The road wasn’t kind to Laval last week as their offence, while bolstered with some additions from the Habs, sputtered as they only mustered up two goals over the weekend in a pair of losses.
The Week That Was
Nov. 6: Crunch 4, Rocket 0 – The addition of Cole Caufield to the lineup wasn’t able to spark Laval’s offence. It was close until near the midway point of the second period when Laval allowed two goals in a 20-second span to make it 3-0 instead of 1-0 and the odds of coming back went down sharply in the process. Former Hab farmhand Gabriel Dumont added an empty-netter.
Nov. 7: Comets 4, Rocket 2 – Through two periods, the offensive drought remained intact and a pair of goals early in the second gave Utica a two-goal lead. However, the much-maligned Laval power play (it’s not just Montreal where they can’t score on the man advantage) scored in the first minute of the third, giving them a chance. However, they weren’t able to add the equalizer; Jesse Ylonen scored late but that was to bring the deficit back to one. Jesper Boqvist added an empty-netter to put it out of reach.
Goals: Laurent Dauphin (7)
Assists: Xavier Ouellet (6)
Points: Laurent Dauphin (9)
+/-: Michael Pezzetta (+7)
PIMS: Louis Belpedio (34)
Shots: Laurent Dauphin (34)
News And Notes
– Lukas Vejdemo and Jean-Christophe Beaudin missed both games due to undisclosed injuries.
– Mattias Norlinder was sent to Laval on a conditioning stint. He’s ineligible to play there on a regular assignment this season but since this is a rehab assignment from his injury in camp, he’s allowed to go down. He’s expected to be recalled following their upcoming game on Wednesday.
– Laval’s penalty kill is off to a good start this season with an 85% success rate, good for a tie for seventh overall.
– Jesse Ylonen was in the lineup which in itself was notable as it means he has had both doses of the vaccine and is cleared for out-of-country travel instead of being limited to games in Canada as he was at the beginning of the season.
Last Game’s Lines:
Dauphin – Poehling – Caufield
Harvey-Pinard – Dea – Ylonen
Roy – Gignac – Bourque
Baddock – Fortin – Martel
Norlinder – Ouellet
Fairbrother – Paquette-Bisson
Schueneman – Belpedio
The Week Ahead
Nov. 10: vs Belleville – Laval is catching the Senators at the right time as Ottawa’s COVID situation has forced them to recall four players from Belleville over the last couple of days which leaves their AHL roster thinned out. One player that’s still there is Jake Lucchini, the player Laval gave away for free. He leads Belleville in scoring with 11 points in 10 games which, if you didn’t catch above, is more than anyone on the Rocket. That trade made no sense then and looks even worse now.
Nov. 12: vs Bridgeport – The veteran-laden Islanders have added another familiar name since the last time these two teams met as goaltender Cory Schneider has made it down to the minors now although he has struggled in his first three games of the season. Leo Komarov, another veteran that cleared waivers last month, hasn’t reported yet as he works his way back from a minor injury but he could be ready by Friday.
Nov. 13: vs Utica – Laval won’t have to wait long to get a shot at a rematch with the Comets who are the only team not to lose this season as they’re 7-0 out of the gate. Their lineup was bolstered considerably on Monday with the additions of Frederik Gauthier and Marian Studenic from New Jersey so the task, which is hard enough with only 18 hours between start times, will be that much harder for the Rocket.
With Laval now at the 10-game mark of the season, there’s enough of a sample size to make some observations. Despite the record, I think there’s more good than bad but I must say I’m a bit underwhelmed by Gabriel Bourque’s performance so far. For someone who got an extended look with the Canadiens in training camp, he has been quiet with the Rocket in the early going. Yes, he was off all of last season but camp and a month in Laval should be enough to take off some of the rust. So far, Bourque has been an okay checker who hasn’t brought much offensively. That’s not a good return at all on a coveted veteran slot. Laval isn’t in a spot where they have extra veterans to run through as they’ve had the last couple of years but that could change as some of Montreal’s players return, pushing others off the roster. If that happens, Bourque would seem to be the obvious choice to sit. And if it doesn’t happen, it still might be worth bringing in another veteran at some point. Teams that have playoff aspirations need big returns from their veterans. At this point, Bourque is the only underachiever on that front.