Bobby Ryan scored the only goal in a shootout as the Anaheim Ducks pulled out a 4-3 win over the Canadiens in former Habs' captain Saku Koivu's return to Montreal on Saturday night.
The Canadiens trailed 3-1 with under four minutes to play, but Mathieu Darche brought the Habs within one before Max Pacioretty tied it with 13 seconds left to play. Pacioretty's goal came on a power play with goaltender Carey Price pulled for an extra attacker.
It was Pacioretty's second goal of the night, each coming with Koivu in the penalty box. Koivu was called for three minor penalties in his first game in Montreal since he parted ways with the club in 2009.
The Bell Centre crowd stood for a long ovation before the opening faceoff for the popular Koivu, who was not offered a contract after the 2008-09 season and signed as a free agent with Anaheim. They cheered again as he was named one of the three stars.
Cam Fowler, Ryan and Corey Perry, on an assist fro Koivu, scored in regulation for the Ducks (27-20-4), who went 2-for-4 on the power play. Anaheim lost 5-2 on Thursday in Toronto but is now 9-3-0 since star centre Ryan Getzlaf suffered sinus fractures Dec. 28.
Montreal (27-17-5) was coming off a 7-1 win Friday night in Ottawa.
The energy from the Koivu ovation died quickly in a plodding opening period. Fowler got the only goal during a power play on a point shot that went off the stick of Andreas Engqvist, off the tip of Roman Hamrlik's blade and past Carey Price at 15:07.
Koivu was called twice for minor penalties early in the middle frame. On the second, a slashing call, Montreal equalized as Pacioretty slid the puck through Jonas Hiller's pads from the side of the net at 7:55.
An innocent looking play turned into an Anaheim goal at 16:26 as Joffrey Lupul poked in a rebound on a goal credited to Ryan.
With 17 seconds left in the period, Koivu slipped the puck to Perry in front for his 25th of the season.
The building woke up when Yannick Weber's point shot was tipped past Hiller by Darche with 3:40 left to play and was in a roar when Koivu was hit with his third penalty of the game with 1:15 left on a questionable tripping call.
With Price pulled for an extra attacker, Pacioretty tipped in a loose puck from the crease.
It was only the third visit for the Ducks since they last lost in Montreal in 2001.
Notes: It was also a homecoming fro ex-Habs Kyle Chipchura and Paul Mara, but Anaheim coach Randy Carlyle opted to leave both out of the lineup along with Sheldon Brookbank. . . Jeff Halpern missed a second game with an upper body injury, although he skated Saturday morning. Alexandre Picard and Tom Pyatt were healthy scratches.