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Red Wings Daily: Griffins Lose Final Home Game, AHL Playoffs In Serious Jeopardy

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Jonatan Berggren, Detroit Red Wings
Jonatan Berggren scored his 20th goal of the AHL season as Grand Rapids lost to Chicago on Friday.

With the Chicago Wolves maintaining their season-long mastery over the Grand Rapids Griffins, the chances of the top farm club of the Detroit Red Wings partaking in the AHL’s second season grew slimmer.

The Wolves improved to 5-0-1 over the Griffins at Van Andel Arena this season via a 4-2 victory on Friday. With the loss, the Griffins fell to a .493 points percentage on the season. Both the Iowa Wild and Texas Stars are at .514. Just one of these three teams will qualify for postseason play.

Since the AHL is playing an unbalanced schedule, points percentage is determining playoff positions.

Playing before a sellout crowd of 10,834, a combination of COVID-19 and a flu bug left the Griffins severely short-staffed. Coach Ben Simon and defenseman Jordan McIsaac missed the game due to COVID-19 protocol. Goaltender Viktor Brattstrom was unable to play, while defenseman Seth Barton and center Chase Pearson couldn’t finish the game.

To extend their franchise-record playoff streak to eight seasons, the Griffins will need to win each of their final three games. They must also have Iowa beat Texas on Saturday before losing its final two games against Rockford in regulation, and also have Texas lose its final game at Manitoba. The Stars would have to earn no more than one point in those two losses.

Posting a two-point outing, Riley Barber has recorded points in 14 straight games (12-719). That’s the longest streak in the AHL this season. Jonatan Berggren pushed his point streak to eight games (5-7-12). With 58 points (20-38—58), Berggren has now tied Gustav Nyquist (2011-12) for second on the Griffins rookie-scoring list. The Swede’s 20 goals also tie him with Evgeny Svechnikov (2016-17) and Glen Metropolit (1997-98) for the eighth-most by a Griffins rookie.

Flower Bloomed Against Red Wings

The Pittsburgh Penguins arrive in Detroit on Saturday to play the Red Wings at Little Caesars Arena. It figures that there will be a moment of silence prior to the game to mark Friday’s passing of Montreal Canadiens legend and Hockey Hall of Famer Guy Lafleur.

The Flower lit more red lamps against the Red Wings and Penguins than any other NHL teams. He scored 46 of his 560 NHL regular-season goals each against Detroit and Pittsburgh.

Red Wings In Case You Missed It

National Hockey Network

Pittsburgh: Forward Jeff Carter (lower-body injury) practised with the Pittsburgh Penguins on Friday. Forward Jason Zucker (non-COVID illness) did not but will make the trip to Detroit for Saturday’s game.

Boston: Despite firing 52 shots on goal, the Boston Bruins were blanked Thursday by the Penguins.

Philadelphia: A win over the Montreal Canadiens halted the six-game losing skid of the Philadelphia Flyers but hindered the club’s draft lottery status.

Washington: Alex Ovechkin was discussing the historic ninth 50-goal season recorded by the Washington Capitals captain.

Islanders: Three New York Islanders, including forward Jean-Gabriel Pageau and assistant coaches Jim Hiller and Lane Lambert, both former Red Wings players, have entered COVID-19 protocol.

Florida: Thursday’s 5-2 win over the Red Wings ended up clinching both the Atlantic Division title and top seed in the NHL’s Eastern Conference for the Florida Panthers.

Colorado: Joe Sakic, GM of the Colorado Avalanche, was Guy Lafleur’s roommate when the two were playing for the Quebec Nordiques.

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San Jose: Rumours are that broadcaster and former NHL goalie Kevin Weekes is a strong candidate to be the San Jose Sharks’ next GM.

Vegas: Peter DeBoer, coach of the Vegas Golden Knights, denied an ESPN report that goaltender Robin Lehner would be undergoing season-ending knee surgery.

Vancouver: Saturday could officially end the playoff hopes of the Vancouver Canucks.

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