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Jacques Demers makes emotional return to Montreal

Passes torch to Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty in stirring pregame ceremony

by Dave Stubbs @Dave_Stubbs / Columnist

Demers passes torch to Pacioretty

PIT@MTL: Pacioretty obtains torch from Demers, scores

Montreal Canadiens legend Jacques Demers passes the torch on to current captain Max Pacioretty, who promptly scores within 23 seconds

  • 00:53 •

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens opened their home schedule Tuesday against the Pittsburgh Penguins with a stirring ceremony and emotional start to their game.

Jacques Demers, the last coach to win the Stanley Cup with Montreal, in 1993, emerged in the tunnel at the end of the bench shortly before the national anthems with a broad smile on his face and the ceremonial torch in his hand, passing it to captain Max Pacioretty.

Demers, a Canadian senator who is recovering from a stroke he suffered at home near Montreal in April, was helped to the edge of the rink in a wheelchair by coach Michel Therrien.

This was Demers' second public appearance since he was stricken; the first was in late September in Montreal at his induction into the Quebec Sports Hall of Fame.

Following the ceremony, Pacioretty scored 23 seconds into the game to give the Canadiens a 1-0 lead.

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