HabsWorld.net -- 

A trip out to Western Canada wasn’t the elixir the Rocket needed to end its losing streak as Laval dropped a pair of games to Abbotsford, extending their season-long slide to seven straight.

The Week That Was

December 1: Abbotsford 4, Laval 2 – Getting off to good starts has been an issue for Laval this season who often find themselves trailing early.  (Call it an organizational trend this season.)  However, this was one of the exceptions as they jumped out to an early two-goal lead with Brady Keeper and Philippe Maillet scoring.  Unfortunately, it was short-lived as two goals in 30 seconds with less than three minutes left in the opening frame tied it up.  Vasili Podkolzin potted the winner in the second while the Canucks added a late empty-netter, spoiling a good start from Strauss Mann.

December 2: Abbotsford 4, Laval 3 – The bad start returned for the Rocket as Jakub Dobes coughed up three goals in less than four minutes (after Nathan Legare gave them an early lead), chasing him quite early.  Laval fought back to their credit, tying it up by the end of the first period.  However, they couldn’t beat backup Nikita Tolopilo a fourth time and it came back to bite them with Tristan Nielsen scoring with less than seven minutes left in regulation to pick up the mini-sweep.



# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
4 Tobie Bisson 2 0 0 -3 3 0
10 Joshua Roy 2 0 0 -3 3 0
13 Nicolas Beaudin 2 0 1 +1 2 0
14 Jan Mysak 2 0 0 -3 3 2
17 Nathan Legare 2 1 0 -1 3 0
19 Emil Heineman 2 1 1 E 7 0
20 Gabriel Bourque 2 0 1 E 2 0
21 Riley Kidney 2 0 1 +1 3 0
24 Logan Mailloux 2 0 0 -1 2 0
25 Brady Keeper 2 1 1 +1 4 0
27 Mitchell Stephens 2 0 2 +1 3 2
37 Brandon Gignac 2 0 2 E 3 4
42 Lucas Condotta 2 0 1 +1 4 2
44 Olivier Galipeau 2 0 0 -3 4 4
49 Jared Davidson 2 0 1 +1 7 0
61 Philippe Maillet 2 1 0 -2 4 0
68 Riley McKay 2 0 0 -2 1 7
81 Xavier Simoneau 2 1 0 -1 3 0
84 William Trudeau 2 0 0 -2 5 2


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
38 Strauss Mann 0-2-0 2.13 .931 0
71 Jakub Dobes 0-0-0 45.96 .571 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Andersson/Roy (7)
Assists: Joshua Roy (11)
Points: Gignac/Roy (18)
+/-: Mitchell Stephens (+7)
PIMS: Xavier Simoneau (42)
Shots: Joshua Roy (66)

News and Notes

– For the second week in a row, the good outweighed the bad on the injury front.  Up front, Laval got a nice boost with Philippe Maillet, Emil Heineman, and Gabriel Bourque all returning from their respective injuries.

– It wasn’t all good, however, as Sean Farrell is out indefinitely with an upper-body injury sustained the previous week against Syracuse.

– With there being a net gain on returning players, Laval sent Nolan Yaremko, Alex-Olivier Voyer, and John Parker-Jones back to Trois-Rivieres.  Yaremko’s stint was short-lived, however, with the Habs bringing up Mitchell Stephens following the Alex Newhook injury.  More on that in a bit.

Last Game’s Lines:

Simoneau – Gignac – Heineman
Roy – Maillet – Legare
Kidney – Condotta – Bourque
Mysak – Davidson – McKay

Paquette-Bisson – Mailloux
Trudeau – Galipeau
Beaudin – Keeper

The Week Ahead

Wednesday: vs Belleville – Laval has split the first two games of the season series so far against the Sens in a pair of high-scoring affairs.  Belleville is one of the lower-scoring teams in the AHL but Laval has allowed the most goals so it’s possible one of these two trends could end for a game at least.  Like Laval, Belleville has benefited from some returning players in recent weeks, though those returns have come from Ottawa, not from injured players returning.  Roby Jarventie and Matt Highmore (at one time a Development Camp invitee by the Habs) are tied for second in points per game and rejoined the roster over the last two weeks so this is a stronger group than the standings might suggest.

Friday/Saturday: vs Hartford – This isn’t a great time to be facing the Wolf Pack who have won six straight to move into third in the AHL in points.  Only three teams have allowed fewer goals and one of those (Bakersfield) has played five fewer games.  Former Rocket captain Alex Belzile is off to a good start with his new team, averaging over a point per game so far.  Jonny Brodzinski is third in the AHL in scoring but he’s currently up with the Rangers so that’s one possible break for Laval at least.

Final Thought

When Mitchell Stephens was brought up, one of the more frequently common questions asked was ‘What about Roy’?  Joshua Roy still leads Laval in scoring and with the Habs needing scoring, there’s a logical fit on the surface.  But that overlooks the fact that Roy has been held without a point for six straight games as he becomes more of a focal point of the opposition defence.  That’s not a criticism by any stretch either.  Frankly, the fact this is happening this early in his rookie year is great.  From a development standpoint, it’s exactly what they want to see.  Face some adversity, figure out how to counter the tight checking, and move forward.  That’s a perfect course of action for Roy at this point of his career.

Disrupting that to put him in an impact role with the Habs, one he’s probably not ready for, is asking for trouble.  Don’t interrupt development.  We all know the Habs have done that a lot in past years so why continue that trend? 

Especially when Stephens is a perfectly capable fit for the role Montreal wanted to fill.  With them wanting to move Sean Monahan to the wing, they needed a centre and the one with over 70 games of NHL experience in that role, he was the logical choice.  He was on merit as well based on his recent performance.

Joshua Roy’s time will come but we’re not there yet.  Leaving him right where he is, that’s the correct decision.  Patience can be hard sometimes but it’s warranted here.