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Montreal’s offence came to life as they picked up a critical four victories to get themselves back in the postseason picture.  The opposite occurred in Laval as their scoring struggles continued which resulted in them dropping out of a playoff spot for the time being.

Spotlight Players

Daniel Carr: It certainly took long enough for him to get a recall but he certainly has made a strong impression with four points through two games.  He also has given the fourth line a needed boost offensively which is something that had been sorely lacking.  Hopefully, his demotion to Laval was just a paper transaction to slow down his waiver clock and that he’ll be back with the big club quickly.

Victor Mete: Things could have gotten ugly after he tipped one in his own net in the first game against Detroit.  His ice time was already quite low and his leash has been really short lately.  Fortunately, he made a few nice plays in the second period of that game to stay out of the doghouse and followed that up with a strong showing on Saturday.  Even with Brandon Davidson gone, his spot is still in jeopardy (will they keep eight blueliners the rest of the way?) so he needs a few games like this to have a chance to stick around longer.

David Schlemko: So far, so good.  His mobility has stood out in a good way while he has more than held his own on his opposite side so far.  He’s not going to be a huge impact player by any stretch but he should be able to log more minutes than a typical third pairing defender which should help take a bit of wear and tear off the top-four as the season progresses.

StatPack

Skaters:

# Player GP G A +/- PIMS SOG ATOI
6 Shea Weber 1 0 1 +2 0 1 22:24
8 Jordie Benn 4 1 0 +4 2 7 20:31
11 Brendan Gallagher 4 4 1 +4 2 16 15:29
14 Tomas Plekanec 4 0 4 +5 2 5 18:19
20 Nicolas Deslauriers 4 1 2 +4 0 4 10:49
21 David Schlemko 3 0 0 +7 0 2 18:14
22 Karl Alzner 4 0 0 +2 0 4 21:17
24 Phillip Danault 4 1 3 +3 6 6 17:22
25 Jacob de la Rose 4 1 3 +4 4 2 11:20
26 Jeff Petry 4 0 3 +1 0 4 24:35
27 Alex Galchenyuk 4 1 5 +1 0 14 14:18
28 Jakub Jerabek 3 0 0 +2 0 1 15:37
41 Paul Byron 4 3 1 +1 0 9 16:39
42 Byron Froese 4 0 2 +2 2 2 10:06
43 Daniel Carr 2 1 3 +3 0 2 11:05
45 Joe Morrow 2 0 0 +1 2 4 19:37
53 Victor Mete 3 0 1 +6 0 1 11:36
54 Charles Hudon 4 2 1 +4 2 9 14:11
65 Andrew Shaw 4 3 1 +2 2 8 18:10
67 Max Pacioretty 4 1 3 +3 2 13 18:40
92 Jonathan Drouin 2 2 0 -1 2 4 13:54

Goalies:

# Player Record GAA SV% SO
31 Carey Price 4-0-0 1.50 .950 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Brendan Gallagher (13)
Assists: Danault/Drouin (12)
Points: Brendan Gallagher (19)
+/-: Tomas Plekanec (+8)
PIMS: Andrew Shaw (30)
Shots: Max Pacioretty (117)

Laval Report

Although the Rocket finally managed to (narrowly) snap their seven-game losing streak, the lack of victories finally caught up with them as they have fallen out of a playoff spot for the first time this season.

News and Notes:

- Laval got some good news on the injury front as both Noah Juulsen and Markus Eisenschmid were cleared to play.  Unfortunately, they also got some bad news as Michael McCarron got cut by a skate behind his ear and needed emergency surgery.  He’s out indefinitely.

- Zach Fucale was assigned to ECHL Brampton to get some playing time.  The original plan was that he’ll be recalled in the next few days and the three-goalie logjam will be in place once again.

- Defenceman Matt Taormina leads all AHL defencemen in assists with 21.

- Lines from last game:

Forwards:

Terry – Audette – Eisenschmid
Veilleux – Cracknell – Gregoire
Boucher – Petti – Baun
Broll – Ebbing – Waked

Defence:

Taormina – Lernout
Parisi – Juulsen
Bourque – Leblanc

Results:

November 29: Belleville 3, Laval 2 (OT)
December 1: Syracuse 2, Laval 1
December 2: Laval 4, Lehigh Valley 3 (OT)

StatPack

Skaters:

# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
2 Eric Gelinas 1 0 0 -1 1 2
4 Simon Bourque 2 0 0 -1 2 0
5 Tom Parisi 3 0 0 -2 6 4
6 Stefan Leblanc 3 0 0 E 4 0
8 Noah Juulsen 3 0 0 E 7 0
11 Daniel Carr 1 1 0 E 6 0
12 Kyle Baun 3 0 0 -1 5 2
14 Brett Lernout 3 0 0 -1 4 0
15 Thomas Ebbing 3 0 0 -2 3 0
19 Antoine Waked 3 0 0 -1 1 0
22 Chris Terry 3 2 2 +1 9 2
23 Niki Petti 3 0 1 -2 1 0
24 Daniel Audette 3 1 1 -3 7 2
25 Michael McCarron 2 0 1 E 1 0
27 Adam Cracknell 2 2 0 +2 7 4
27 Peter Holland 1 0 1 +1 2 0
28 Yannick Veilleux 3 0 0 E 4 7
34 David Broll 1 0 0 -1 1 0
37 Jeremy Gregoire 3 1 1 +2 8 0
38 Markus Eisenschmid 2 0 1 +1 4 0
39 Jordan Boucher 3 0 0 -1 2 2
40 Matt Taormina 3 0 4 E 8 0

Goalies:

# Player Record GAA SV% SO
33 Michael McNiven 1-0-0 2.96 .885 0
35 Charlie Lindgren 0-1-1 2.51 .914 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Daniel Carr (12)
Assists: Matt Taormina (21)
Points: Matt Taormina (23)
+/-: Jakub Jerabek (+10)
PIMS: Yannick Veilleux (40)
Shots: Chris Terry (65)

Upcoming Schedule:

December 6: Binghamton vs Laval
December 8: Toronto vs Laval
December 9:
Toronto vs Laval

Final Thought

Marc Bergevin is viewed as a GM who is enamoured with depth.  He is consistently tinkering with the edges of the roster and under his tenure, having sufficient roster depth hasn’t been too great of a concern.  That’s starting to change in a hurry, however.  Slowly but surely, the depth is starting to erode:

- Mark Streit gets released after he played just two games
– Martin Reway gets released after not wanting to stay in Laval (this one isn’t on Bergevin though)
– Torrey Mitchell is dealt for a draft pick
– Peter Holland, their lone AHL centre with any offensive upside, is dealt for a grittier fourth line option
– Brandon Davidson is lost via waivers to Edmonton

All of a sudden, that’s two defencemen gone without any replacement plus two centres gone without being replaced.  (Cracknell has played a bit of centre in recent years but is better served on the wing.)  They already had lousy centre depth in the AHL and now there aren’t really any NHL-ready blueliners to bring up either; Matt Taormina isn’t a strong defender in his own end, Brett Lernout’s having a tough year, and Noah Juulsen’s just coming back from injury.

For those of you who bemoan the minor deals, you’re not going to like this.  Bergevin needs to make a minor trade or two to replenish some of that depth.  No, adding a couple of fringe players (to likely stash in the minors) won’t fix their big needs but doing so would certainly be beneficial towards hedging against further injuries.  It won’t be an exciting move but it’s a needed one.