After several so-so weeks, Laval was able to pick up two of a possible three wins last week to put themselves back into a playoff spot for the time being.
The Week That Was
Dec. 4: Rocket 3, Monsters 2 – The power play was key in this one as all five goals were scored with the man advantage. Ryan Poehling assisted on all three of Laval’s tallies while Alex Belzile picked up a pair in his return to the lineup before getting injured once again.
Dec. 6: Crunch 5, Rocket 2 – Keith Kinkaid’s first AHL game since 2014-15 went swimmingly…for Syracuse. It was 4-0 for the Crunch before the 15-minute mark and that was more than enough offensively. Michael Pezzetta received a match penalty in the third period which resulted in an automatic suspension.
Dec. 7: Rocket 4, Thunderbirds 3 – Charlie Lindgren was injured early, forcing Kinkaid into back-to-back action. It took Laval a while to get going but they scored three unanswered in the third period to get the win. Jake Evans had three points in the victory to give him six for the week. On the negative side, Lindgren wasn’t the only one injured as Michael McCarron left after taking a big hit from Henrik Borgstrom.
Goals: Charles Hudon (9)
Assists: Riley Barber (12)
Points: Riley Barber (18)
+/-: Alain/Juulsen (+5)
PIMS: Otto Leskinen (39)
Shots: Riley Barber (79)
News And Notes
– It isn’t Charles Hudon that will be returning to Montreal following yet another AHL assignment. Instead, it’s Riley Barber who’s getting the call. He has 15 points (5-10-15) in 12 games since returning from an early injury.
– David Sklenicka was assigned to ECHL Maine and when he didn’t report, the Habs terminated his contract.
– Dale Weise is playing like someone that knows he has no chance of getting a recall. He has failed to record a single point in his last ten games.
– Christian Folin’s conditioning stint can only last 14 days. He’ll reach 14 on Tuesday so expect either a recall or a waiver placement in the very near future.
Last Game’s Lines:
Poehling – Evans – Barber
Alain – Vejdemo – Cox
Weise – McCarron – Waked
Verbeek – Lynch – Jevpalovs
Ouellet – Folin
Olofsson – Lamarche
Alzner – Brook
The Week Ahead
Dec. 10: vs Cleveland – It’s a rematch of six days ago as the Monsters are back in town. Cleveland is likely to be in a particularly ornery move after allowing a season-high seven goals to Belleville in their last game.
Dec. 13/14: vs Rochester – The Amerks just had a streak of 12 straight games with a point snapped by Charlotte on Saturday. They have allowed the fewest goals of any team in the league but are also one of the lower scoring teams in the North Division. Sophomore Andrew Oglevie leads the team in scoring while former Hab Zach Redmond is their top point-getter on the back end.
Once Karl Alzner cleared waivers, it seemed like he was destined to spend the entire season in Laval. However, part of me thinks that the time might be right to give him a brief stint with the Habs. And no, it’s not because he has five assists in his last six games although considering he had just one helper in his first 20 contests, that’s certainly a positive sign.
Claude Julien didn’t like what he saw from Gustav Olofsson. Otto Leskinen hasn’t been much better (and quite frankly, he isn’t ready yet; he needs to be back in Laval). Defence and penalty killing are what they’re trying to find on that third pairing and that just happens to be what Alzner can provide.
Alzner didn’t get a lot of credit but he played a big role in Cale Fleury’s improvement over the second half of last season and it just so happens that Fleury would be his partner in Montreal so the familiarity would also be beneficial. Is this what they were hoping for when they signed him? Of course not. But as things stand, Alzner might very well be worthy of another chance with the Habs while Victor Mete is out.