While Laval’s brief homestand ended on a disappointing note, they rebounded quite nicely to pick up a pair of road victories in Toronto with a newcomer making an immediate impact.
The Week That Was
Apr. 6: Heat 3, Rocket 1 – This was the seventh matchup in less than three weeks and it was fair to say they had seen enough of each other by the time the game actually rolled around. Yannick Veilleux had the lone goal for Laval but a goal late in the second erased that lead. It looked like it could be heading for overtime but former Hab Byron Froese’s late goal secured the victory for Stockton.
Apr. 8: Rocket 5, Marlies 3 – The hype was up for this one with Charlie Lindgren making his long-awaited return from the taxi squad. No, that doesn’t seem right… Yes, Cole Caufield made his professional debut and it went about as well as anyone could have hoped for. He tied it up after Toronto scored the only goal in the first. He then set up another tying goal from Xavier Ouellet. Saving the best for last, he picked up the winner midway through the third. Between that and winning the Hobey Baker Award hours earlier, it was a pretty good few hours on Friday for Caufield.
Apr. 10: Rocket 4, Marlies 3 – Things were looking good early on with Laurent Dauphin picking up a pair of goals in the first but those were erased in the second. Michael Pezzetta then gave Laval the lead back in the third before Tobie Paquette-Bisson restored the two-goal advantage, or so it seemed. The goal was eventually changed to Caufield and with the Marlies getting one late, he wound up with his second game-winner in as many games.
Goals: Blandisi/Poehling (9)
Assists: Jordan Weal (16)
Points: Jordan Weal (21)
+/-: Harvey-Pinard/Leskinen (+13)
PIMS: Brandon Baddock (47)
Shots: Jordan Weal (55)
News And Notes
– Xavier Ouellet was recalled to Montreal’s taxi squad on Sunday (a day before Montreal actually announced it) and will likely remain there for the week with Jon Merrill and Erik Gustafsson needing to go through quarantine.
– With the NHL trade deadline passing, players had to be either on the AHL roster or the taxi squad in order to be eligible to play in the minors for the rest of the season. Worth noting, while they were recalled for Montreal’s game Monday, Ouellet, Otto Leskinen, and Cayden Primeau were on the taxi squad when the deadline hit so they remain AHL-eligible for the stretch run.
– With his two assists, Rafael Harvey-Pinard is now tied for fourth in scoring among all rookies. He’s tied with 2020 second-overall pick Quinton Byfield and top-scoring junior winger Arthur Kaliyev. Pretty good company to be in…
– Jacob LeGuerrier got into all three games this week, making his NHL debut in the process. The Habs have until June 1st to sign him or lose his rights, the same situation as Rafael Harvey-Pinard.
– Hayden Verbeek was included in the trade for Merrill. He had played in seven straight games after being a healthy scratch for the entire first half of the season.
Last Game’s Lines:
Blandisi – Poehling – Teasdale
Veilleux – Weal – Caufield
Lucchini – Dauphin – Harvey-Pinard
Pezzetta – Hillis – Verbeek
Schueneman – Brook
Bisson – Olofsson
LeGuerrier – Ouellet
The Week Ahead
Apr. 15/18: vs Toronto – It’s the back half of a four-game home-and-home set and the Marlies should look a bit different for this one. Nick Robertson and Timothy Liljegren are up with Toronto but the Marlies could get Veini Vehvilainen back from the Maple Leafs, giving them a boost between the pipes.
It was nice to see Jacob LeGuerrier finally get into some games. With the OHL now extremely unlikely to get underway, there’s no chance for him to get big minutes back with the Greyhounds. And with the Rocket having a 16-point lead on the division lead, they can afford to take the risk of him not necessarily being 100% ready, especially since it doesn’t sound like there are going to be playoffs. No Canadian Division champions banner is probably going to hang from Place Bell next season so it’s not as if there’s a lot to play for.
So why wait this long to give him a chance? Are the Habs likely to sign him? I’d lean towards no but it’s not impossible to see them sign him in the next six weeks or so. But at some point, they need to find out what they have to help them with that decision. Practice can show you some things but game action is even better. It shouldn’t have taken this long for him to suit up but better late than never, I suppose.