DUCKS (7-2-0) @ CANADIENS (5-4-0)
The Canadiens look to snap a two-game losing streak when they play host to long-time captain Saku Koivu and the Ducks on Thursday night at the Bell Centre.
Michel Therrien’s squad fell 4-3 to the Oilers on Tuesday night in Montreal, marking the first time that the Habs had dropped consecutive tilts during the 2013-14 campaign. Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher scored for the Canadiens in the first period to pace the bleu-blanc-rouge to a 2-0 advantage. The Oilers stormed back with four goals of their own, before Brian Gionta cut Edmonton’s lead to a single goal with just three seconds remaining in regulation time. Carey Price stopped 28 of the 32 shots Dallas Eakins’ troops fired his way. He is now 4-4-0 on the year, and will be making his ninth start in goal come Thursday night’s game.
The Ducks, meanwhile, are coming off a 4-2 loss to the Maple Leafs at the Air Canada Centre on Tuesday night. The loss snapped Anaheim’s franchise-tying seven-game winning streak. Like the Canadiens, Bruce Boudreau’s club also squandered a 2-0 lead in their most recent outing in Toronto, as the Maple Leafs rallied with four unanswered markers of their own. Nick Bonino and Mathieu Perreault lit the lamp for Anaheim, but Phil Kessel replied with a hat trick for the Original Six franchise en route to earning their seventh victory of the year. Ducks goaltender Jonas Hiller suffered his first loss of the season, turning aside 19 of the 23 shots he faced. The tilt against the Maple Leafs was the first of eight straight that the Ducks will contest away from Orange County.
Koivu, who signed a one-year deal with the Ducks over the summer, returns once again to the city in which he spent the first 13 years of his NHL career. The 38-year-old has two goals and three points in nine games for Anaheim thus far this season. While the Bell Centre faithful will have a chance to show their appreciation once again for the veteran centerman, they’ll also have the opportunity to bid adieu to sniper Teemu Selanne who is set to hang up his skates following the season. The 43-year-old has registered three goals and six points in eight games this year. Ryan Getzlaf, Corey Perry and Perreault are all off to hot starts for the Ducks. The trio lead Anaheim in scoring with nine points each.
The Ducks will not have Dustin Penner in the lineup against the Canadiens. He returned to Anaheim for further concussion testing after being injured in Sunday’s win over Dallas. As a result, forward Devante Smith-Pelley was called up from the AHL’s Norfolk Admirals.
The Canadiens and Ducks have squared off 22 times since the California-based franchise joined the NHL in 1993. The Habs have come out on top on 10 occasions, including four times in 11 meetings in Montreal. The Ducks topped the Canadiens 4-1 when the two clubs last met on Nov. 30, 2011 on the West Coast.
Puck drop is scheduled for 7:30 p.m. EST.
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