The Montreal Canadiens bounced back from an ugly loss to the Edmonton Oilers two nights earlier, with a statement 4-1 victory over the visiting Anaheim Ducks.
Anaheim came into the game with one of the league’s best records at 7-2-0 on the young season. The Canadiens had lost back to back home games, and with the San Jose Sharks coming to town Saturday night, needed a win against the Ducks, or a lengthy losing streak could have been headed right for them.
Michael Bournival continued his scoring streak when he opened the scoring with a nice tip on a Nathan Beaulieu point shot. The goal stretched Bournival’s point streak to four games and was Beaulieu’s first of the season. Bournival then set up Tomas Plekanec in the slot, who promptly made it 2-0, following a Ryan Getzlaf turnover.
The Canadiens looked tentative to begin the second period with the same two goal lead that the blew against the Oilers, but Brian Gionta extended the Habs lead to 3-0 midway through the second, when he banged in a loose puck during a mad scramble on a Canadiens 5 on 3 advantage.
The Ducks took advantage of a Josh Gorges turnover with eleven minutes to play in the third period, and Patrick Maroon finished on the resulting 2 on 1 break, but it was as close as the Ducks would come in this game.
Rene Bourque sealed the win with a quick backhander that Anaheim goaltender Jonas Hiller would like to have back. Bourque stepped out of the penalty box and was hit with a Plekanec pass as he cut through the Ducks zone. He tossed a low shot on net, and it squeaked through the pads of the Swiss netminder to make it 4-1, and put the game out of reach with 7:21 to play.
Carey Price was not called upon often to make difficult saves, but he finished the night with 31 stops on 32 shots. The game improves his numbers to a 2,13 goals against average and a .936 save percentage on the season.
The game was bookended by a pair of standing ovations for former Canadiens captain Saku Koivu. Saku played the first thirteen years of his NHL career in Montreal, and received a warm welcome in his second return to the Bell Centre as a visitor since his departure in 2009. The fans cheered loudly when the camera showed Koivu during the American national anthem, and once again when Saku was lining up for a faceoff with just seconds left in the game.
Koivu was named the third star of the game.
The win improves the Canadiens record on the season to 6-4-0 after ten games, and they will have their biggest test of the year so far on Saturday night when the 8-1-1 Sharks come to town.