AHL Preview: Oklahoma City Barons vs. Grand Rapids Griffins

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Barons vs. Griffins Preview
Michael Sackett – USA TODAY Sports

The Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings affiliate) will face one of their toughest match-ups of the season tonight when the Oklahoma City Barons (Edmonton Oilers affiliate) visit Van Andel Arena for the first time this season.

The Griffins got a big win on Monday, taking sole possession of first place in the Midwest Division with a 3-1 victory over the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks affiliate). The Barons feature three of the league’s top-five scorers: Jordan Eberle (24 goals, 49 points), Taylor Hall (13 goals, 33 points), and Justin Schultz (17 goals, 45 points) and will look to rebound after suffering a loss to the Houston Aeros (Minnesota Wild affiliate) on Tuesday.

Eberle was named AHL Player of the Month for December (he also won the award in November) after scoring 20 points in 11 games. Despite their high-powered offense, the Barons sit third in the South Division, trailing the Aeros by one point and the Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes affiliate) by two points. Goaltender Yann Danis is 13-8-3 in net for Oklahoma City, while rookie Olivier Roy is 4-4 in nine appearances.

The Griffins’ Tomas Tatar has four goals and seven points in the team’s last four games, and goaltender Petr Mrazek now has the fifth-best GAA in the AHL. He will be tested by a Barons team that has scored more goals this season than every AHL team except the Syracuse Crunch (Tampa By Lightning affiliate).

This is the first of four meetings between the two teams this season- the Barons return to Grand Rapids on Jan. 23 and the Griffins will make a trip to Oklahoma Feb. 8-9 for back-to-back games