The injuries continue to pile up for Laval which has put a dent in their production. However, they were still able to tread water last week, picking up a pair of victories in their four games to hang around the mix of avoiding the play-in round for the playoffs.
The Week That Was
Feb. 28: Rocket 2, Monsters 1 (SO) – Laval came out firing in this one but weren’t rewarded for it much as they scored once on 27 shots over the first two periods. Cleveland was able to tie it up in the back half of the third period on the power play and no one scored in an eventful overtime period. That paved the way for Alexandre Fortin to pick up the winner in the fifth round of the shootout.
Mar. 2: Monsters 4, Rocket 2 – For 50 minutes, things were looking up for Laval. Cayden Primeau looked sharp and Devante Smith-Pelly gave the Rocket an early lead in the third period. Unfortunately, things went off the rails after that as Cleveland tied it up, then got the lead back with less than three minutes left in regulation before eventually adding the empty-netter.
Mar. 4: Canucks 4, Rocket 2 – This time, the bad period came in the second when Abbotsford picked up a trio of goals to get the lead and they never looked back. Sheldon Dries had his league-leading 30th goal of the season into an empty net while Brandon Gignac had a shorthanded marker for Laval in his return to the lineup.
Mar. 5: Rocket 3, Canucks 0 – If you’re struggling to score, shutting the other team out entirely is always a good backup plan. Laval had one of their best defensive efforts of the season, limiting Abbotsford to three shots roughly halfway through the game. It wound up being a pretty easy outing for Kevin Poulin with Jesse Ylonen and J-S Dea adding insurance markers in the third to help secure the win.
|28||Shawn St. Amant||4||1||0||-1||8||4|
Shootout – Skaters:
Shootout – Goalies:
Goals: Jean-Sebastien Dea (16)
Assists: Xavier Ouellet (16)
Points: Jean-Sebastien Dea (26)
+/-: Tory Dello (+16)
PIMS: Louie Belpedio (63)
Shots: Danick Martel (109)
News And Notes
– With Cayden Primeau back up with Montreal, Tristan Berube was the backup goalie over the weekend. He was then replaced by Louis-Phillip Guindon, now on his third PTO deal.
– Speaking of another PTO, Devante Smith-Pelly received his second 25-game deal with the Rocket.
– The back end has taken a beating. Josh Brook’s surgically repaired knee is acting up and he’ll miss a couple of weeks while Tobie Paquette-Bisson and Gianni Fairbrother are out indefinitely and are waiting for MRI results on their respective injuries. Olivier Galipeau was signed to his second PTO deal of the season to get Laval up to six healthy defenders.
– J-C Beaudin and Brandon Gignac are listed as day-to-day and will accompany the team on their upcoming road trip.
Last Game’s Lines:
Harvey-Pinard – Dea – Ylonen
Ducharme – Martel – Roy
Fortin – Abbandonato – Bourque
Teasdale – Hillis – St. Amant
Ouellet – Dello
Niku – Belpedio
Amorosa – Galipeau
The Week Ahead
Mar. 7: vs Springfield – Considering this game will have been played by the time you read this, I won’t dig into much of a preview aside from noting that a trio of former Montreal prospects are on the Thunderbirds – Charlie Lindgren, Will Bitten, and Matthew Peca.
Mar. 9: at Rochester – Laval begins a three-game road trip with a critical matchup against the Americans. The Rocket hold the third seed in the North which is the final guaranteed traditional playoff spot as fourth and fifth will have a three-game play-in series and Rochester currently holds down the fourth spot. Youngsters J.J. Peterka and Jack Quinn lead the way offensively and while they should see some time in Buffalo down the stretch (Quinn has been up already), Laval will have to play against the dynamic rookie duo.
Mar. 11: at Lehigh Valley – It has been a tough year for Philadelphia and the same can be said for their AHL affiliate as the Phantoms are last in the East in points percentage. They’re led offensively by veterans Cal O’Reilly and Adam Clendening while Morgan Frost hasn’t produced as much as expected this season. Cam York, a defenceman many fans wanted in the 2019 draft before Cole Caufield fell, is in his rookie season.
Mar. 12: at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – The Penguins haven’t fared as well as their NHL counterparts this season. They’ve struggled to score with their veterans not producing much and their rookies not yet ready to step up. They recently added Alex Nylander who has helped in that regard, however. Former Hab Michael Chaput is in their lineup while former Montreal prospect Samuel Houde is on a minor-league deal with Wilkes-Barre/Scranton.
This season has gone from bad to worse for Josh Brook in a hurry. After just four games, he has had to be shut down again with swelling in his knee and while they hope he can be back in a couple of weeks, just ask Carey Price how that process is far from a guarantee. Brook had a very narrow window to make a case to Montreal’s new management group that he could still be a part of their plans for the future. That process just got a fair bit harder and at a terrible time too as with the other injuries they have at the moment, the 22-year-old would have been in a spot to play heavy minutes if he was healthy. Sometimes, it’s just not your year and it appears that’s the case for Brook.