LAST 10: Oklahoma City 6-3-0-1; Grand Rapids 7-3-0-0
Season Series: Tonight is the first of four meetings this season between Oklahoma City and Grand Rapids. Last season, the two teams met eight times with each side coming away with four wins. Two of the wins by Grand Rapids came in a shootout.
Big Story: The Barons and Griffins come into this game with 38 points apiece. The Griffins are first in the Midwest Division, two points up on Rockford. Oklahoma City has a real opportunity this weekend to make a play for top spot in the South Division. They currently sit three points behind Charlotte with two games in hand. With three games in three days this weekend and the Checkers visiting Oklahoma City next weekend, they can make a serious move with some wins.
Barons: The Barons have won four out of their last five games and overall have picked up at least a point in seven of their last nine games (6-2-0-1). Their last game out was a 4-2 loss to Houston on January 1.
Griffins: Grand Rapids has won five of their last six games with their most recent being a 3-1 win over Rockford to claim top spot in the Midwest Division on New Year's Eve. The Griffins will be looking to get two points out of this contest tonight as seven of their next eight games are on the road. Gustav Nyquist is the Griffins' leading scorer with 29 points in 30 games (10g, 19a). The Barons have five players with a better point-per-game average than Nyquist and four with more points than the Griffins forward.
Who's Hot: OKC is No. 1 in overall power play percentage at 25.7, with 36 goals in 140 opportunities. The Barons are 4-for-5 on the power play in their last 2 games. OKC has killed 76 of its last 90 times short spanning 21 games (84.4) after killing 38 of 54 times short over its first 11 games (70.4%). OKC’s season PK rate of 79.2 is tied for 28th. Taylor Hall is tied for the AHL lead in power play goals with 8.
Injury Report: Antti Tyrvainen (wrist) is out. Dan Ringwald (arm) is out. Kristians Pelss (suspension) is out. Brandon Davidson (cancer treatment) is out. Chris VandeVelde (suspension) is available to return to the lineup. Ryan Nugent-Hopkins is in Ufa, Russia for the World Junior Tournament.
Puck Drop: Justin Schultz has played 26 consecutive games without being penalized...his last of 3 minors on the season was Oct. 26 vs. Houston...Jordan Eberle set Barons records for fastest 2 goals (9 seconds) and quickest 3 goals by an individual (2:43) in a natural hat trick in a 5-2 win over Texas New Year’s Eve...Eberle’s 2 goals in 9 seconds is also a team mark...Eberle has 2 hat tricks this season and Taylor Hall has 1, all in the past 8 games...OKC did not have a hat trick from April 8, 2011 until Eberle’s first on Dec. 15...Nathan Deck has been named a starting defenceman for the ECHL All-Star Game Jan. 23.
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