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After the All-Star break, Laval was back in action for a pair of games against Toronto, one of the teams they’re chasing for position in the North Division.  The first game had a rough finish but they bounced back nicely to pick up the split.

The Week That Was

February 9: Toronto 6, Laval 1 – Through 40 minutes, things were looking relatively good for Laval.  The Marlies were outplaying them – particularly in the first – but they were tied heading into the third.  Not a bad spot to be on the road.  However, things snowballed as the Marlies scored five times in a span of just over eight minutes (only one into an empty net) to turn a close game into a rout in a hurry.

February 10: Laval 7, Toronto 1 – The rematch followed a much different tone.  The Rocket scored three times in the first period to chase starter Keith Petruzzelli and then popped three more in the back half of the second to put it out of reach before slowing down in the third.  Xavier Simoneau and Nathan Legare paced Laval offensively with a pair of goals apiece.



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


# Player Record GAA SV% SO
71 Jakub Dobes 0-1-0 5.19 .872 0
73 Kasimir Kaskisuo 1-0-0 1.00 .966 0

Team Leaders:

Goals: Brandon Gignac (14)
Assists: Brandon Gignac (28)
Points: Brandon Gignac (42)
+/-: Tobie Paquette-Bisson (+15)
PIMS: Riley McKay (96)
Shots: Joshua Roy (125)

News and Notes

– As expected, Chris Jandric was recalled from ECHL Trois-Rivieres to get Laval back to carrying seven healthy defencemen for their road trip.

– Joshua Roy was recalled to Montreal while Lucas Condotta was sent back down to Laval from the Habs.

– It wasn’t just the Habs who were dealing with injuries in recent days.  Mattias Norlinder left Saturday’s game early due to injury, Justin Barron missed nearly a full period on Saturday before coming back to finish the game, and Emil Heineman missed Saturday’s game (but did return to practice).  Gabriel Bourque, meanwhile, is dealing with a lower-body issue as well.

– While plus/minus isn’t the most exciting of stats, it’s worth mentioning when it comes to Logan Mailloux.  Through his first 30 games, he had a -11 rating.  Over the last 15, he has been a +11.  Some of that is due to the quality of his partner and some games against lesser opposition but it also coincides with some defensive zone improvement.

Last Game’s Lines:

Simoneau – Maillet – Andersson
Davidson – Stephens – Legare
Kidney – Condotta – Bourque
McKay – Mysak – Cederqvist

Trudeau – Barron
Galipeau – Mailloux
Norlinder – Paquette-Bisson

The Week Ahead

Friday: at Hartford – For the first time in a month, Laval faces an actual non-divisional opponent.  The Wolf Pack are in a tight battle to steer clear of the play-in round and are one of the stingier defensive teams in the Eastern Conference.  Offensively, they’re paced by someone fans should be quite familiar with, long-time Rocket forward Alex Belzile who somehow hasn’t been called up yet despite New York testing out several players.  While Nick Bonino cleared waivers and was recently assigned to Hartford, he opted not to report and has been released.

Saturday: at Wilkes-Barre/Scranton – The Penguins are the team that Hartford is battling with for the third seed in the Atlantic (the final guaranteed playoff spot).  Former Hab Rem Pitlick is still third in scoring despite the fact he was traded to Chicago last month while former Laval centre Peter Abbandonato has been one of their top players since being acquired midseason.  Former Rocket captain Xavier Ouellet is also on their roster along with former Hab prospect Samuel Houde.

Sunday: at Bridgeport – The Rocket complete a three-game-in-less-than-48-hour stretch (with travel) against the Islanders, the worst team in the AHL.  Bridgeport is the lowest scoring team in the league while their top scorer, Ruslan Iskhakov, was recently linked to be pursuing a KHL contract.  They did just add Julien Gauthier, however, who cleared waivers last week and was sent down.

Final Thought

I think it would be fair to say that Riley Kidney has had a quiet rookie season.  14 points in 41 games isn’t terrible by any stretch but for a high-end point producer as he was in the QMJHL, it seems like it’s a bit on the low end.

Having said that, I’m not sure he’s being put in the most optimal spot for success.  He’s a player that would be best utilized on an offensive line with some good finishers since he’s a strong playmaker.  How many games has he had that with Laval this season?  Off the top of my head, I can’t rhyme off the number but I’m pretty sure it could be counted on one hand.

Yes, there’s value to easing youngsters into the lineup but I’ve noticed that Jean-Francois Houle seems to be selective with who gets that opportunity.  Last season, Xavier Simoneau and Pierrick Dube both saw lots of top-six time as the season went on and did pretty well.  But last year, Jan Mysak rarely moved off the fourth line (something that can be said for this season as well).  This year, Kidney has been a full-time bottom-six player while Jared Davidson, an offensively-skilled player on his own right, spends most games (last game being an exception) in the bottom six when he gets in the lineup.

As Laval’s roster starts to get thinned out by injuries and recalls, I’d like to see Kidney get a few games in the top six with some of their quality veterans.  If he’s not ready, that’s fine.  But at least he’ll have a chance to play in the type of role he’s capable of having some success in.  And if his playmaking skills allow him to have some success in that role, that’s great as it would deepen the lineup.  Either way, he needs to get that opportunity first.