Ridiculous Weekend From Brandon Gignac Keeps Laval Rocket Alive In Playoff Race

Feb 13, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Brandon Gignac
Feb 13, 2024; Montreal, Quebec, CAN; Montreal Canadiens center Brandon Gignac / David Kirouac-USA TODAY Sports

The Montreal Canadiens are trudging through a third straight rebuilding season. We are about three quarters of the way through the schedule and they are clearly missing the playoffs yet again.

Injuries have played a small role in that, with Kirby Dach and Christian Dvorak missing considerable time this season, but the postseason was unlikely if you talked to anyone on day one of the regular season.

Those injuries may not have been the difference between a playoff season in Montreal, but they did open up a door for some players to get called up for an NHL audition. With Dach and Dvorak hurt, and Sean Monahan traded to the Winnipeg Jets, Brandon Gignac was called up for a short stint with the Canadiens.

Gignac was leading the Rocket in scoring when he signed an NHL contract with the Canadiens and joined them for seven games and scored his first career NHL goal. He was then sent back down to the Laval Rocket where he would rejoin a team that was falling further out of playoff contention, much like the Canadiens.

However, Gignac seems to be putting the Rocket on his back and is carrying them into playoff contention. The Rocket entered the month of March on the edge of a playoff spot but lost three consecutive games to begin the month.

They went into a pair of weekend games against the division leading Cleveland Monsters, needing to snap that skid. With five of the seven teams in the division making the playoffs, the Rocket were in sixth.

On Friday night, Gignac got an assist on the game's opening goal to give the Rocket an early lead. He then scored early in the second period and set up another goal to give the Rocket a 4-1 lead just past the midpoint of the game and they would hold on to win that game.

The next night, Gignac was even better as the Rocket took down the Monsters once again. Gignac opened the scoring while shorthanded early in the first period but the Monsters responded with a pair of goals. Gignac then set up a power play goal by Xavier Simoneau late in the first period to tie the game.

Less than 30 seconds into the second period, Gignac set up a Sean Farrell goal and gave the Rocket a lead they would not cough up. He added an assist on an empty net goal late in the third period to give himself a third assist and fourth point of the night. Add on his three point night from Friday and he tallied seven points in two games against the top team in the division.

The Rocket now have just 15 games remaining in the regular season as the playoff race heats up quickly. They are still three points out of the playoff picture at the moment. but still have a chance to catch the Toronto Marlies, Belleville Senators and Rochester Americans.

Had their struggles continued through the weekend that gap would have started to feel insurmountable. However, Gignac who is now in the top ten in AHL scoring, put the team on his back and dominated against the Monsters all weekend.

Thanks to him, the Rocket still have a chance to overcome their slow start to the season and make the Calder Cup Playoffs.