After a tough showing against Belleville, Laval had some time to rest before getting two more cracks at the Senators last week. The rest didn’t do them much good as they lost by four goals in both ends of the home-and-home set.
The Week That Was
Nov. 26: Senators 6, Rocket 2 – The first ten minutes were good for the Rocket before it all fell apart. Cayden Primeau had a rocky outing although some defensive breakdowns didn’t help his cause (that sounds familiar compared to Montreal, doesn’t it?) and the offence didn’t do much; both Laval goals actually came from their defencemen in Tobie Paquette-Bisson and Corey Schueneman.
Nov, 27: Senators 7, Rocket 3 – The change of venue to Belleville didn’t do much to change Laval’s fortunes. Michael McNiven only fared slightly better in net (two of the goals were empty-netters) and the forwards were able to get on the board at least including another goal from Laurent Dauphin whose quest to finally be recalled continues.
Goals: Laurent Dauphin (10)
Assists: Paquette-Bisson/Ouellet (8)
Points: Laurent Dauphin (14)
+/-: Michael Pezzetta (+7)
PIMS: Louis Belpedio (43)
Shots: Laurent Dauphin (58)
News And Notes
– There was some good news and bad news on the injury front. Danick Martel returned from his injury but they lost captain Xavier Ouellet who is now out indefinitely. Charles-David Beaudoin was recalled from ECHL Trois-Rivieres to take his place.
– Kevin Poulin was recalled from the Lions as well as Michael McNiven is sick with a non-COVID illness.
– Still with injuries, Gianni Fairbrother, Josh Brook, and J-C Beaudin have all resumed skating although there is no timetable for their returns. Joel Teasdale still isn’t close to coming back.
– Tobie Paquette-Bisson has nine points in 17 games this season after recording seven in 28 contests last season. It wouldn’t have been surprising to see him converted to an NHL contract prior to the management change (I think it was considered last summer) but now it will take a while for that to be considered now.
Last Game’s Lines:
Dauphin – Vejdemo – Ylonen
Martel – Dea – Belzile
Harvey-Pinard – Gignac – Bourque
Baddock – Hillis – Roy
Paquette-Bisson – Dello
Schueneman – Amorosa
The Week Ahead
Dec. 1/3: vs Texas – It’s the first ever matchup between the two teams as it’s rare for the AHL to have teams travel that far for a road trip. The Stars, like Laval, have struggled this season, particularly offensively. They have an offence by committee with six players having at least five goals and none with more than six. Ty Dellandrea and Thomas Harley are notable prospects with Texas while former Montreal farmhand Jeremy Gregoire is also with them.
Dec. 5: at Toronto – The Marlies will be without one of their top players with Kirill Semyonov – a point per game player – on release waivers. However, they’ll also likely add a notable veteran for this game with Petr Mrazek expected to be sent down this weekend on a conditioning assignment. Defenceman Joseph Duszak leads Toronto in scoring in the early going this season but hasn’t scored a goal yet.
There have been some notable disappointments in the early going for Laval this season but goaltending certainly has to be high on the list. Yes, the defence isn’t particularly strong (and now is battling several injuries) but this was supposed to be a strength of the team but it hasn’t been so far. If we go with a .900 SV% as a benchmark for a good start, Laval has four of them all season long, three of them being shutouts. The goaltending has either been really good or below average with not a lot of in between. Cayden Primeau is trying to make a case for playing time in Montreal, especially if they wind up selling which would make Jake Allen a possible candidate to be moved. He’s not helping his cause. Michael McNiven is basically trying to play to get noticed somewhere when he becomes a Group VI UFA next summer. He’s not helping his cause either.
On paper, this is a Laval team that should be in the playoffs. Perhaps not a contender but a legitimate playoff team. They’re going to need much better goaltending than they’ve received so far if they’re going to get there as the level of play they’ve received so far hasn’t been good enough most nights.