DUCKS (7-2-0) at CANADIENS (5-4-0)
TV: RDS, PRIME, TSN-HABS
Season series: The Anaheim Ducks and Montreal Canadiens have not met since Nov. 30, 2011, and this will be Anaheim's first visit to Montreal since Jan. 22, 2011. The Ducks have won each of the past two meetings.
Big story: Tonight marks the 23rd game all-time between the Ducks and Canadiens. Since the start of the 2005-06 season, the Ducks have picked up 11-of-12 points in the six contests between the two NHL clubs, going 5-0-1 since Dec. 10, 2005 at Montreal. In the most recent meeting on Nov. 30, 2011 at Honda Center, the Ducks prevailed 4-1 on the strength of three-point nights from Ryan Getzlaf (1-2=3) and Corey Perry (1-2=3).
Anaheim’s last visit to the Bell Centre was on Jan. 22, 2011, marking Saku Koivu's return to Montreal for his first game against his former club since signing as a free agent with the Ducks on July 8, 2009. In three career contests vs. the Canadiens, Koivu has collected 0-1=1 point with six PIM. Koivu played each of his first 13 NHL seasons in a Montreal uniform, and was named team captain on Sept. 30, 1999, holding the title for 10 years, matching the longest serving captaincy in Montreal’s 100-year history (also Jean Beliveau). Koivu collected 191-450=641 points in 792 games with the Canadiens from 1995-09.
Canadiens coach Michel Therrien was the coach back when Koivu made an emotional return from cancer on April 9, 2002, getting an eight-minute standing ovation from the fans prior to the game and helping Montreal clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Playoffs with a 4-3 win against the Ottawa Senators before leading the Canadiens to a first-round upset of the Boston Bruins.
"What I remember the most is the ovation the Canadiens fans gave him," Therrien said after practice Wednesday. "I wasn't behind the bench at the time, I had to go in the back because emotionally, that was a special moment. It is such an important moment in my life that I have a photo of that in my house to remind me of that day. There are moments in your life that stay with you, and his return stayed with me."
Anaheim owns an all-time record of 10-9-3 vs. Montreal, including a 5-4-2 mark at the Bell Center. Teemu Selanne leads the Ducks in career scoring vs. the Canadiens, earning 7-17=24 points in 23 games.
Ducks: Anaheim is in the second game of a season-long eight-game road trip that runs through Nov. 4. Though the Ducks are perfect at home (5-0-0), they are 2-2-0 on the road with seven games to go on the trip after losing 4-2 against the Toronto Maple Leafs on Tuesday.
"I didn't think our power play was very good at all tonight. At all," coach Bruce Boudreau said after the game in Toronto. "It's just something we have to continually work on and make the process get it right. It's a productive thing. We haven't used the power play to win a game this year, or special teams for that matter, and it cost us tonight."
The Ducks have been able to compensate for their power play by being very effective at 5-on-5, scoring 25 goals, tops in the League. But that is sometimes difficult to maintain on the road when the home coach has greater control of the matchups. Fixing the power play may be a key to a successful road trip.
The Ducks have outscored their opposition, 30-17 (shootout goals not included), since their season-opening loss in Colorado. Overall, Anaheim's 31 goals through the first nine games matches the club record originally set in 2012-13.
Canadiens: Montreal played its first game since losing Daniel Briere and Brandon Prust to injury Tuesday and blew a 2-0 lead against the Edmonton Oilers to lose 4-3, with their third goal coming with fewer than two seconds remaining.
Montreal was up 2-0 after 20 minutes but the game was tied by the end of the second period, a trend for the Canadiens over the past two seasons under Therrien. Since the start of 2012-13, the Canadiens have allowed 68 goals in the second period and 74 goals in the other two periods combined.
"We opened the door for them, and it was unnecessary," center Lars Eller said Wednesday. "I can't tell you why, but we took our foot off the gas."
Who's hot: Ducks center Mathieu Perreault has a career-high four-game point streak with two goals and two assists. Right wing Emerson Etem has a goal and two assists in his past two games. … Canadiens right wing Brendan Gallagher has a goal in each of his past two games. Center Tomas Plekanec has three goals and an assist in his past three games.
Injury report: The Ducks are missing left wing Dustin Penner (upper body), left wing Matt Beleskey (thumb), defenseman Sheldon Souray (Wrist) and goalie Viktor Fasth (lower body). Defenseman Luca Sbisa, who's been sidelined with an ankle injury since Anaheim's preseason opener, is skating with the team, but his game status remains unknown. …The Canadiens will be without center Daniel Briere (concussion), left wing Brandon Prust (shoulder), left wing Max Pacioretty (hamstring), right wing George Parros (concussion), defenseman Alexei Emelin (knee), defenseman Davis Drewiske (shoulder) and defenseman Douglas Murray (upper body).
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