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Koivu to the rescue

Tuesday, 03.04.2007 / 12:00 AM / News
Montreal Canadiens
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Koivu to the rescue
Captain responds with sixth two-goal game of 2006-07


Saku Koivu opened the scoring with a highlight reel tally, en route to his sixth two-goal game of the season.

MONTREAL - Many wondered whether Saku Koivu would hold a grudge after being used sparingly late in Saturday's win over the Sabres. If the Canadiens captain did have a chip on his shoulder, he sure took it out on the Bruins.

"I don't know if he was trying to send me a message or not, but he definitely responded to what I threw his way," said Guy Carbonneau, wearing a grin from ear to ear. "I didn't expect him to be happy after the way things went on Saturday night, but I knew he would bounce back."

By handling all the scoring in Montreal's 2-0 win over Boston Tuesday night, Koivu not only pulled the Habs one step closer to a playoff berth, he also set a new career high. With now 22 goals on the year, the Habs captain surpassed his previous high of 21 set back in 2002-03, while matching the career-best 71 points he also put up that year.

"I gotta say, those two goals felt pretty good," said Koivu after scoring the game-winning goal for the second straight game. "It means even more coming in a game like tonight when we're battling for a playoff spot."

After opening the scoring at the 16:46 mark of the first period, Koivu added a little insurance with just over five minutes to go in the third.

"That second one was quite a relief," added Koivu, who enjoyed his sixth two-goal night of 2006-07. "The Bruins were really starting to come on. That goal let us breathe a little before putting the game away."

Lost in the shuffle of Koivu enjoying the most explosive season of his 12-year career is how only a few months ago his hockey future was in doubt. After suffering a serious injury to his left eye during the 2006 playoffs, Koivu endured blurred vision all summer long and remains hampered by reduced vision in that eye.

Nonetheless, seeing the player sporting the "C" he once wore lead the way when it matters most doesn't surprise Carbonneau one bit.

"He's not our captain by accident," Carbonneau said. "He's a leader who gives everything he's got on every shift. Even if things don't go well one night, he always comes back strong. We need Saku at his best with the playoff right around the corner."

Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com