Laval vs. Springfield in the Eastern Conference Final
In their first playoffs appearance, the Rocket reaches the Eastern Conference Finals and will face the Springfield Thunderbirds, the St. Louis Blues’ farm team.
The T-Birds finished the regular season with a .625 winning percentage, giving them home ice advantage in this best-of-seven series. In order to facilitate travel, the series will start with two games in Springfield, before moving to Place Bell for the next three (if game #5 is required). If games 6 and 7 were to be played, they would be at the MassMutual Center in Springfield.
Springfield vs. Laval head-to-head
This season, the Rocket have played the Thunderbirds only twice. The two teams met for the first time on January 14 in Springfield. The Rocket won in overtime thanks to a goal by Jean-Sébastien Dea. The second matchup of the season took place at Place Bell on Monday, March 7. Laval lost that game, the seventh of a seven-game stretch in eleven days at Place Bell.
It is difficult to draw any conclusions from these two games, as the lineups of both teams were very different from what the two teams are presenting, before the first game of the Eastern Conference final.
These are two well-balanced lineups that will cross paths starting Saturday night. A real synergy between established veterans and young prospects is evident in both teams’ lineups.
The Rocket will face a team that is undefeated in the playoffs so far. With sweeps against the Wilkes-Barre/Scranton Penguins and Charlotte Checkers, Drew Bannister’s team is brimming with confidence heading into Game 1 against Laval.
Considered by many to be overlooked in this series, the Rocket players come to Springfield with an unquenchable desire to win and a renewed energy following their victory over the Rochester Americans in the previous round.
The duel in front of the net will certainly be a turning point in this series. Youngsters Cayden Primeau (LAV) and Joel Hofer (SPR), ages 22 and 21 respectively, will each have the daunting task of keeping goal in a conference final. Both putting up impressive numbers, Primeau and Hofer will certainly be the big stars of this series.
Home Ice Advantage
Although the Rocket do not, in theory, have home ice advantage, the energy of the fans at Place Bell will certainly play a role. In a 2-3-2 format, the Laval crowd will have a chance to make a big impact as all three games in Laval will be sold out.
The first game of the series will take place on Saturday June 4th at 7:35pm at the MassMutual Center in Springfield