Laval wasn’t able to keep their win streak going as they returned home and wound up winning only one of their three games last week while they were hit hard on the injury front.
The Week That Was
Nov. 13: Senators 5, Rocket 4 (OT) – Early on, it looked as if Laval was on their way to a seventh straight win as a pair of first period goals had them up early. However, Belleville scored two quick ones to open the second period and eventually took the lead; the game wouldn’t have gotten to overtime had Charles Hudon not picked up his third goal with a little over a minute left. They weren’t able to get the extra point though as Alex Formenton scored on the opening shift of the extra frame.
Nov. 15: Admirals 5, Rocket 2 – Following the ending of their winning streak, it was intriguing to see how the Rocket would respond. They didn’t exactly put forth their best effort and Charlie Lindgren didn’t have his ‘A’ game. Milwaukee scored early and often and this one was over well before the buzzer.
Nov. 16: Rocket 3, Sound Tigers 0 – This was closer than the scoreboard would indicate. Cayden Primeau and Jared Coreau were both perfect through the first two and a half periods before Michael McCarron was able to open up the scoring with seven minutes to go. Laval added a pair of empty netters (including Jake Evans’ first goal of the season) to help secure the victory and the shutout for Primeau.
Goals: Charles Hudon (9)
Assists: Otto Leskinen (8)
Points: Belzile/Vejdemo (12)
+/-: Noah Juulsen (+3)
PIMS: Alex Belzile (26)
Shots: Charles Hudon (60)
News And Notes
– It wasn’t a good week on the injury front for the Rocket. On top of Phil Varone undergoing wrist surgery that will cost him six weeks, they also found out that top defenceman Xavier Ouellet will miss a couple of weeks with a lower-body injury. Dale Weise was also injured in practice. On the plus side, they got Riley Barber back and he had more points over this past week than he did the entire season before he was hurt.
– Ryan Poehling has zero points in his last seven games and snapped a stretch of five straight where he failed to record a single shot. That last bit is the good news. The bad news? He left Saturday’s game early with an injury.
Last Game’s Lines:
Peca – Poehling – Lynch
Belzile – McCarron – Barber
Alain – Vejdemo – Cox
Pezzetta – Evans – Jevpalovs
Olofsson – Juulsen
Leskinen – Lamarche
Alzner – Brook
The Week Ahead
Nov. 20: at Toronto – It’s the second of eight matchups between the division rivals and it will be tough to beat their first game, one that saw plenty of firepower in a 6-5 Rocket shootout victory. Toronto’s depth has taken a bit of a hit with some of their recent injuries but if any team could withstand injury trouble, it’s them. Laval will likely face someone that Montreal fans are familiar with as Michael Hutchinson is back with the Marlies.
Nov. 22/23: vs Utica – Scoring will likely be low in these games as the Comets’ duo of Zane McIntyre and Michael DiPietro have been quite stingy in the early going. Reid Boucher continues to be a high-end AHL scorer while Nikolay Goldobin, who cleared waivers in training camp, is averaging better than a point per game as he looks to turn things around.
I want to mention this before I start this thought. I support the decision to alternate starts between the goalies and believe they should continue for at least a little while yet. For Cayden Primeau’s development, that’s the ideal move.
Having said that, Charlie Lindgren is making it difficult to justify keeping this rotation in place. He has made nine starts this year and allowed at least three goals in six of those. His save percentage has been below .900 in those six outings and his mark for the season (.889) is the third straight one in the .880’s. These are numbers that are well below average for even a minor league backup goalie let alone someone that’s hoping to get back into the mix for an NHL backup position.
There’s not a whole lot that Laval can do here either. He’s potentially in the mix for Carey Price’s backup job next season if he rebounds and he’s already under contract so there’s an incentive to keep playing him. The fact that Lindgren’s deal is a one-way pact lessens his trade value so that option is off the table unless a team gets hit hard by injuries. It’s not a great situation for either side, to be honest, but Lindgren needs to find a way to make the most of it sooner rather than later.