The Red Wings face two Eastern Conference opponents this weekend but I’ve traded in those games for a couple others. Last night I skipped out on the Detroit – Montreal matchup to head to my first Griffins game of the year, a 4-3 Grand Rapids loss to the Texas Stars.
The loss reminded me of many Detroit losses this season. The Griffins were sloppy early. Their passes weren’t connecting, they weren’t taking shots, and when they did shoot they were firing right into Texas goalie Tyler Beskorowany’s chest protector.
The Stars were up 3-0 by the end of the first and made it 4-0 4:09 into the second.
Griffins coach Curt Fraser looked like he wanted to throw something. At various points he was laying into the players on the bench and the officials on the ice. I’m not sure how effective it was but it was entertaining.
The Griffins’ special teams helped them rally back. Brendan Smith had a shorthanded goal on a rush in the middle of the second and Jamie Johnson scored a power play goal late in the period.
Ilari Filppula scored with 48 seconds left and the Griffins skating six-on-four but Grand Rapids couldn’t get the tying goal.
As I said, this looked a lot like some Detroit losses earlier this season. Several Wings looked bad in those games and you’d never guess how good they really are, so I don’t want to pass judgement on the Griffins players based on one night.
That said, Smith looked really good out there. Head and shoulders above everyone except for Jakub Kindl, who’s not even supposed to be there anyway.
Joey MacDonald was strong in net considering the porous defense. He got a little lucky on a first-period penalty shot that beat him but went off the post.
Derek Meech is never coming back to Detroit but looked good. Ilari Filppula looks a lot like his younger brother, passing too much when he should shoot.
I’ve got some photos I’ll get posted to the site when I can.
Part Two of my weekend puts me at the Big House for U-M vs. MSU this afternoon. With the 3:00 start, traffic, and incoming snow, I’m not expecting to make it back to catch the Wings and Devils at 7:00.