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.