Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Canadiens Captain Saku Koivu Given Ovation after Montreal Beats Anaheim

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

Former Canadiens Captain Saku Koivu Given Ovation after Montreal Beats Anaheim

Article excerpt

Koivu applauded, Habs beat Ducks 4-1


MONTREAL - If this was the last time Saku Koivu laced up his skates in Montreal, it was exactly the way he imagined it.

The former Canadiens captain, who played 13 years with the club before signing with Anaheim in 2009, received a standing ovation from the Bell Centre crowd after Montreal's 4-1 victory over the Ducks on Thursday night.

"It was emotional," said Koivu. "I had the whole building behind me. It was nice. A big thank you for that. I felt great before the game. And obviously at the end, that was amazing."

Koivu hasn't announced his retirement, but there's speculation the 38-year-old will call it quits at the end of the season. If that's the case, Koivu won't ever skate again in the city he captained for a decade.

"It's overwhelming to be there, to get that reaction from the fans. It just shows how passionate they are, and shows their appreciation.

"You don't know how to react. You want to keep the focus on the game. And moments like that, it's not easy. The emotions get the most out of you."

This wasn't Koivu's first return to Montreal since he left the city that drafted him in the first round in 1993. In January 2011, he beat his old team 4-3. Tonight, his new team couldn't find the win against an inspired Canadiens team.

Montreal was up 2-0 at the end of the first period on goals by Michael Bournival and Tomas Plekanec. The Ducks came out firing in the second but couldn't beat Carey Price, who made 31 saves on the night.

"We didn't let up," said captain Brian Gionta. "We knew they were going to have a push. We absorbed it and kept the momentum.

"Big part is to continue to play our game and not open up. When the other team presses, you have to make sure you stick with your game plan."

Gionta and Rene Bourque later scored for the Habs. Patrick Maroon scored a consolation goal for Anaheim.

After relentless pressure by the Canadiens to start the game, Bournival scored his second of the year to put the Habs ahead 1-0 at 11:39 of the first period.

Bournival tipped a blue-line shot from Nathan Beaulieu past Anaheim netminder Jonas Hiller. …

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