Ducks, Habs clash on special night for Koivu

( – The Anaheim Ducks had a sizeable winning streak halted
last time out and would love to do the same to the hosting Montreal Canadiens
on Thursday night at Bell Centre.

However, the Habs come in with a streaking offense and could get another
emotional lift when longtime captain Saku Koivu is honored following the end
of his 18-year career.

Montreal returned home last week following a 1-3-0 road trip, but has won the
first three of a five-game homestand, scoring 13 goals over that span while
allowing just four.

The Canadiens are on their longest winning streak since a season-high six-game
run from Nov. 5-16, but they lost seven of 10 after that before starting their
current homestand.

Montreal extended its win streak with Tuesday’s 4-1 victory over the Carolina
Hurricanes, with Alex Galchenyuk posting his first career hat trick. Max
Pacioretty picked up an assist on each goal as well.

“It feels great. My linemates made it easy for me. I had a lot of fun out
there tonight,” Galchenyuk said. “We had good chemistry tonight.”

Brandon Prust added a goal and Carey Price made 25 saves.

The Canadiens will try to keep their impressive offensive run going in front
of Koivu, who spent the first 13 seasons of his NHL career with Montreal. He
spent the bulk of that time as the club’s captain and totaled 191 goals and
450 assists in 792 games with the Habs, a time that included a courageous
fight with non-Hodkin’s lymphoma in 2001-02.

Koivu then spent his final five NHL seasons with the Ducks before retiring in
September. He ended his career with 832 points in 1,124 games.

In an attempt to cool off the Canadiens, the Ducks themselves will be aiming
to rebound after having a seven-game win streak halted with a 6-2 loss to the
Toronto Maple Leafs, who scored four third-period goals.

Sami Vatanen and Ryan Kesler scored for the Ducks.

“I don’t think we deserved to lose by that much,” said Ducks forward Andrew
Cogliano. “I thought we had most of the play. We gave them easy goals at the
end of the game, but we held most of the play.”

Frederik Andersen made his 19th straight start and allowed four goals on 20
shots before being pulled in the third period. Ilya Bryzgalov turned aside 5-
of-7 shots in relief, making his first appearance of the season and beginning
his second tenure with the club.

It is unknown if Andersen will continue his streak of starts with a first-
career appearance versus the Canadiens tonight or if Bryzgalov will make his
first start of the campaign. Bryzgalov is 3-3-1 with a 3.15 goals against
average and .876 save percentage in seven career meetings with the Habs.
Bryzgalov: 3-3-1 with a 3.15 GAA and .876 save in seven vs Habs

Price is 1-2-1 in five career games versus the Ducks, with four starts,
posting a 3.02 GAA and .899 save percentage.

Anaheim plays the fourth of a five-game road trip that ends on Friday in
Ottawa and won’t have forward Kyle Palmieri for the rest of the trip because
of a shoulder injury suffered versus the Leafs.

The Ducks recalled young forward Emerson Etem, a 2010 first round pick, from
the minors and he skated with Kesler and Matt Beleskey at practice. Etem has
two goals and four points in 21 games with Anaheim this season.

Anaheim lost both of its games versus Montreal last season, with a setback on
Oct. 24, 2013 snapping a three-game win streak at Bell Centre.