On paper, the past stretch for Laval looked like an opportunity for them to take advantage of an opponent that’s below them in the standings and help solidify their playoff status. However, they have struggled against Belleville all season and the end result was the Rocket dropping two of three.
The Week That Was
Feb. 17: Belleville 5, Laval 3 – This was a low-scoring game early on as the lone goal at the halfway point belonged to Laval when Peter Abbandonato scored eight minutes into the second. However, after the Rocket doubled the lead, things fell apart. The Senators scored two late in the second to tie it and then potted three more in the third to put the game out of reach; William Trudeau got one late to make the score look a little closer.
Feb. 18: Belleville 5, Laval 4 (OT) – Once again, Laval had the early lead as three goals in the back half of the first erased an early Senators goal. Also once again, they weren’t able to hold on as Roby Jarventie tied it up in the third period, paving the way for Jake Lucchini (yes, the player the Rocket gave away for no good reason last season) to score the overtime winner.
Feb. 20: Laval 7, Belleville 2 – The Rocket scored early and often in this one, potting four goals within the first 12:18 of the game. This time, they didn’t blow it. There were seven different goal-getters for Laval including John Parker-Jones, who scored his first career AHL tally with a power play goal in the last minute of the third.
Goals: Anthony Richard (23)
Assists: Abbandonato/Richard (27)
Points: Anthony Richard (50)
+/-: Tory Dello (+12)
PIMS: Lucas Condotta (45)
Shots: Anthony Richard (143)
News And Notes
– Kevin Poulin was able to rejoin the team for the final game in Belleville so Philippe Desrosiers, who got the start in the middle game of the stretch, was sent back to Trois-Rivieres.
– Anthony Richard set a new career-high in points. He’s up to 50 after a five-point week, beating the 47 he had with Milwaukee in 2018-19.
– Joel Teasdale now has 11 goals in his last 11 games. He has already set a new career best in goals and is one point away from matching his benchmark in points.
Last Game’s Lines:
Richard – Abbandonato – Teasdale
Condotta – Stephens – Simoneau
Bourque – Gignac – Dube
Parker-Jones – Mysak – Schnarr
Trudeau – Dello
Beaudin – Galipeau
Norlinder – Bowey
The Week Ahead
Friday – at Rochester – Laval now is part of a four-team group separated by four points total. The Amerks are in that group so there’s definitely a lot on the line. The teams have split the season series thus far, each winning one matchup in a pair of back-to-back sets. Anthony Richard has had lots of success so far against Rochester with six points in those four contests.
Saturday – at Toronto – The road trip comes to an end with a visit against the Marlies. Toronto leads the Eastern Conference so if you’re looking for a reason to try to avoid the play-in series, this would be it as Laval would be better off in the 2/3 matchup if they can climb that high in the standings. The Marlies have taken five of six matchups thus far and while they lost some players in the Ryan O’Reilly deal, they also got some of their top players back from the Maple Leafs who are in the midst of being removed from their roster.
With the latest injuries on the back end in Montreal, we’ve seen discussions about who should be recalled. Corey Schueneman ultimately got the nod with Mattias Norlinder, Nicolas Beaudin, and William Trudeau also getting some discussion amongst the fan base. Those were the four I had in mind as well.
However, there was an obvious omission that few noticed – Madison Bowey. The Habs signed him to a rather pricey two-way deal over the summer to be someone that could be recalled in this exact situation. However, he just hasn’t done all that much when he has been in the lineup; he, like many others, have been injured as well throughout the year. Bowey has 158 career NHL appearances which puts him third among healthy blueliners in the organization between the Canadiens and Rocket. The opportunity is there for him to seize and he just hasn’t done so consistently.
In a season that has seen plenty of new faces on Laval’s roster, somehow one of their most experienced has seemingly become a forgotten one. I’m pretty sure that wasn’t the goal he was aiming for. However, with potentially another opportunity for a recall – the Habs are carrying just six healthy rearguards again – the opportunity is there for Bowey to push his way into the mix. Let’s see if he can take advantage this time.