Montreal Canadiens: Cayden Primeau Shutout Keeps Laval Rocket Point Streak Alive

MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 19: Goaltender Cayden Primeau (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
MONTREAL, QC - FEBRUARY 19: Goaltender Cayden Primeau (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images) /

Montreal Canadiens players are on a Covid-19 hiatus at the moment, but their prospects in Laval have been busy this week.

Since the Canadiens were forced to pause their schedule, we have seen three games played by the Rocket. Thanks to a stellar performance by goaltender Cayden Primeau last night, the Habs top affiliate snuck out with a 1-0 victory and continued an impressive points streak.

Last night’s victory over the Manitoba Moose was the eighth straight game that the Rocket earned at least a point in the standings. They are 7-0-1 in that stretch and their only loss was a wild comeback by the Moose the previous night.

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The Rocket led that game 3-1 heading into the final minute and even had some offensive zone pressure with the Moose goalie pulled. They couldn’t get a puck into the empty net and the Moose scored with 22 seconds left to pull within one. Unbelievably, the Moose would tie the game in the final second and then win in the shootout.

The Rocket bounced back last night as Joel Teasdale scored on the first shot of the game. That would turn out to be all that was needed as Cayden Primeau kicked aside every one of the 19 shots he faced on the night to earn his first shutout of the season.

Primeau was drafted in the 7th round of the 2017 NHL Draft but quickly showed that someone should have taken a chance on him with an earlier pick.

He played the next two seasons at Northeastern University and was excellent. He had a 1.92 GAA and a .931 SV% as a freshman and followed that with a 2.09 GAA and a .933 SV% as a sophomore which led to him winning the Mike Richter Award as the best goaltender in college hockey.

Primeau played his first pro season last year and was solid, and certainly trending in the right direction when the season was shut down. He finished with a 2.45 GAA and a .908 SV% in 33 contests. He was much better later in the season when he was given the starter’s job after Charlie Lindgren was called up to the Canadiens.

The 21 year old goaltender appears to be finding his groove again lately. He started the season fine, but had a couple of difficult outings early on. He didn’t play a single hockey game from March 11, 2020 to February 12, 2021, so it was understandable when he allowed four goals on 19 shots in his second game of the season.

Primeau has been exceptional in his last five starts, culminating in last night’s shutout.

Over those five games, he has five wins, a GAA of 1.58 and a save percentage of .934. It is certainly no coincidence that the team is on a lengthy points streak as Primeau gets hot.

Of course, not all of the credit can go to the goaltender. The team plays a stifling defensive style and don’t allow many Grade A quality chances. In Primeau’s last five games, they are only allowing an average of 24.2 shots against per game.

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Head Coach Joel Bouchard’s system is a big help, but there is no question Primeau is finding his groove once again and its starting to look like one of the best goaltenders in the American Hockey League.