It was a perfect night for Saku Koivu.
Before the start of the meeting, the Montreal fans have warmly welcomed the former Canadiens captain who was making his first visit to the Bell Centre since leaving Montreal 18 months ago.
Late in the game, he was able to celebrate the 4-3 victory over the Ducks, torn during the shootout.
"I'm relieved. I'm glad it's over. It was very emotional. There's really no words to describe how I feel after the reaction of fans at the beginning and end of games, "said the veteran Ducks after the match.
In his first visit to the Bell Centre since leaving Montreal, Saku Koivu received a nice ovation from the Montreal fans.
For almost two minutes, the former captain of the Canadiens held only at center ice to loud applause from the crowd at the Bell Centre. His teammates let him savor this moment alone.
"We did not know what to expect. I do not expect them to release the ice for me. It was a way to show their respect. They were able to participate at that time. They also appreciated. They love playing in Montreal. "
While his teammates were at the Ducks bench, Saku Koivu raised his stick as a hello to the crowd, his first since leaving Montreal there eighteen months.
"I saw some familiar faces. I tried to stay calm. At that time, many things went through my head. I did not think much to the game. I thought back to April 2002 and the ovation ...», he said.
Saku Koivu returned to his supporters and some good memories, last night at the Bell Centre.
The last time he received a standing ovation, it was during his comeback after winning his fight against cancer.
It was April 9, 2002 against the Senators.
When he jumped on the ice at the Bell Centre, 21,000 fans had tears in them and cheered in unison.
The ovation lasted long. Koivu has never forgotten.
He again thanked the Montreal fans for the welcome they accorded him this week.
For Koivu, the first communion with his supporters was important, emotional and Ducks teammates knew it.
During the morning workout, they do not lose to tease and have fun to applaud every time he touched the puck.
Last night, he experienced some difficulties during the match.
"It was hard to start the game. The entire first period, I felt a bit tired because of all the nervousness associated with this meeting. I found my legs a little later. But this match was one of the most difficult of my career, "he said.
The veteran of 36 years is pleased with the victory of the Ducks and that ultimate encounter with the Montreal fans.
"It was a beautiful evening. It's a memory I'll keep with me for the rest of my life, "he said.