Match UpThe Canadiens (20-10-2) are home to host the Ducks (21-7-5) and pay tribute to former captain Saku Koivu on Thursday. The game is set to start at 7:30 and airs on RDS and City Montreal.
This is the first of two meetings between the Habs and Ducks this season, and the only one in Montreal. The Canadiens actually managed to beat the top seed of the Western conference in both of their matches last season. Dustin Tokarski backstopped the Canadiens to a 4-3 shootout win in Anaheim with a little help from both posts when he faced Kyle Palmieri in the shootout.
What to WatchAlex Galchenyuk notched his first career hat trick Tuesday night against the Canes, lifting him up to 9 goals and 21 points on the season. Max Pacioretty picked up three primary assists, setting up each of Galchenyuk's goals on Tuesday. Pacioretty now leads the team with 25 points on the year.
Ryan Kesler is having a strong year with his new team, the former Canuck has 11 goals and 26 points in 33 games this season. Ryan Getzlaf leads the way for Anaheim, he has 34 points already this season, eighth overall in the NHL.
What's at StakeThe top of the Atlantic division is getting pretty crowded, with four teams separated by just two points for the division lead. With 42 points apiece, the Canadiens and Red Wings are sandwiched in between the Lightning at 43 and the Maple Leafs at 41.
Who's OutSven Andrighetto has been sent back to Hamilton after a fairly successful four-game stint with the Habs. Lars Eller (upper body), Mike Weaver (concussion) and Bryan Allen (illness) have all returned to practice and are cleared for contact, the trio should be available to play Thursday if needed.
Kyle Palmieri (shoulder) is the latest Duck to go down with injury, leaving Tuesday's game against the Leafs. He joins Corey Perry (knee), Francois Beauchemin (finger) and Eric Brewer (foot) on the sidelines.
What ElseSaku Koivu played with the Canadiens from 1995 to 2009, he wore the "C" for ten seasons starting in 1999. Koivu played 792 games in bleu blanc et rouge, scoring 641 points, tenth most in team history, and 450 assists, ranking him sixth all-time amongst Canadiens.
Of course, Koivu's most memorable moment in a Canadiens uniform came on April 9, 2002. He was diagnosed with cancer in September of 2001 and spent almost the entire season receiving treatment before returning on the third to last game of the season, receiving one of the largest ovations in team history. Koivu then led the team to an improbable playoff series win against the top-seeded Boston Bruins.