Last week was a strong one for Laval. They finished up their home stretch on a winning note before heading out West to take three straight from Stockton to retake first place in the Canadian Division.
The Week That Was
Mar. 15: Rocket 3, Senators 2 – Jordan Weal got Laval on the board early with his first goal in ten games but it was the prospects that made the difference later on. Joel Teasdale got the lead back in the second just seconds after Belleville tied it up while Ryan Poehling picked up the winner on the power play with less than three minutes left in regulation.
Mar. 18: Rocket 4, Heat 3 (OT) – This is a game where it’s nice to say that Laval won but it never should have gotten there. They had a 3-0 lead after 20 minutes before proceeding to blow with the tying goal coming with 19 seconds left in regulation. Fortunately, Poehling picked up the winner in overtime, showing that someone in the Montreal organization is capable of scoring at three-on-three.
Mar. 20: Rocket 4, Heat 3 – While Laval managed to hold on and not entirely blow the lead, they came close. They had a three-goal lead just past the midway point of the third after Jesse Ylonen scored on the power play but Stockton pushed back to get within one with a minute to go. Former Laval captain Byron Froese picked up his first goal of the season in the losing effort.
Mar. 22: Rocket 4, Heat 1 – This one was another close game despite the final score as two of the goals were into the empty net. Teasdale and Joseph Blandisi had a pair of goals in the victory while Cayden Primeau had his best single-game save percentage since the season-opener.
Goals: Joseph Blandisi (6)
Assists: Otto Leskinen (8)
Points: Joseph Blandisi (13)
+/-: Blandisi/Leskinen (+8)
PIMS: Alex Belzile (29)
Shots: Otto Leskinen (41)
News And Notes
– Yannick Veilleux received a two-game suspension for a gesture that presumably was directed towards Marlies forward Richard Clune. He returned for the final game of the week against Stockton and was ejected for a kneeing incident before the five-minute mark of the first period.
– While Gustav Olofsson is serving a two-week quarantine period after returning for the birth of his child, he was recalled to Montreal to serve as a filler on the taxi squad.
– After the third game against Stockton, Jordan Weal had six points in his last five games after being held pointless in seven straight.
Last Game’s Lines:
Harvey-Pinard – Weal – Ylonen
Veilleux – Vejdemo – Belzile
Blandisi – Poehling – Teasdale
Baddock – Mysak – Khisamutdinov
Schueneman – Leskinen
Bisson – Fleury
Brisebois – Brook
The Week Ahead
Mar. 23: at Stockton – Laval played the final game of their set against the Heat on Tuesday and it will be covered in next week’s column.
Mar. 25/26/28: at Manitoba – It has been a tough last week or so from a personnel standpoint for the Moose as top goalie Eric Comrie and top defenceman Ville Heinola were recalled to Winnipeg while Brogan Rafferty’s stint with Manitoba never got off the ground as Vancouver had to recall him just days after sending him down. Veteran Nathan Todd continues to impress for Manitoba; after recording just one goal (and point) in 27 games over the past three seasons, he has 16 points in as many games to lead the team in scoring.
One player that rarely gets any attention is Joseph Blandisi. He was a part of last year’s four-player swap with Pittsburgh and was on the borderline for being qualified last offseason. He ultimately was but was quickly dismissed as an afterthought in terms of the roster.
He probably shouldn’t have been. With 101 career NHL games under his belt, he is Laval’s most experienced forward in terms of NHL games. With 31 points in those contests, it’s not as if he is just a filler either; he can actually produce a bit. He can also play centre (though he has spent a good chunk of this year on the wing) which comes in handy.
Unfortunately, he’s not really a fit to bring up at the moment. Even if Jake Evans goes down, whoever replaces him needs to be able to play defence and that’s not Blandisi’s specialty at all. For him to be a viable recall, he needs to be in an offensive role and that probably isn’t going to happen.
As a result, he’s basically a player that’s stuck in limbo. He’s a key piece for Laval this season but even so, a recall doesn’t appear to be in the cards. Even so, he’s somewhat that probably should be getting a bit more attention than he’s getting now.