Monsters Begin Round 2 of Playoffs at Home
In the wake of a 5-3 game-three home victory on April 23rd, the Lake Erie Monsters, proud affiliate of the NHL’s Columbus Blue Jackets, drop the puck on game one of a best-of-seven game Central Division Final series on Thursday at The Q vs. the Grand Rapids Griffins, proud affiliate of the NHL’s Detroit Red Wings, with full coverage underway at 7:00 pm on ESPN 850 WKNR and the Monsters Hockey Network.
MONSTERS PRE-SCOUT: Following a 5-3 home win over the Rockford IceHogs in game three of the two teams’ best-of-five game Central Division Semi-Final series on April 23rd, the Lake Erie Monsters claimed their first Calder Cup Playoff series win in franchise history heading into the best-of-seven Central Division Finals vs. the Grand Rapids Griffins. Lake Erie is currently led in playoff scoring by right wings Josh Anderson (4-1-5) and Oliver Bjorkstrand (2-2-4), and center Alex Broadhurst (1-3-4). The Monsters capped the regular season at 43-22-6-5 and with a .638 points percentage, finished in second place in the Central Division standings and third in the Western Conference.
GRIFFINS PRE-SCOUT: In the wake of a 4-1 home win over the Milwaukee Admirals in game three of the two teams’ best-of-five game Central Division Semi-Final series on April 26th, the Griffins enter the best-of-seven Central Division Finals vs. the Monsters on Thursday in Cleveland. Grand Rapids is currently led in playoff scoring by left wing Anthony Mantha (3-1-4), right wing Martin Frk (1-3-4) and left wing Tyler Bertuzzi (3-0-3). At 44-30-1-1 and with a .592 points percentage, the Griffins finished the 2015-16 regular season in fourth place in the Central Division and seventh place in the Western Conference.
KEYS TO SUCCESS
- SHAKE IT OFF: Both the Monsters and Griffins will need to overcome the effects of lengthy layoffs in Thursday’s game one with Lake Erie enduring 12 days off since the end of their first-round series and Grand Rapids going nine days between Calder Cup Playoff rounds.
- CLEAN SLATE: The challenge for both teams on Thursday will be leaving behind the results posted and tendencies revealed in the two teams’ 12-game regular-season series.
- FILL ‘ER UP: Thursday’s game one pits a Monsters offense that is averaging 5.00 goals per game in the playoffs against a stingy Grand Rapids defense that has allowed just 1.00 goal against per game in the postseason.
SEASON SERIES: In a 12-game regular-season series vs. Grand Rapids this year, the Monsters posted a 5-3-3-1 overall record and a record of 3-2-1-0 at Quicken Loans Arena. Overall, Lake Erie maintained a -1 goal differential (34/35) vs. the Griffins and an even goal differential (18/18) vs. Grand Rapids at home this year.
BETWEEN THE PIPES: Anton Forsberg tied a Monsters franchise record for wins this regular season, posting a 23-10-5 record in a team-high 41 appearances with two shutouts, a 2.40 GAA and a .914 S%. In his last appearance, Forsberg stopped 22 of the 23 pucks he faced in a 3-1 home win over Charlotte on April 14th. Forsberg has yet to appear in a playoff game for the Monsters this season. Joonas Korpisalo went 8-8-2 in 18 appearances for Lake Erie this season with two shutouts, a 2.36 GAA and a .913 S%. In his last outing, Korpisalo stopped 21 of the 24 pucks he faced in a 5-3 home win over Rockford on April 23rd in game three of the two teams’ best-of-five game Central Division Semi-Final series. Thus far in the playoffs, Korpisalo is 3-0-0 in three appearances with a 2.00 GAA and a .924 S%. In three appearances vs. Grand Rapids during the regular season, Korpisalo earned a record of 2-1-0 with a 2.36 GAA and a .909 S%. At home in the regular season, Korpisalo went 3-3-2 in eight appearances with one shutout. A 2.23 GAA and a .913 S%.
Veteran Griffins goaltender Tom McCollum is 3-0-0 in the playoffs with a 1.00 GAA and a .968 S%. In his last appearance, McCollum stopped 28 of the 29 pucks he faced in a 4-1 home win vs. the Milwaukee Admirals on April 26th. Vs. Lake Erie in the regular season, McCollum went 2-2-0 in five appearances with a 2.59 GAA and a .916 S%. On the road in the playoffs, McCollum is 2-0-0 in two appearances with a 1.01 GAA and a .969 S%. Jared Coreau has yet to appear in the playoffs for Grand Rapids, but in the regular season, Coreau went 29-15-2 in 47 appearances with six shutouts, a 2.43 GAA and a .922 S%. In his last appearance, Coreau stopped 23 of the 27 pucks he faced in a 4-0 road loss to Rockford on April 15th. Vs. the Monsters in regular season, Coreau went 5-2-1 in eight appearances with one shutout, a 3.19 GAA and a .923 S%. On the road in the regular season, Coreau went 12-11-1 in 24 appearances with four shutouts, a 2.81 GAA and a .917 S%.