By Jim Byers, on 03/24/2012

Grand Rapids Griffins (29-25-6-4) at Oklahoma City Barons (40-17-4-5)
Barons Game 67 |  Home Game 33 |  AHL Game 992
March 24, 2012, 7 pm CDT  | Cox Convention Center, Oklahoma City, OK
Broadcast: KXY 96.1 FM

TONIGHT: The Barons play the first of consecutive home games against the Grand Rapids Griffins (Detroit Red Wings). OKC leads the West Division by a season-high 13 points and tops the Western Conference with 89 points, 8 more than Toronto. The Barons are 3-0-0-2 against the Griffins this season, with a win and shootout loss in the previous games at the Cox Center Oct. 21-22. OKC has won 4 of its last 5 and its last 2 home games after last night’s 3-1 win over Texas. Grand Rapids is 9-4-1-0 in its last 15 and 12th in the conference, 5 points out of a playoff spot.

OFF THE TOP: The Barons have standing points in 8 straight (5-0-2-1), 9 of their last 10 and 10 of the last 12 games. They’re 5-2-2-2 in March with 4 games remaining, counting tonight, in this busiest month of the season (15 games).The Barons lead the Western Conference in points (89), the second-highest total in the league behind Norfolk (95). OKC’s point percentage (.674) is second only to Norfolk’s .709. The Barons are +39 in goal differential, second in the league behind Norfolk (+76). Norfolk won its league-record 19th consecutive game last night in a 2-1 decision over Albany at the Norfolk Scope. OKC’s magic number to clinch a Calder Cup playoff spot is 7.

WIN NO. 40: Last night’s 3-1 win over Texas allowed the Barons to match their win total from last season (40). The 2010-11 Barons won their 40th in Game 79 of the season. This year they reached 40 in 66 games.

DANIS LEADS THE WAY: Yann Danis regained the lead in the goals-against average race last night, as his GAA dropped to 2.00. Lake Erie’s Cedrick Desjardins is second at 2.01. Danis is tied for fourth in wins (23), tied for second in shutouts (5) and fourth in save percentage (.926). He has a 1.70 GAA and .938 save percentage at home this season.

POWER TRIPS: The Barons are 26-1-2-4 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 14-16-2-1.

BLUE LINE BOOST: After going 10 games without a goal by a defenseman from Feb. 19-March 10, the Barons have 6 goals from blue-liners in the past 5 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. In the past 5 games, Barons forwards have 11 goals and the defense has 6.

CLOSE CALLS: The Barons, Bridgeport Sound Tigers and Lake Erie Monsters share the second-most one-goal games in the AHL with 37. OKC is 20-8-4-5 in one-goal finals. Hershey leads with 38 one-goal decisions, going 18-10-4-6.

THREE AT A TIME: This is the middle of 3 home games in 3 days for the Barons, the 11th of 12 sets of 3-in-3 this season and the third involving all home games. The Barons went 1-1-1-0 during a home 3-in-3 Jan. 13-15 and 1-2-0-0 during 3 straight at the Cox Center Feb. 17-19.

FRONT-RUNNING: The Barons remain the only AHL team without a regulation loss when leading at an intermission. OKC is 20-0-2-1 when leading after one period and 28-0-4-0 when in front after two.

PLUSES: Ryan Keller is fifth in the AHL in plus-minus at +23. Taylor Chorney, Triston Grant and Mark Arcobello are part of a group tied for 17th at +16, while Josh Green and Hunter Tremblay among players tied for 24th at +15. Chorney is a team-best +17 in home games this season.

ODDS AND ENDS: Hunter Tremblay notched his fifth shorthanded goal on Saturday against the Stars...Tremblay is tied with Hershey’s Chris Bourque for the AHL lead...Cameron Abney was reassigned by Edmonton to Stockton on Thursday...Abney joined the Barons most recently on Friday, but did not play last weekend.


March 14: Teemu Hartikainen recalled by Edm.
March 15: Cameron Abney reassigned from Stockton.
March 17: Olivier Roy reassigned to Stockton.
March 22: Cameron Abney reassigned to Stockton.

Player                    Issue                Out                 
Dan Ringwald      concussion     week-to-week
Curtis Hamilton   knee                 week-to-week
Andrew Lord       concussion     indefinitely
Alex Plante           concussion     day-to-day

Last 5 games:
Date        Opp.     Result     OKC Goalie (GA,SV)   Opp. Goalie            Attn.
March 13 Rfd        W, 5-2      Roy (2, 36)                     Hutton (L) / Salak      2,400
March 16 @ Tex    W, 4-3      Danis (3, 23)                   Beskorowany (4, 32)  4,734
March 17 @ Tex    W, 4-3      LeNeveu (3, 25)             Raycroft (4, 24)          5,767
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

Next 5 games (all times Central):
Date        Opp.          Site                                Time   Broadcast
March 25  GR              Cox Center                      4:00     KXY 96.1 FM
March 30  @ Mil          Bradley Center                7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
March 31  @ GR         Van Andel Arena            6:00     KXY 96.1 FM
April 3      Ham            Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM
April 6      Peo            Cox Center                      7:00     KXY 96.1 FM     

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