Game 49: Ryan saves Ducks in Koivu’s return

Ducks centre Saku Koivu made his return to the Bell Centre on Saturday night for the first time since 2009. Koivu played 13 seasons with the Canadiens and was captain for nine seasons. Pierre Obendrauf, The Gazette

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• At a Glance: The Canadiens erased a late two-goal lead for the second time in a month, but unlike the game against the Boston Bruins, the Canadiens lost 4-3 in a shootout to the Anaheim Ducks on Saturday night, marking the return of former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu to Montreal. Bobby Ryan scored the winner, while the Canadiens failed to score on any of their three shots. Ducks defenceman Cam Fowler opened the scoring with a power-play goal 15:07 into the first period. His shot from the point deflected off a Canadiens defenceman in front of Carey Price. The Canadiens got a power-play goal of their own in the second period to tie the game 1-1 with Koivu in the penalty box. Max Pacioretty found an opening between Jonas Hiller’s legs and slid one home from close range 7:55 into the second period. But the Ducks scored twice in the period’s final four minutes to grab a 3-1 lead. Bobby Ryan was credited with a goal off a goalmouth scramble at the 16:26 mark. Then the Ducks got their second power-play goal of the game when Corey Perry scored his 25th goal of the season with 17 seconds left in the period. Koivu earned an assist on Perry’s goal. Mathieu Darche deflected a Yannick Weber point shot with 3:40 to play in the third period to narrow the gap to 3-2. Pacioretty scored his second of the game with 13 seconds to play while the Canadiens were on a power play, with Koivu in the box yet again and Price on the bench for a two-man advantage. Hiller made 37 saves for his 24th win of the season, tying Price for the league lead. Named the second star of the game, Koivu received a nice ovation from the fans left in the Bell centre.

• Key Moments: The Canadiens scored two power-play goals with former captain Koivu watching from the penalty box.

• What It Means: Montreal’s record falls to 27-17-5 for 59 points, dropping two behind the Boston Bruins for top spot in the Northeast Division. The Canadiens are tied on points with the New York Rangers, but sit in sixth place because they hold a game in hand. The Canadiens earned six of a possible eight points this week while playing two sets of back-to-back games.

• What’s Next: The Canadiens play the Philadelphia Flyers on Tuesday before having nearly a week off during the NHL All-Star break before taking on the Washington Capitals on Feb. 1.

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