Mario Lemieux finally got to come home again.
Lemieux has been back in the NHL for two months, but it wasn't until Wednesday that he got to play in Canada or his hometown of Montreal. The Hall of Famer-Penguins owner had one assist in Pittsburgh's 4-2 loss to the Canadiens.
"Obviously, they all came to see me and I tried my best to put on a show," Lemieux said of the sellout crowd that came to the Molson Centre to see his first Montreal game in four years.
"I think that's what the fans want to see," he added. "They want to see some good hockey, and handling the puck and making good plays, and I think we gave them that."
Things weren't so celebratory in New York, where the Rangers played their first game without leading scorer Theo Fleury. The right wing, fourth in the league with 74 points, voluntarily entered into the NHL's inpatient substance-abuse program earlier in the day.
Fleury is out indefinitely, but the Rangers managed to put together a good effort to beat Florida 4-2.
"This morning, when we found out what was going on, it was like a huge cloud came over the room," said Kirk McLean, who stopped 38 shots. "The guys dealt with it and we all understand the situation. We pulled together. He'll get it straightened out. He'll be back."
In other NHL games, it was Columbus 5, Phoenix 2; Toronto 2, San Jose 1; Edmonton 5, St. Louis 3; Vancouver 5, Dallas 4; and Detroit 3, Anaheim 1.
Lemieux, who will not play another game during the regular season in Canada, set up Krzystof Oliwa's first goal of the season to cut the Canadiens' lead to 2-1.
Saku Koivu scored his 10th with 7:11 remaining in the third to restore the two-goal lead for the Canadiens, who won their second straight in as many nights following a six-game losing streak.
"I think they played solid," Lemieux said. "They played solid, obviously, in Philadelphia, and back-to-back games are not easy. They came in ready to play and they showed a lot of character."
Koivu scored twice and assisted on both of Jim Campbell's goals to ruin Lemieux's homecoming.
"Hopefully, this team has enough pride to finish well, and I think these last two games showed that we have it," Koivu said.
Rangers 4, Panthers 2
Brian Leetch scored his 200th goal, capping the Rangers' emotional day.
New York also got goals from Sandy McCarthy, Petr Nedved and Radek Dvorak to end a three-game losing streak.
Greg Adams scored twice for Florida, which ended a road trip in which they lost all five games.
Maple Leafs 2, Sharks 1
Curtis Joseph made 38 saves and Sergei Berezin scored his 20th goal as Toronto beat visiting San Jose.
Joseph stopped 22 shots in the third period and has allowed just five goals in four starts.
Mike Ricci scored a power-play goal for the Sharks.
Shayne Corson also scored the Leafs, 3-1 since a deal to acquire Eric Lindros fell through.
Blue Jackets 5, Coyotes 2
Marc Denis made 25 saves, and five Columbus players scored in a victory over Phoenix.
Denis stopped Jeremy Roenick's second-period penalty shot to improve to 6-6 at home, compared to 0-10-3 on the road.
Steve Heinze, David Vyborny, Serge Aubin, Deron Quint and Mattias Timander scored for the Blue Jackets, who won their second straight after going winless in seven games.
Robert Kron had three assists for the host Blue Jackets.
Canucks 5, Stars 4
Daniel Sedin had a goal and an assist, and five Vancouver players scored in a home victory over Dallas.
The Canucks won for the fifth time in seven games.
Oilers 5, Blues 3
Mike Grier scored the go-ahead goal midway through the third period as Edmonton beat St. Louis.
Daniel Cleary iced it with an empty-net goal with 10 seconds to play.
Doug Weight, Tom Poti and Shawn Horcoff also scored for the Oilers, who have a four-game winning streak for the third time this season.
Scott Young had two goals and Pierre Turgeon scored for the visiting Blues, 2-5 in their last seven.
Red Wings 3, Mighty Ducks 1
Steve Duchesne, Igor Larionov and Pat Verbeek scored power-play goals as Detroit extended its unbeaten streak to 12 games with a victory at Anaheim.
Manny Legace made 24 saves in his first start since beating the Ducks on Jan. 26. German Titov cost Legace his shutout with 10 seconds remaining.
The Red Wings, 10-0-2 since Jan. 30, played a full calendar month without losing for the first time in their 75-year history. They also regained first place in the Central Division.
Anaheim's Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 31 saves, 13 in the opening period.
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