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With three more divisional games on tap, Laval had a chance to rebound from a tough outing the week before and gain some ground in the playoff race.  However, they weren’t able to do that, managing just one victory in those contests.

The Week That Was

January 31: Utica 4, Laval 3 – While Laval often gets off to slow starts, that wasn’t the case this time around as they scored twice and held the lead through most of the opening 40 minutes.  However, they got into penalty trouble in the third and it cost them.  The Comets scored the tying goal early and the winning goal with just over a minute to go, both coming on the man advantage.

February 2: Laval 6, Rochester 2 – The Rocket benefitted from a quiet night from former Hab Dustin Tokarski in goal which allowed them to jump out to an early lead and never look back.  Justin Barron had his best game since being sent down with a three-point effort while Lias Andersson had a two-goal night scoring the first and last goals of the game.

February 4: Rochester 3, Laval 1 – This game was a toss-up for most of the afternoon with both teams getting good chances and good goaltending.  It was the other special teams that hurt Laval as the power play allowed a shorthanded marker early in the third while Mason Jobst added the empty-netter.  This was Devon Levi’s game for the Amerks with Buffalo sending him down for some playing time and Levi certainly was a difference-maker.



# Player GP G A +/- SOG PIMS
4 Tobie Bisson 3 0 0 +3 2 0
10 Joshua Roy 3 1 1 -1 5 0
12 Filip Cederqvist 2 0 0 E 4 0
14 Jan Mysak 3 1 0 -1 5 0
17 Nathan Legare 1 0 0 E 0 0
19 Emil Heineman 3 1 0 +3 2 2
20 Gabriel Bourque 2 0 0 -1 1 0
21 Riley Kidney 3 0 0 -2 5 2
24 Logan Mailloux 3 0 1 +1 4 8
27 Mitchell Stephens 3 1 1 +2 10 0
28 Lias Andersson 3 2 2 +2 7 0
29 Mattias Norlinder 3 0 1 +1 4 0
37 Brandon Gignac 3 2 3 +1 5 2
42 Lucas Condotta 3 0 0 -2 4 2
44 Olivier Galipeau 3 0 1 +3 4 9
49 Jared Davidson 1 0 0 E 2 0
52 Justin Barron 3 1 2 -2 8 2
61 Philippe Maillet 2 1 1 -1 10 0
68 Riley McKay 1 0 0 +1 0 0
81 Xavier Simoneau 3 0 3 E 4 6
84 William Trudeau 3 0 2 E 11 4


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
71 Jakub Dobes 1-2-0 2.68 .915 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Brandon Gignac (14)
Assists: Brandon Gignac (28)
Points: Brandon Gignac (42)
+/-: Tobie Paquette-Bisson (+14)
PIMS: Riley McKay (94)
Shots: Joshua Roy (120)

News and Notes

– Nathan Legare was originally supposed to miss seven to eight weeks due to his lower-body injury.  Instead, he wound up being out half of that timeframe as he returned to the lineup on Saturday.

– Following Saturday’s game, the Habs recalled Lucas Condotta and Brandon Gignac (signed, more on him later) so their forward depth will be weaker for the time being.

– Chris Jandric was recalled from Trois-Rivieres briefly to give Laval a seventh defenceman but he was soon sent back down.  That said, he’ll likely be back after the All-Star break as running with just six blueliners on the active roster is risky.

– At the break, five teams in the North Division (third through seventh) are separated by just three points.

Last Game’s Lines:

Simoneau – Maillet – Roy
Andersson – Gignac – Heineman
Condotta – Stephens – Legare
Kidney – Mysak – Davidson

Paquette-Bisson – Mailloux
Trudeau – Barron
Norlinder – Galipeau

The Week Ahead

Friday/Saturday – at Toronto – After the All-Star break, Laval gets a pair of games against another team right in the thick of the battle for playoff seeding in the North.  The two sides have split the season series thus far in a pair of games in Laval back in early November.  Two former Habs are among the top scorers for the Marlies, Joseph Blandisi and Logan Shaw while Kieffer Bellows, an early-season PTO signing, is near a point-per-game himself.

Final Thought

When the Habs traded Sean Monahan, it felt like the right time for Montreal to convert Brandon Gignac’s deal into an NHL one.  That way, they could get a look at assessing his feasibility for them for this season and possibly beyond.  They were right to wait until Laval played these last few games, giving them as strong a roster for as long as possible.

But these past three games may very well be his last with the Rocket this season, especially since he is waiver-eligible.  Gignac has very quietly landed in a tie for fifth in AHL scoring, already setting new career highs across the board offensively.  This was the last step for him to reach as he has already demonstrated that he’s more than capable of playing an energetic defensive game, one that should help him earn the trust of Montreal’s coaching staff already.  Once he started scoring at a point-per-game pace, there wasn’t any way they could hold him back much longer.  The two-year term might seem odd on the surface but his AHL deal ended after this season and he had done more than enough to land an NHL contract for 2024-25 so tacking that on here makes a lot of sense.

Back in the preseason in one of the first 10 Thoughts columns (it might have even been the first one on the new format), I noted how it would have been nice to see Gignac get an extended look as he could have very well pushed for the 4C spot while Christian Dvorak was out.  Now, after he has become an all-around player, it wouldn’t shock me in the slightest if he becomes Montreal’s 4C for the rest of this season and perhaps next.  I’ve been a believer in Gignac for a while now and I’m happy to see him get his chance with the Habs.  If you’re not too familiar with him, I think you’ll come around on him pretty quickly.