Saku Koivu’s return to the Bell Centre had mixed results. First, his team won the game 3-2 in a shootout spoiling a Canadiens third period comeback. That trumps everything. Before the game Koivu was given a standing ovation and he got another one when Canadiens fans generously voted him the game’s second star. He also assisted on the goal that gave Anaheim a 3-1 lead with seventeen seconds remaining in the second period. But, Koivu also picked up three minor penalties and Max Pacioretty scored on two of them including the goal that tied the game up with 13 seconds remaining in regulation time.

Just over three minutes earlier, Mathieu Darche deflected a Yannick Weber shot to narrow the score to 3-2. Cam Fowler opened the scoring on a first period power play. Pacioretty evened it early in the second period but the Ducks struck for two goals by Bobby Ryan and Corey Perry to give the Ducks that 3-1 lead going to the third period. Ryan scored the only goal of the shootout.

The game was a defensive struggle that a times had the sellout Bell Centre crowd sitting on it’s collective hands. The Canadiens outshot the Ducks 40-26 including 23-5 as they mounted their third period comeback.

Summing it Up – Some nights it’s hard enough to watch a Jacques Martin team when it’s in full trapping mode, but when there are two teams on the ice basically lining up at their respective bluelines, you have a sure cure for insomnia.

The Canadiens had a hard time getting their game going. In the second period things started to look good and then the Canadiens gave up a power play goal with thirteen seconds left that put them in a 3-1 hole. Carey Price has had better nights. Two of the three goals resulted from a failure to control rebounds. All credit for the Canadiens’ third period. They pounded 23 shots at Jonas Hiller, who finally caved for those two late goals.

Max Pacioretty is doing everything that the Canadiens hoped for when they drafted him as a potential power forward three and one half years ago. Both of his goals were scored from the lip of the crease. The first when he came out of the corner and jammed the puck through a keyhole space between Hiller’s pads. The second when he fought off checking at the side of the crease, his sixth shot on goal of the game. Andrei Kostitsyn has picked up his game at exactly the right time. Replacing Michael Cammalleri on the Plekanec line, he had another outstanding night with an assist, four shots on goal and a team-leading three hits. James Wisniewski was the best of the defensemen again. He was rewarded with a game leading 30:30 ice time.

P.K. Subban gave the fans a few thrills at both ends of the ice. He shot the puck at Hiller sixteen times. Six of them hit the net. The Gomez line had fifteen shots on goal (Pacioretty-6, Gomez-4, Gionta-5). Ten of those shots came in the third period.

Motivated by a need for consistant offense, Jacques Martin shortened his bench for the third period. Lars Eller was taken off the Plekanec line and replaced by Travis Moen. Andreas Engqvist got two third period shifts and Ryan White rode the bench along with Eller. Still Martin had the confidence in Engqvist to use him as a penalty killer in the first period, and a couple of times in the game there were three rookies, Engqvist, White and Yannick Weber, on the ice together. They must be doing something right.

Since that loss to Pittsburgh the Canadiens have taken six of a possible eight points and since they ended that dreadful 2-8-0 stretch in December they’re 7-1-3. Next up – the Flyers in Philadelphia Tuesday night.

The Goalscorers – Anaheim – Fowler(4) PPG (Visnovsky-Selanne); Ryan (22) PPG (Lupul); Perry (25) PPG (Koivu-Selanne); Ryan (Shootout). Canadiens – Pacioretty (5th) PPG (Gomez); Darche (8th) (Weber-Kostitsyn); Pacioretty (6th) PPG-EN (Plekanec-Subban).

Shots on Goal- Anaheim – 8-11-5-2 =26 Canadiens – 7-10-23-0 = 40.

The Fans Three Stars – First – Bobby Ryan (1 goal plus shootout winner), Second- Saku Koivu (1 assist – 1 shot) Third – Max Pacioretty (2 goals – 6 shots on goal.

The Corsi/Fenwick Number

Game Number Team Player Number Goals Saved shots Missed Shots Fenwick+/- Blocked Shots Corsi+/-
20716 MTL 6 – D – SPACEK, JAROSLAV 0 0 6 3 0 2 1 5 2 4
20716 MTL 11 – C – GOMEZ, SCOTT 0 0 10 2 2 2 8 3 2 9
20716 MTL 14 – C – PLEKANEC, TOMAS 1 0 7 7 4 0 5 7 0 12
20716 MTL 20 – D – WISNIEWSKI, JAMES 0 0 9 6 4 1 6 7 2 11
20716 MTL 21 – R – GIONTA, BRIAN 0 0 11 1 5 1 14 3 2 15
20716 MTL 31 – G – PRICE, CAREY 1 1 21 13 7 5 10 18 4 24
20716 MTL 32 – L – MOEN, TRAVIS 0 0 4 3 1 1 1 6 0 7
20716 MTL 44 – D – HAMRLIK, ROMAN 1 0 11 5 4 1 10 6 2 14
20716 MTL 46 – L – KOSTITSYN, ANDREI 1 0 9 5 3 0 8 8 0 16
20716 MTL 52 – L – DARCHE, MATHIEU 1 1 3 2 0 1 0 7 2 5
20716 MTL 53 – C – WHITE, RYAN 0 0 0 3 1 2 -4 2 0 -2
20716 MTL 57 – L – POULIOT, BENOIT 0 1 3 2 0 1 -1 5 2 2
20716 MTL 58 – C – DESHARNAIS, DAVID 0 0 2 2 0 2 -2 3 2 -1
20716 MTL 63 – C – ENGQVIST, ANDREAS 0 0 2 2 1 1 0 3 0 3
20716 MTL 67 – L – PACIORETTY, MAX 0 0 9 4 1 3 3 3 1 5
20716 MTL 68 – D – WEBER, YANNICK 1 1 8 3 0 3 2 5 2 5
20716 MTL 75 – D – GILL, HAL 0 0 2 3 3 1 1 5 0 6
20716 MTL 76 – D – SUBBAN, P.K. 0 1 6 6 3 2 0 8 0 8
20716 MTL 81 – C – ELLER, LARS 0 1 3 4 0 0 -2 4 0 2