This is as brutal as brutal can get. The Cleveland Monsters are about to begin a stretch of three road games, in three days, in three different cities. Cleveland travels to Grand Rapids, Rockford, and Chicago while having Columbus pluck players from their roster along the way. The Blue Jackets are unable to turn to Liam Foudy this weekend due to their NHL-CHL agreement.
This means the Monsters are likely going to provide Columbus with options during their upcoming road trip, providing less options for Mike Eaves to turn to.
First stop, Grand Rapids to take on the Griffins. Cleveland absolutely dominated Grand Rapids at home Tuesday in a 6-2 win. The Griffins will without a doubt be seeking revenge. The Monsters will need to do everything they can to avoid falling in a similar fashion that the Griffins did while at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse.
Cleveland has faced Rockford three times this season, winning all three matchups. The Monsters have outscored the IceHogs 15-3 in their three previous games. The only game decided by one goal was December 21st’s matchup in Rockford.
Rockford has 51 points on the season, which puts themselves in 5th place in the AHL’s Central Division. The IceHogs have a negative goal differential this season (-24). Rockford has scored four fewer goals this season while giving up 12 more.
Considering their previous matchups with Rockford and their negative goal differential, Cleveland has quite the opportunity in front of them. It is possible they come away with their fourth straight win against Rockford. Although, the IceHogs could be due for a win and come out victorious against the Monsters.
Cleveland has faced Chicago twice this season, both being wins at Rocket Mortgage FieldHouse. The Monsters scored twice as much as the Wolves in those two games (8-4).
The Wolves have 53 points this season and have given up 11 more goals than they have scored this season. Defense is the name of the game for Chicago. The Wolves have only scored 128 goals this year while surrendering 139. This is the second-fewest amount of goals given up in the division. The only team that has given up less is Milwaukee with 116.
The fact that Chicago is not necessarily the best offense may help a Cleveland team that is prone to giving up goals in bunches. The fact they face teams who have scored fewer goals in each subsequent game in this three day stretch could prove to beneficial when exhaustion inevitably shows up Sunday in Chicago.