It was a quiet week for Laval but a good one as the Rocket won a big divisional battle against Utica in their lone game. After getting some players back for that game, they’re also set to get some more help on the injury front for their upcoming contests this week.
The Week That Was
Jan. 19: Rocket 4, Comets 3 – Jesse Ylonen was among the players who were returning for Laval in this one and he made an immediate impact with a pair of power play goals. Louie Belpedio gave them a two-goal lead halfway through the second but that was fairly short-lived. In the end, it was a pair of players on AHL contracts that teamed up for the winner as Jean-Christophe Beaudin set up Peter Abbandonato for another power play marker. The Rocket were 3/3 with the man advantage in this one and needed all of those goals to pull off the victory.
Goals: Laurent Dauphin (11)
Assists: Paquette-Bisson/Ylonen (10)
Points: Dauphin/Roy/Ylonen (16)
+/-: Rafael Harvey-Pinard (+10)
PIMS: Louie Belpedio (51)
Shots: Danick Martel (71)
News And Notes
– On the injury front, Xavier Ouellet and Joel Teasdale are set to return this week. It’ll be Teasdale’s first action of the season after undergoing knee surgery while Ouellet will be a welcome addition to bring their back end closer to full strength. It’s not there yet as Josh Brook is still out but he has resumed skating as well while Corey Schueneman should be back from the taxi squad fairly soon.
– As Laval gets closer to full strength, they sent Cam Hillis, Justin Ducharme, and Charles-David Beaudoin back to Trois-Rivieres of the ECHL. All three were healthy scratches in their victory over Utica.
– As a result of public health restrictions, Laval’s next three home games will be played without spectators.
Last Game’s Lines:
Bourque – Dea – Ylonen
Harvey-Pinard – Beaudin – Belzile
Martel – Abbandonato – Roy
Baddock – Fortin – Smith-Pelly
Fairbrother – Belpedio
Paquette-Bisson – Neill
Amorosa – Dello
The Week Ahead
Jan. 28/29: at Texas – It’s a rare trip out to the West for Laval as they get the Stars’ affiliate, a team that is usually pretty strong but is struggling this season as they’re in last in the Central Division. Last year’s top rookie Riley Damiani is currently up in Dallas (he played against the Habs not long ago) while Jake Oettinger, who started the season in Texas, is also up with Dallas as is veteran Anton Khudobin who cleared waivers not long ago. The end result is a starter with a .876 SV% in Adam Scheel. Former Hab prospect Jeremy Gregoire is playing with the Stars and has five points in 20 games.
While there’s a plan to ease Joel Teasdale into the lineup with him starting on the fourth line (and probably not playing both ends of the back-to-back), I’m still excited to see what he can do in the second half of the season. There’s a lot I like about his game. It’s not flashy, but he’s efficient, can play at both ends of the rink, and chip in with some physicality. That’s the makings of a useful fourth liner as the Canadiens likely transition to a younger roster.
But what will his skating be like? That has always been a weak spot for him and knee surgeries rarely improve that; they usually make it worse. It will certainly take Teasdale a while to get up to speed but that will be something to keep an eye on in the coming weeks. If he’s able to get back to last year’s level, he could very well find himself back in the mix for a recall at some point and with a few veterans expected to be on the move in the coming weeks which is a nice carrot to try to work towards.