MONTREAL - The Mighty Ducks made the most of one of their rare visits to Montreal by ending a seven-year winless skid at the Bell Centre with a 5-3 win over the Canadiens on Saturday.
The Canadiens (15-8-5), who were once again without two-thirds of their top line with both Saku Koivu and Alex Kovalev on the shelf, have now lost seven of their last nine games. The Mighty Ducks (13-12-5), who had scored more than three goals only once over their last 19 games, exploded for five goals to climb back over the .500 mark for the first time since Oct. 8.
A well-rested, but noticeably rusty Canadiens squad took almost nine minutes to register their first shot on goal on their way to being shelled for a season-high 20 Anaheim shots in the opening period.
"It's pretty clear that we didn't compete tonight," said head coach Claude Julien. "You can look at this loss 50 different ways but it all boils down to us not showing the effort needed to win a hockey game."
This victory was a long time coming for the Mighty Ducks whose last win at the Bell Centre dates was a 5-4 victory over the Canadiens all the way back on March 21, 1998.
In his second career start at the Bell Centre, Montreal native Jean-Sebastien Giguere won his first-ever game in his hometown as he improved to 7-3-1 on the year. Giguere stopped 21-of-24 shots for only his second road win of the season, with his last road victory coming in a 5-3 final over two months ago on opening night in Chicago. Theodore meanwhile turned away 32-of-37 as his record fell to 12-6-5 on the season.
The line of Teemu Selanne, Petr Sykora and Andy McDonald led the way with a combined six points on the night. Selanne and McDonald picked up a pair of assists while Sykora scored his fifth of the campaign. Jonathan Hedstrom, Zenon Konopka, Ruslan Salei and Rob Niedermayer also scored goals for the Mighty Ducks.
The Canadiens finally scored their first 5-on-3 power-play goal of the season on their 13th opportunity of 2005-06 when Richard Zednik put his team on the board with his eighth of the year. The goal was initially waved off by referee Paul Devorski but was finally ruled in the Canadiens' favor after the play was reviewed. In helping set up Zednik, Sheldon Souray now has four points over his last six games after going pointless in his nine games prior to his current tear.
Another bright spot for the Canadiens was rookie Alexander Perezhogin who scored his sixth of the season almost midway through the second period. The 22-year-old also added an assist for only the second two-point game of his young career. With their assists on Perezhogin's goal, Pierre Dagenais and Mike Ribeiro extended their respective point streaks to three games. Dagenais had two helpers on the night giving him five points over his last three games.
Michael Ryder capped the Canadiens' scoring on the night with his team-leading 12th of the season, as his line along with Ribeiro and Dagenais has now accounted for six of the Canadiens' last eight goals as a team.
Montreal is now 4-7-3 in games when the opposition opens the scoring, a far cry from their 11-1-2 record when scoring first.
Next up for the Canadiens is a showdown with Wayne Gretzky and the Phoenix Coyotes at the Bell Centre on Tuesday.
NOTES: After not stepping on ice in his Canadiens' debut against the Kings last Saturday, C Garth Murray played four shifts for 2:54 minutes of ice-time. Murray formally introduced himself to the Bell Centre by flattening the Ducks' Vitaly Vishnevski on his very first shift as a Montreal Canadien... C Saku Koivu sat out his third consecutive game with a groin injury, C Radek Bonk (groin) missed his second straight, and LW Alex Kovalev sat out his 10th game since undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee on Nov. 15... The last time Montreal allowed 20 shots or more in a period was back on Feb. 12, 2004 in a 5-3 loss in Tampa Bay when the Lightning fired 23 third period shots at Theodore...Saturday night's clash with the Mighty Ducks drew a capacity crowd of 21,273, marking the Canadiens' 16th consecutive sellout of the season and 39th straight overall packed house dating back to 2003-04... The Ducks are now 6-2-1 since C Todd Marchant was picked up on waivers from Columbus back on Nov. 21...
Manny Almela is a writer for canadiens.com.