GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. (WOOD) — The Grand Rapids Griffins lost Game 3 of the Western Conference Finals on Thursday night.
Returning to home ice at Van Andel Arena for Game 3, the Griffins lost 4-1 to the Utica Comets. Thursday’s was the Griffins’ first home loss of this postseason.
“I think we played pretty good. Their goalie was good,” Griffins forward Teemu Pulkkinen said. “He’s a big guy. He make a lot of saves.”
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The Griffins now trail the best-of-seven series two games to one, having lost Game 1 and won Game 2 in Utica.
Game 4 is on Friday at Van Andel Arena.
“I’ve got full confidence we’re going to come out tomorrow and play much better than we did tonight,” Griffins head coach Jeff Blashill said. “Now, Utica has something to say about how we play as well. They’ve got a good team. They’re going to push hard early for sure. But I know we’re going to come with our best game.”
- Game 4: 7 p.m. Friday, May 29 at Van Andel Arena
- Game 5: 5 p.m. Sunday, May 31 at Van Andel Arena
- (If necessary) Game 6: 7 p.m. Tuesday, June 2 at Utica
- (If necessary) Game 7: 7 p.m. Wednesday, June 3 at Utica
Blashill didn’t want to talk any more about who will take over for Mike Babcock as the new head coach of the Detroit Red Wings — but Wings General Manager Ken Holland was at the Thursday Griffins game and said he has talked to Blashill about the job.
Still, he said, fans shouldn’t expect a decision for a while.
“He’s a leading candidate,” Holland said of Blashill. “I’ve said all along he’s an NHL coach in the making and certainly he’s done a fabulous job. Now we’ll wait until the playoffs are done.”
Thursday’s game marked the Grand Rapids debut of the newest Griffin, 18-year-old Dylan Larkin, who just left the University of Michigan — where he was the Big Ten Freshman of the Year — to sign with the Detroit Red Wings. He scored two goals in his first two professional games in Utica.