The Grand Rapids Griffins swept the Milwaukee Admirals on Tuesday evening, advancing into the 2nd round of the AHL Playoffs.
Anthony Mantha was a driving force behind the Griffins being able to eliminate the Admirals in such quick fashion. Mantha has 3 goals just in the first round alone, and will look to add to that total as Grand Rapids begins the Central Division Finals a week from tonight against the Lake Erie Monsters starting at 7pm.
In the elimination game against Milwaukee, Mantha scored two goals for the Griffins. After the game, Detroit Red Wings general manager Ken Holland gave his take on the Griffins advancing to the next round of the Playoffs. It was what he said in regards to Mantha that garnered some attention from Red Wing followers.
Holland preceded to say that both of Mantha’s goals in the clinching game “were goal scorers’ goals.” It’s kind of funny that Holland would say something like that after he assigned Mantha to Grand Rapids right before the first round of the Playoffs when the Red Wings went up against the Tampa Bay Lightning. The Wings were extinct on the power play during the series, which ultimately led to another early Playoff exit. Mantha’s presence on the ice could have been positive for the Wings even though his minutes were limited.
Many say it was an attempt to get Mantha more playing time, and even though he was being sent back down to Grand Rapids, it was probably the best thing for him. His offensive game speaks for itself, but the concern is his play defensively.
Regardless of his supposed lack of being able to play at a high level defensively, I believe Mantha could have been a welcomed sight for the Wings in the series against Tampa Bay with his growing ability to find the back of the net.
Hopefully this doesn’t discourage Mantha at all and he uses it as motivation, continues to go on a tear in the Calder Cup Playoffs, and pick up next season where he leaves off this year.