Well with a relief we're all happy that this one is over. The heralded return of Captain Koivu to Montreal was a success, more for him than the Habs to be sure, but all in all a nice way to once again share some love and admiration with him. He has been and always will be total class, which puts him at the head of the class for Canadiens alumni.
It was nice what the Canadiens did at the end of the anthems by showing images of Koivu when he came back from cancer, then showing him on the ice with the Ducks, and the crowd gave him a standing O before puck drop. Both number 11s faced off, Koivu against Gomez.
Gamewise not the greatest game all around. Ultimately great that the Habs came back from 2 goals down with less than 4 minutes remaining in regulation to get a point out of the affair. They certainly had their chances but either missed the net (especially Gionta) or Jonas Hiller made the save. Both Hiller and Price had strong outings.
Koivu put his team in hot water, taking penalties at inopportune moments -- like he did so many times during his last few seasons with the Canadiens. And it cost the Ducks. The Habs scored the tying goal with 12 seconds left while he was in the box. Max Pacioretty continues his strong play since his rib injury, hammering home two dirty goals while the team's top scorers couldn't find the mark.
MaxPac is that kind of power forward the Canadiens so desperately need, getting those dirty goals in front. His hard work is starting to pay off. Desharnais also had a good game. And so did Engqvist in my opinion. So good to see the newbies fitting in and earning their keep.
It was almost the dream situation as in OT I was thinking how great it would be if Koivu scored. Even if the Habs lost the game, I wouldn't have minded seeing that. Kind of like when Lafleur made his triumphant return with the Rangers, only to score twice on Patrick Roy. That was a night I'll never forget. It was great. I love Guy. And you know what? I love Saku too.
Come to think of it, the ideal would have been the Habs winning in a shootout, with Koivu scoring in the shootout. Instead the Habs were blanked, and Bobby Ryan -- who was all over the ice last night -- potted the winner. I was a bit disappointed that Martin didn't send out Pacioretty given his strong game. In any case, he was named 2nd star, and got to take in more of the love from the Canadiens faithful.
So although the Canadiens didn't get the two points, there was a lot of good things in last night's game they can build on. Ultimately it was still a good week for the team, scoring 6 of 8 possible points.
The team closes out the schedule before the All-Star break with a visit to the Flyers, who are playing the Chicago Blackhawks as I write this. Should be a good one.