other players to come to the forefront as Jan Mursak and Walsh both tallied their first goals of the season.
This weeks top three plus and minus performances:
The captain picked up the slack offensively piling up 7 points (3 goals & 4 assists) in 4 games with a team high +3 defensive rating. He also posted a season high three assists against the Wolves including setting up Walsh for the game winner.
Abdelkader had a career best three assist night last week on his way to six points in four games. The gritty winger returned from the NHL energized, and looked to be playing some of his best hockey of the season.
Evan was a factor in all four games last week, setting up the game winner on Wednesday, scoring a shorty on Friday, and notching a powerplay marker on Sunday. McGrath has developed a tenacity and consistency that was lacking in the past, and lately seems to have found another gear in his skating.
Downey tried to pick his game up the last couple of contests, but has been so focused on making the big hit and playing to the crowd, that he is frequently out of position and a defensive liability. The veteran winger had no points and was a team worst -6 over the last week with three shots on goal.
After dominating the league for most of the last three months, Larsson had a pair of bad games in a row, prompting speculation that he has fallen back to earth. While his play has not been up to his usual standards, in his defense the team has not played well in front of either netminder, and both of them took a beating statistically this week.
Pare missed a couple of games with injury last month, and has not looked like himself much since returning. He had one point an assist and only three shots on goal in his last four games after scoring at a point per game pace since November.