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In order to give themselves a realistic shot at holding onto a play-in position, Laval needed to sweep the week on home ice.  They were able to do just that and with a bit of good fortune elsewhere, the Rocket will live to play another day.

The Week That Was

Apr. 10: Rocket 4, Penguins 0 – Rafael Harvey-Pinard made an immediate impact upon his return to the lineup, scoring an early power play marker.  For a while, it looked like that might be the only goal as former Hab Dustin Tokarski was quite sharp but in the third, Laval was able to break it open, led by Jesse Ylonen’s power play marker.  Meanwhile, Cayden Primeau had one of his busiest nights of the season but held Wilkes-Barre/Scranton at bay.

Apr. 12: Rocket 6, Marlies 3 – This one certainly wasn’t as much of a goalie battle as both teams scored before the five-minute mark with Anthony Richard scoring his first of three on the night.  The game was close until late in the third when Ylonen scored an insurance marker with 2:29 left, paving the way for Richard to get the hat trick into the empty net.  Meanwhile, Harvey-Pinard had a career-high five assists in this one.

Apr. 14: Rocket 4, Crunch 3 – It looked like Laval had a chance to run away with it early as they had four goals before the 15-minute mark, chasing starter Hugo Alnefelt in the process.  Syracuse put him back in to start the second, however, and he was able to hold them off the rest of the way.  Daniel Walcott made it a one-goal game in the third but Primeau made 18 stops in the final frame to secure the win.



# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
3 Jayden Struble 3 0 0 -1 5 0
5 Tory Dello 3 0 1 +1 2 4
6 Corey Schueneman 3 1 1 +3 2 4
11 Rafael Harvey-Pinard 3 1 5 +4 3 0
13 Nicolas Beaudin 1 0 0 E 0 0
14 Jan Mysak 1 0 0 -1 2 0
18 Danick Martel 1 1 0 +1 2 0
19 Emil Heineman 3 0 0 -1 10 0
20 Gabriel Bourque 3 1 0 -1 2 0
23 Nolan Yaremko 1 0 0 -1 0 2
24 Joel Teasdale 2 0 0 E 1 2
26 Jesse Ylonen 3 2 1 -1 8 0
27 Mitchell Stephens 3 2 4 +5 7 0
29 Mattias Norlinder 3 0 0 +4 2 0
42 Lucas Condotta 3 0 2 +3 6 2
44 Olivier Galipeau 2 0 0 -2 3 4
68 Riley McKay 1 0 0 -1 1 0
81 Xavier Simoneau 3 0 3 E 2 0
84 William Trudeau 3 0 0 +2 5 2
90 Anthony Richard 3 4 4 +6 16 2
92 Pierrick Dube 3 2 0 -1 11 4
98 Peter Abbandonato 3 0 0 -2 4 0


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
31 Cayden Primeau 3-0-0 2.00 .952 1

Team Leaders:

Goals: Anthony Richard (30)
Assists: Anthony Richard (37)
Points: Anthony Richard (67)
+/-: Nicolas Beaudin (+16)
PIMS: Riley McKay (118)
Shots: Anthony Richard (197)

News And Notes

– Nicolas Beaudin suffered an upper-body injury against the Penguins, holding him out of the final two games.  There’s no word yet on how much longer he’ll miss, nor any update on Mitchell Stephens who was injured against Syracuse.  Meanwhile, Brandon Gignac (lower body) and Madison Bowey (upper body) are listed as week-to-week.

– Lucas Condotta was the only Laval player to play in all 72 games this season, no one else had more than 68.  On defence, Mattias Norlinder led the way with 67.

– With six points on the week, Stephens equaled his career high in points with 41.  Each of Laval’s top four scorers (Anthony Richard, Peter Abbandonato, Stephens, and Joel Teasdale) tied or set new career highs in scoring this season.

Last Game’s Lines:

Harvey-Pinard – Stephens – Richard
Heineman – Abbandonato – Ylonen
Simoneau – Condotta – Dube
Bourque – Yaremko – Teasdale

Trudeau – Schueneman
Struble – Galipeau
Norlinder – Dello

The Week Ahead

While it took until the final day of the season for Laval to know who they’d be playing against, it will be the Utica Comets, affiliate of the Devils.  It’s a matchup that Laval has actually had success with this season, taking five of six contests.  Of course, the rosters now are different than they were back in November when the season series started so there isn’t necessarily much to glean from those early results.  Nevertheless, it should be a source of confidence for Laval.  The schedule is as follows (all game times are 7 PM ET):

Wednesday in Laval
Friday in Utica
Saturday in Utica (if necessary)

Final Thought

It may not seem like much but it was important for Laval to sneak into this play-in spot (I know it’s called the first round officially but let’s call it what it is, a play-in position).  Yes, it’s only a guarantee of two extra games but it’s at least another week of practices and games which doesn’t hurt from a development standpoint.  Personally, while the Habs aren’t going to be in the playoffs for a little while longer, at least some of their prospects will be used to playing beyond the middle of April.  There’s value in that.

Frankly, there’s a lot of value in what has transpired over the last few weeks.  The pressure has been high for a while and they’ve gotten through it quite well.  They had three must-win games and didn’t struggle under pressure.  Cayden Primeau is starting to string together a good run of games at the right time for the second year in a row.  Rafael Harvey-Pinard and Jesse Ylonen made immediate impacts upon returning, going from games that didn’t mean anything to games that meant a lot.  These aren’t nothing prospects but players that have a good chance of cracking Montreal’s roster next season and their late performances are promising.

Is this going to be a long postseason run for Laval like last year?  Probably not.  That team was deeper and they’re going the harder route this time.  But even if it is short-lived, some extra action can only be helpful in the end.