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AHL Update: Laval Rocket Playoff Hopes Come Down To The Wire

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The Montreal Canadiens won’t make the playoffs this season, but there’s still a chance their AHL affiliate, the Laval Rocket, will have an opportunity to battle for the Calder Cup.

But the road to the AHL playoffs won’t be easy to navigate and there’s no margin for error.

AHL Situation

The top five teams in the North Division will earn a playoff berth. The first round will include a best-of-three series, the division semifinals and finals will be a best-of-five series, whereas the conference finals and Calder Cup finals are best-of-seven format.

As it stands, Laval is sitting in fifth in the division, having registered 70 points in 66 games.

But as you can see, the competition for the final spot is fierce.

montreal canadiens ahl playoffs

Belleville is just two points behind the Rocket with two games in hand, a rather precarious situation for Rocket head coach Jean-Francois Houle. There’s still a possibility Laval can catch the Toronto Marlies, however, Laval has just six games left in their regular-season schedule, and the Marlies have nine games left, which means it’s not a likely scenario.

Laval’s best hopes involve keeping Belleville out of the playoffs, but they’ll need a little help from their rivals to make it happen.

Laval Rocket Remaining Games

Of the six remaining games on the Rocket’s schedule, one takes place against the division-leading Syracuse Crunch, who have won four of the seven games between the two teams this season, including a hard-fought 3-2 OT win the last time they met.

The next game involves a much easier opponent, the Springfield Thunderbirds. Springfield is currently ranked 25th in the league, but the only meeting with the Thunderbirds this season ended with a frustrating 7-3 loss for the Rocket.

And then the Rocket will participate in a pair of two-game mini-series to close out the season.

The first involves facing the Cleveland Monsters, the second-place team in the North Division. Despite sitting in second, Cleveland lost both games against Laval this year by a combined score of 9-3.

Finally, they’ll face the Senators in the last two games of the game. Laval holds a 6-4 edge in the season series, which works to their advantage when it comes to the AHL tiebreakers, but the most important number in that case is the games won in regulation, and Belleville holds the edge in that respect.

Laval Rocket Brass Tacks

If the Canadiens hope to see their AHL affiliate participate in the playoffs, they’ll need Belleville to lose their fair share of their remaining games.

There are eight games left on the Belleville docket, including seven games in the North Division.

The schedule starts with Belleville hosting Springfield and Syracuse before they head on a three-game road trip which includes one game against the Marlies and two games against the Rochester Americans. They will then head home for a pair of games against Syracuse and Laval, before heading to place Bell for their final game of the season.

Simply put, the Senators also have a relatively difficult stretch of games to close out the season.

It will all come down to how the teams are playing in recent games, and that’s where Laval has the advantage.

Belleville has won just three of their last 10 games, which pales in comparison to the seven games won by the Rocket. Unfortunately, Laval dropped a 5-2 decision to the Senators on Saturday, which has complicated things further.

Given the disparity in remaining games, there are healthy odds the final playoff spot handed out in the North Division will only be decided once the Rocket and the Senators face each other in the final two games of the year, which take place on April 19th and 20th.

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peter

Sounds like Struble should be sent there to help them as Hutson could then be with the Canadiens.

Tyrone

Took the words right out of my mouth. We should send him down right now, and not wait until Hutson is ready either.

Greg

I watched both of those games, and they were odd, in that Belleville probably should’ve won Friday but lost and that the Rocket also lost Saturday despite controlling the game largely. Reinbacher has looked very steady so far in the 5 games I saw (2 live in Toronto vs Marlies Mar 17 and 24). Looking far less good is Perreault, who has made some nice plays but hasn’t found a niche as of yet. I’ll only get to watch the last 3 home games, including the season finale vs Belleville, but I can say I’ve enjoyed having the option of watching Rocket games on TV the past 2 years, and I’ll keep watching as long as a Habs game isn’t on simultaneously.

Doug19

The odds are not in their favour. The team has done poorly again this year despite the hyped new players who are not that good apparently. Hoping for a miracle😊😇