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Grand moments

April 9th, 2002
After missing the first 79 games on the 2001-02 schedule battling non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma, Saku Koivu laced up his skates for the first time to face the Ottawa Senators on April 9, 2002.

The courageous Canadiens captain received the warmest of welcomes by a Molson Centre capacity crowd that rose to their feet in an emotional nine-minute ovation for No. 11.

An inspiration to his teammates all season long, Koivu played 13 shifts for a total of 8:22 of ice time and was named the game’s first star.

Disposing of the Senators by a 4-3 score, the Canadiens finished the evening having secured their first playoff berth in four years.

Koivu picked up a pair of assists in the last two regular season games and went on to be a driving force behind Montreal’s ouster of the first-place Bruins in the opening round of the postseason.  He finished his spring as the Canadiens’ postseason scoring leader with 10 points in a dozen games.