2022 Calder Cup Playoffs
Eastern Conference Final Game 7: Laval Rocket @ Springfield Thunderbirds
Series tied 3-3
How to watch
It all comes down to this. One game to decide who represents the Eastern Conference in the Calder Cup Final.
The last two times that the Montreal Canadiens AHL affiliate played in the AHL Conference Final, they lost in seven games in 2010 and 2011. They will look to make it back to the final for the first time since the 2007 season.
The winner of tonight’s game will face the Chicago Wolves. The series will start on Sunday in Chicago, regardless of who wins.
The Rocket will be without forward Jesse Ylönen, who left Monday’s Game 6 and did not return. Laval head coach Jean-François Houle says that he will replace him with Peter Abbandonato who missed the last few games with a minor injury. Gianni Fairbrother will remain in the lineup as the team will stick with 11 forwards and seven defencemen.
“It’s a lot to ask in a Game 7,” Houle said about inserting Joshua Roy into the lineup. “It would be a good experience for him. Development is important but he’ll have his chance at 19. 20, 21 years old. It was important to bring in someone experienced who helped us get here.”
The fact that Abbandonato is a centre also played into his insertion into the lineup, per Houle. With four centres dressed, including Brandon Gignac, Houle says they can double shift players like Rafaël Harvey-Pinard and Danick Martel who are filled with energy and have been top players for the team.
Abbandonato has also been effective this playoff run for the Rocket. When he is on the ice at five-on-five, he leads the team in shot attempt percentage (Laval has 61.78% of shot attempts while he is on the ice) and he is a +10 when it comes to scoring chances while he is on the ice.
Second place in both categories is Danick Martel at 56.76% and +2.
Peter Abbandonato est un gros retour dans l'alignement du Rocket.— Christophe Perreault (@ChristPerreault) June 15, 2022
Depuis le début des séries, il mène le club au %Corsi (61,78%) et au différentiel des chances de marquer à 5 contre 5 (+10).
Dans les 2 cas, il a une bonne avance sur le 2e, Danick Martel (56,76% et +2).
Coming off of an emphatic 5-1 win in Game 6, the Rocket will look to be the first team to win back-to-back games in the series. The teams have alternated games since the series started, leading to this ultimate finale.
Former Rocket goaltender Charlie Lindgren will get the start for Springfield over Joel Hofer, who started four of the six games. Lindgren is 1-1 in the series, with a 2.66 goals against average and a .887 save percentage. Both of Lindgren’s starts came in the second half of back-to-back games. In four playoff games this year, he is 3-1 with a 3.06 GAA and .904 save percentage.
Lindgren was the Canadiens’ AHL affiliate’s starting goaltender the last time the team was eliminated, in the 2015 playoffs.