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Laval Rocket weekend preview: The Devils in the detail

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Binghamton comes to Laval, under a new parent club this season.

Michael McCarron
Michael McCarron celebrates a goal against Belleville
Club de hockey Canadien, Inc.

The Laval Rocket play their next set of games on Friday and Saturday against the Binghamton Devils at Place Bell.

For those new to following the AHL because of the spotlight now being shone on Laval, you may notice it’s been a week since the team last played. This is normal, as the AHL schedule usually has the teams playing sprints over the weekend rather than marathons spread out over a week. Three games in three nights is not unusual in this regard. This is done in order to minimize travel costs for the teams and to maximize attendance, trying to capture a weekend crowd. This is also why the AHL roster is typically deeper than the NHL one in order to be able to inject the team with some fresh legs by the third game.

How To Watch/Listen

The games will be shown on AHL Live, starting at 7:30 PM EDT on Friday, and 3:00 PM EDT on Saturday. You can also listen to the games on the radio 91.9FM in French, and on TSN690 in English (only on Friday).

RDS will show Saturday’s game live.

Main stories from last week

  • The Rocket won their inaugural set of games at Place Bell against the Belleville Senators in convincing fashion. We have recaps of both games in case you missed them.
  • Game 1: Laval Rocket 3-0 Belleville Senators
  • Game 2: Laval Rocket 6-2 Belleville Senators
  • Charlie Lindgren backstopped the back-to-back games, putting up a 1.00 GAA and a 0.956 SV% on 45 shots against. Those are some serious stats that show how good Lindgren is, but also show the hesitancy of Sylvain Lefebvre of putting Zachary Fucale in net, even in a back-to-back situation.
  • Nikita Scherbak will be a force in the NHL once he puts it all together. He’s fast, creative, and deadly accurate with his passes. He has shown tremendous improvement year-over-year over the last three seasons.
  • Another forward who has shown tremendous improvement is Daniel Audette. In fact he scored the first goal in franchise history, which is fitting, given his father Donald Audette played his junior hockey in Laval back in the day. Let’s just hope that Daniel can have a more successful stint as a Canadiens player than his father did.
  • Peter Holland and Matt Taormina seem to be good additions to the AHL roster.
  • Martin Réway only played one game out of the two. The team will manage his time very carefully, as his conditioning is not quite up to par.
  • The Rocket do not have a captain ... yet. Thus far Chris Terry, Matt Taormina, Byron Froese, and Zach Redmond have worn the A on their jersey.
  • As predicted, the AHL veteran rule necessitated the Rocket to scratch Jakub Jerabek the first game and Eric Gélinas the second game. This is not an ideal situation at all, but will likely come to a conclusion soon, with Jerabek looking exceptional in his one game in the AHL and is likely in line for a call-up to the NHL in the immediate future.

Beastly Backup

The Rocket have four AHL-contracted players in the ECHL currently. Michael McNiven should be seeing plenty of game action as the starting goaltender for the Brampton Beast, while forwards Thomas Ebbing, Jordan Boucher, and Yannick Veilleux will be providing the team with some firepower while they wait for the chance to return to the AHL.

The Beast are wrapping up their training camp, with their first game of the season this Saturday against the Adirondack Thunder.

Expected lineup

The following lines were together at practice on Thursday, potentially signaling the lines for Friday night’s game.

  • Daniel Carr should make his Rocket debut on Friday and, if he is indeed paired with Peter Holland and Byron Froese, should offer the Rocket some secondary scoring.
  • The knock-on effect is that Reway drops to a line with his roommate, Audette, while Nicolas Deslauriers drops to the fourth line. Kyle Baun would be the odd man out.
  • Other scratches look to be rookie Niki Petti and David Broll.
  • The veteran rule will continue to be in effect, meaning that Jerabek and Gélinas might rotate again this weekend. The expected defensive pairings could be:

Matt Taormina - Brett Lernout,

Gélinas/Jerabek - Stefan Leblanc

Tom Parisi - Simon Bourque

David Schlemko is also expected to play on Friday:

And because of Schlemko’s veteran status, Nicolas Deslauriers will sit with Gelinas in Friday’s game.

Know thy enemy

Up until last season, Binghamton was the home of the Ottawa Senators’ farm team, dating all the way back to 2002. The recent trend to relocate the AHL affiliation closer to the parent team led to Ottawa moving the franchise to Belleville, Ontario. At the same time the New Jersey Devils shuttered their Albany AHL location and moved them to Binghamton, New York.

It’s just another chapter in a league-wide shuffling and relocating of AHL franchises that will continue next season when the San Antonio Rampage say goodbye to the Colorado Avalanche and say hello to the St. Louis Blues.

The Devils have only played one game so far this season, beating the Bridgeport Sound Tigers 2-1, in a penalty-filled affair. These were the lines for the Devils during that game:

Goaltender Mackenzie Blackwood was the big star for the Devils, stopping 26 shots. John Quenneville is a player that the Rocket should look out for. He frequently did damage last season against the Canadiens affiliate when they were the St. John’s IceCaps.

After this weekend, the Rocket will play five of their next six games on the road.