For most of the season, Laval has found a way to battle through adversity and pick up some wins. It’s why they’re sitting as high as they are in the division. This wasn’t one of those weeks as instead, they had a couple of tough outings as the offence struggled considerably.
The Week That Was
Apr. 22: Marlies 5. Rocket 1 – Things got off to a good start for Laval as Joel Teasdale had the lone goal of the first period. However, it all went downhill from there. Kevin Poulin had an off night, the power play went back to struggling, and the end result was Toronto scoring five unanswered to skate away with the critical victory for them.
Apr. 23: Crunch 5, Rocket 1 – Laval has struggled on the road in Syracuse this season (which isn’t ideal as that has been their potential playoff matchup for most of the last two months) and that trend continued in this one. Once again, Teasdale opened the scoring for the Rocket and that basically ended the good news portion. This time, Cayden Primeau didn’t get a lot of support, special teams continued to struggle, and the team more or less got stomped to end the week on a tough note.
Goals: Jean-Sebastien Dea (25)
Assists: Rafael Harvey-Pinard (32)
Points: Rafael Harvey-Pinard (51)
+/-: Tory Dello (+27)
PIMS: Louie Belpedio (88)
Shots: Danick Martel (168)
News And Notes
– Laval somewhat surprisingly got Rafael Harvey-Pinard back before he even missed a game as the Habs sent him back after just one game. They certainly needed him as they lost Cedric Paquette (undisclosed) and Kevin Roy (facial injury) against Toronto and neither played against Syracuse.
– The Rocket have three players in the top ten of the AHL in plus/minus. Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Tory Dello have been up there all season but very quietly, Terrance Amorosa (+22) is just inside the top ten despite only playing in 35 games this season. He may not get into anymore either with Laval’s back end basically set heading into the playoffs.
– Sami Niku was supposed to bring an extra offensive dimension to Laval’s back end but that hasn’t happened. He has been held without a point in seven straight games and has scored just twice in 33 games. By comparison, he had 16 goals (and 54 points) with Manitoba back in 2017-18.
Last Game’s Lines:
Harvey-Pinard – Dea – Ylonen
Martel – Gignac – Belzile
Bourque – Schnarr – Teasdale
Condotta – Beaudin – Smith-Pelly
Ouellet – Niku
Paquette-Bisson – Belpedio
Schueneman – Dello
The Week Ahead
Apr. 27/28: vs Toronto – After a tough outing against the Marlies last week, Laval gets two more cracks against them. They’ve yet to clinch the final playoff spot so they’ll certainly have something to play for. In terms of something you may not know about them, Philippe Myers (the Nashville defenceman) scored his first goal as a Marlie against the Rocket last week and was on their top pairing for that one.
Apr. 30: at Syracuse – It’s quite possible that this will be a first-round preview with the possibility of home ice for that series being on the line. Laval continued their road struggles against the Crunch last week so they’ll have to find a way to change their fortunes if they want to end their season on a high note. Former Hab Charles Hudon has six goals in his last four games.
Looking ahead a little bit to the playoffs, I’m intrigued (and a little worried) when it comes to Cayden Primeau. He has not made a compelling case for playing time and has been outperformed by Kevin Poulin, a player that was signed with an eye on playing him in Trois-Rivieres. Good for Poulin to play his way into more ice time but it’s hard to argue that Primeau should be starting for Laval’s first playoff game (he’ll be sent back from the Habs by then). Here we are with an opportunity for a few Montreal prospects to get some playoff experience and one of their best ones in Laval is looking like a candidate to sit in the postseason. That’s hardly ideal but J-F Houle has no choice to go with who is playing the best and that’s Poulin.