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Habs ruin Koivu's return to Montreal, dominate Ducks

The SportsXchange

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens' power-play provided a pair of three-goal cushions to make sure their early lead stood up.

Tomas Plekanec had a goal and two assists and Carey Price made 31 saves to lead Montreal to a 4-1 win over the Anaheim Ducks on Thursday night.

Michael Bournival and Brian Gionta each had a goal and an assist and Rene Bourque scored Montreal's second power-play goal of the game 12:39 into the third.

Gionta scored on a two-man advantage midway through the second to put Montreal up 3-0 after Bournival and Plekanec scored in the first.

"Special teams is always huge," Gionta said. "It's a big piece of the game and when you win the special teams battles you have a good chance of winning. You've got to take advantage when they're taking penalties and you've got to try to stay out of the box."

Patrick Maroon ruined Price's shutout bid at 8:58 of the third with his first goal of the season.

Jonas Hiller made 21 saves for Anaheim, which dropped the first two games of its eight-game road trip.

The Ducks, who went 0-for-3 on the power play, ended a seven-game winning streak Tuesday with a 4-2 loss in Toronto.

Anaheim coach Bruce Boudreau split up all-star linemates Ryan Getzlaf and Corey Perry in the second period.

"They weren't very good together so I thought we might get a little bit more oomph out of them if we split them up because they were getting outplayed, simple as that," Boudreau said. "Every time they were on the ice we were in our zone."

Montreal snapped a two-game skid for its fifth win in seven games.

The sold-out Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 chanted "Saku! Saku!" in the final minute of the third, and they unleashed a huge cheer when Boudreau sent the former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu onto the ice to end the game.

Koivu, who missed almost the entire 2001-02 season while battling cancer, raised his stick to acknowledge the crowd when he was given a standing ovation after he was named the third star of the game.

"When you lose you don't expect that you're going to get a star but it was emotional," said Koivu, who spent his first 14 seasons in Montreal.

Bournival deflected Beaulieu's slap shot from the left point over Hiller's glove 11:39 into the first, just after Anaheim defenseman Mark Fistric came out of the penalty box to open the scoring at 11:39 of the first.

Fistric was inserted into the Ducks' lineup after he was a healthy scratch for seven straight games.

Bournival assisted on Plekanec's fifth goal at 16:32, which made it 2-0. The puck slid to the Montreal rookie when Anaheim captain Ryan Getzlaf misfired on a clearing attempt from behind his goal line.

Bournival passed to Plekanec, who drove a one-timer past Hiller from the right side.

"Bourny brought a lot of speed to our line and brought a lot of good elements that we really needed," Plekanec said.

Montreal went up 3-0 when Gionta scored 11:49 into the second, 28 seconds into a lengthy 5-on-3 advantage.

Maroon scored on a 2-on-1, beating Price after taking a setup pass from Nick Bonino to make it 3-1.

Bourque restored Montreal's three-goal margin when he finished off a passing play with Gionta and Plekanec.

NOTES: Koivu was also given a long ovation when he was shown on the video scoreboard during the singing of The Star-Spangled Banner. Koivu was making only his second appearance at the Bell Centre in four seasons with the Ducks. He became the Canadiens' captain before the 1999-2000 season and his length of service in that role was second in team history to Hall of Fame center Jean Beliveau. ... D Ben Lovejoy and C Kyle Palmieri did not dress for Anaheim. ... Canadiens RW George Parros skated with his teammates earlier Thursday for the first time since he suffered a concussion in Montreal's season opener. Parros was injured when his face struck the ice after he fell head first at the end of a fight with Toronto's Colton Orr in the Canadiens' 4-3 loss to the Maple Leafs on Oct. 1.
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