Weekly Plus - Minus 02/03/09|
Best and worst performances of the week...
By Jason Kasiorek
Grand Rapids had a pair of games against the last place Rochester Americans on the schedule last week, and managed 3 of 4 points out of them. They opened the weekend with a less then stellar effort and dropped a 2-3 shootout loss highlighted by Sergei Kolosov's first career goal. The second game started out the same before the switch came on and the team scored 5 third period goals to take an 8-4 win.
Frankie Lemieux notched his second hat trick of the season in the rout, while Ryan Oulahen and Kolosov both had three goals in the two games. Evan McGrath (4 assists) and Darren Helm (1 goal, 3 assists) each added four points of their own over the weekend. Reigning AHL player of the week Jimmy Howard was very sharp in the shootout loss, while Daniel Larsson had a rare off night despite winning the 8-4 blowout. The team played without forwards Ville Leino and Justin Abdelkader who had been summoned to Detroit (NHL). Veteran Aaron Downey had been recalled earlier in the week, but was returned Friday morning.
This weeks top three plus and minus performances:
The hulking Bellarussian defenseman had a great weekend, scoring his first career goal on Friday and then adding two more on Saturday. More importantly the goals seemed to boost his confidence and energize his game as his level of play continues to rise.
Oulahen continued his strong play this week, racking up three goals in two games while logging major minutes in all situations. The steady veteran has long been the teams defensive conscience but his recent surge has left him one goal away from his career high of 14.
McGrath had a career high four assist night on Saturday, playing the right side with super rookie Frankie Pare and gritty Frankie Lemieux. The third year forward has already set a new personal best mark in assists, and is closing in on his points mark despite having played only 40 games.
The captain's game went back in the tank over the weekend as he managed only an assist and three shots while posting a team worst -4 rating. The biggest question now is can he find his game before the postseason starts.
Emmerton saw prime ice time with Ritola and Haydar the last few games, and had very little to show for it. The slumping rookie simply has to take better advantage of his opportunities, as he was scoreless with a -2 last week.
It seems to be getting easier to bag on Downey, but his play has noticeably dropped off and he doesn't seem to bring the energy he did earlier in the season. A recall to Detroit did not help matters, and he seems disinterested in playing a physical game or dropping the gloves.