By Jim Byers, on 03/31/2012

Oklahoma City Barons (42-18-4-5) at Grand Rapids Griffins (30-27-6-4)
Barons Game 70 | Road Game 36 | AHL Game 1034
March 31, 2012, 6 pm CDT | Van Andel Arena, Grand Rapids, MI
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: Having clinched a Calder Cup playoff berth last night with a 3-2 win at Milwaukee, the Barons can lock up the West Division title with 1 standing point against the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings). OKC is 4-1-0-2 against the Griffins, with a 2-0-0-1 mark this season at Van Andel Arena. This is the final game of the season series. OKC leads the Western Conference with 93 points, 8 more than Toronto. The Griffins are 13th in the conference with 70 points. Each team is facing the other for the third time in 4 games, as they split a pair at OKC last weekend.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons guaranteed themselves a spot in the Calder Cup playoffs by virtue of last night’s 3-2 win at Milwaukee to open this 2-game trip. OKC is 7-3-2-2 in March and plays its 15th game of the month tonight. The Barons have at least 1 standing point in 10 of the last 11 games (7-1-2-1), 11 of their last 13 and 12 of the last 15 games. The Barons lead the Western Conference in points (93), the second-highest total in the league behind Norfolk (101). OKC’s point percentage (.674) is second only to Norfolk’s .721. The Barons are +40 in goal differential, second in the league behind Norfolk (+80).

Edmonton signed defenseman Mike Marcou to an Amateur Tryout (ATO) on Wednesday and he made his AHL debut last night at Milwaukee. Marcou just finished his senior season at UMass-Amherst, where he had a career-high 21 points on 6 goals and 15 assists in 34 games.

BARONS REACH NEW TERRITORY: With 93 points, OKC has surpassed its point total from the 2010-11 inaugural season (91). Last weekend, the Barons eclipsed their win total from last season, which was 40. The past 2 years mark the first time in the
Edmonton’s NHL tenure that its top affiliate, shared or exclusive, has had back-to-back 40-win seasons.

DANIS SHARES LEAD: Yann Danis is tied for the second straight day with Lake Erie’s Cedrick Desjardins for the AHL’s goals-against average lead at 2.00. Danis matched the Barons’ high for saves in a game, set previously by Olivier Roy, with 36 stops last night. Danis is tied for fourth in wins (25), tied for second in shutouts (5) and is third in save percentage (.927). In 5 starts since returning from a brief injury, Danis is 4-0-1 with a 1.77 goals-against average and a .942 save percentage.

POWER TRIPS: The Barons are 27-1-2-4 when scoring at least 1 power play goal. When they tally 2 or more in a game, they are 7-0-0-1. When held without a power play goal, the Barons are 15-17-2-1. The Barons have faced more penalty kills than power plays in 6 straight and 7 of the last 8 games. In 12 of the past 16 games, OKC has had more penalty kills than power play chances and in the other 4 games the chances were even. Last night, OKC was 10-for-10 on the PK and 0-for-5 on the power play. The Barons are 6-for-53 (11.3%) in those last 16 games on the power play while killing off 74 of 90 times short in the same span (82.2%). The last time the Barons had more power plays than times short was Feb. 22 vs. Texas, a 5-2 home win.

BLUE LINE BOOST: After going 10 games without a goal by a defenseman from Feb. 19-March 10, the Barons have 6 goals from blueliners in the past 8 games: 3 from Taylor Chorney and one each from Kevin Montgomery, Dylan Yeo and Bryan Helmer. OKC is 14-2-0-2 when a defenseman scores a goal, 4-0-0-0 when the D scores twice.

PLUSES: Ryan Keller is tied for fifth in the AHL in plus-minus at +23. Mark Arcobello is tied for 17th at +17. Triston Grant and Josh Green and are part of a group tied for 19th at +16.

ODDS AND ENDS: Hunter Tremblay is tied with Hershey’s Chris Bourque for the AHL lead in shorthanded goals with 5...Bryan Rodney has 4 assists in the past 3 games and
6 in the past 5 contests...OKC is 10-3-2-3 against North Division teams this season, 6-2-0-1 on the road.


March 26: Ryan Lowery recalled from Stockton and Cameron Abney reassigned from Stockton.
March 28: Signed Mike Marcou to an ATO.
March 30: Magnus Paajarvi recalled by Edmonton and returned on loan.

Player Issue Out
Dan Ringwald concussion week-to-week
Curtis Hamilton knee week-to-week
Andrew Lord concussion indefinitely
Taylor Chorney upper body indefinitely
K. Montgomery lower body indefinitely

Last 5 games:
Date Opp. Result OKC Goalie (GA,SV) Opp. Goalie Attn.
March 18 @ Hou SOL, 1-2 Danis (1, 21) Fallon (1, 36) 4,848
March 23 Tex W, 3-1 Danis (1, 34) Campbell (3, 32) 3,146
March 24 GR W, 5-2 Danis (2, 31) McCollum (5, 24) 5,398
March 25 GR L, 1-4 LeNeveu (3, 30) McCollum (1, 43) 2,710
March 30 @ Mil W, 3-2 Danis (2, 36) Smith (3, 24) 9,344

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date Opp. Site Time Broadcast
April 3 Ham Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
April 6 Peo Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
April 7 Chi Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
April 13 Hou Cox Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM
April 14 @ Texas Cedar Park Center 7:00 KXY 96.1 FM

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