Saku Koivu's Return To Montreal Capped By Ducks Shootout Win Over Canadiens

Koivu spent 14 seasons in Montreal, including 11 as captain.

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Ryan, Hiller Lead Ducks To 4-3 Shootout Win In Saku Koivu's Return To Montreal

Montreal, QC (Sports Network) - Bobby Ryan scored the lone goal of the shootout as Anaheim blew a two-goal third-period lead but rebounded to top Montreal, 4-3, at Bell Centre. Ryan began the third and final round by scoring on a low forehander inside the left post. Brian Gionta could have kept the home team alive, but his shot from the right post was smothered by Jonas Hiller to end the game.

Ryan also tallied in regulation as did Cam Fowler and Corey Perry for the Ducks, who have won six of their last eight contests. Hiller won with 37 stops. Saku Koivu returned to Montreal for the first time since leaving as a free agent to Anaheim in 2009, and recorded an assist but committed a late penalty which led to the Habs' tying tally. Max Pacioretty scored a pair for the Canadiens, who rallied to tie the game with two scores in the final 3:40 of regulation but lost for the second time in three games. Mathieu Darche also lit the lamp and Carey Price only stopped 23 shots in defeat.

For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Anaheim Calling.

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Ducks Vs. Canadiens: Saku Koivu Given Hero's Welcome In Montreal

The Anaheim Ducks are trying to win a hockey game tonight at Bell Centre against the Montreal Canadiens, but the story of the night is the return of Saku Koivu to Montreal. The Ducks center, who spent the first 14 years of his career in Montreal, including 11 seasons as Canadiens' team captain, played his first game in Montreal since joining Anaheim as a free agent in 2009.

Before the game tonight, the Montreal crowd constantly cheered Koivu as he was warming up, several holding signs in support of the former Canadiens star. Then, after the national anthems, the crowd gave Koivu a prolonged standing ovation. Players from both teams skated to their respective benches, leaving the ice all to Koivu for over a minute as the crowd cheered. If you don't get goose bumps watching this, you have no soul:

Such an outpouring of emotion and support from a stadium full of fans make this one of the great moments in sports. Koivu then took part in the opening face off with center Scott Gomez of Montreal, who didn't even contest it as the referee dropped the puck. The Ducks currently lead 2-1 over Montreal late in the second period.

For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Anaheim Calling.

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Ducks Battle Canadiens In Saku Koivu's Return To Montreal

The Anaheim Ducks continue their four-game road trip tonight with a trip to Montreal for the first time since 2008, and just the third time in eight seasons. The Ducks are in search of their ninth win in 12 games as they battle the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre, but the story of the night is Saku Koivu's return to Montreal. The 36-year old center, who joined the Ducks as a free agent before last season, spent the first 14 seasons of his career in Montreal.

Koivu was drafted by Montreal in 1993, and played for the Canadiens from the 1995-1996 season through the 2008-2009 season. He is 10th all-time in Canadiens' history with 641 points scored, and sixth all-time with 450 assists. He was captain of the Canadiens for 11 of his 14 seasons. Koivu, understandably, is excited about tonight's game, telling Ducks' radio analyst Dan Wood, "This is going to be a game, a weekend that I will remember probably for the rest of my life. There are a lot of feelings involved."

There is even a Facebook campaign imploring fans to vote Koivu first star in tonight's game. Fans can vote beginning 90 minutes after the start of tonight's game.

In a return that will garner much less fanfare, Ducks center Maxim Lapierre also returns to Montreal, where he spent the first five and a half seasons of his career. The Ducks acquired Lapierre on December 31 for defenseman Brett Festerling and a fifth round draft pick in 2012. Lapierre has one assist in eight games as a Duck.

Anaheim is 9-13-3 on the road this season. Montreal is 16-6-3 at home this season, the third best home mark in the NHL. The Ducks are 9-5-1 against Eastern Conference teams. Today's 4 p.m. PST game will be televised by Prime Ticket.

For more information on tonight's game, be sure to read Anaheim Calling.

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