AHL Preview: Grand Rapids Griffins vs. Charlotte Checkers
After suffering a 1-0 shutout loss yesterday, the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings) will have another chance to get a win against the AHL Western Conference-leading Charlotte Checkers (Carolina Hurricanes) when the two teams square off tonight at Time Warner Cable Arena in Charlotte.
The Griffins outshot the Checkers last night by a 28-17 margin, but were unable to find the back of the net. Luke Pither, fresh off a call-up from the ECHL, got the Checkers goal by beating Petr Mrazek in the first period. Justin Peters got the win and shutout for Charlotte, and will likely see the bulk of starts the rest of the season, with Dan Ellis signing an NHL deal. The Checkers were without eight of their players and the Griffins were without defensemen Brendan Smith and Brian Lashoff, all due to the end of the lockout and opening of NHL training camps.
The Griffins took part in the Red Wings’ Red-White scrimmage game Tuesday night with Trevor Parkes, Nathan Paetsch, Jeff Hoggan and Louis-Marc Aubry all scoring goals. The Wings made their plane available for the Griffins trip to Charlotte, and it will take them to Friday’s game against the Rockford IceHogs (Chicago Blackhawks) as well. Grand Rapids will hope to get its talented top line of Riley Sheahan, Gustav Nyquist and Tomas Tatar back on track as they try and get at least one win against the Checkers in the season’s second to last meeting between the two teams.
The back-to-back games could see the Griffins turn to Tom McCollum in net tonight, facing off against John Muse for Charlotte. The Checkers lost a lot of their scoring talent to the Hurricanes, but need Chris Terry, Jared Staal and Riley Nash to keep up their hot play. Now that the teams got a chance to fell each other out, expect a higher-scoring affair this evening as both teams will look to put more shots on net.