A stunning third-period comeback helped the Anaheim Ducks continue their surge. The potential return of Saku Koivu could make it last even longer.
Seeking their ninth win in 11 games, the Ducks hope to have the veteran center on the ice Tuesday night when they visit the Atlanta Thrashers for the first time in more than three years.
Anaheim (24-21-7) has won eight of 10 following a 1-5-0 stretch. The Ducks totaled eight goals during the six-game slump, but have found the back of the net 33 times in the 10 games since.
They scored three unanswered goals during a 14:47 span of the third period Saturday at St. Louis, eventually winning 4-3 in a shootout after defenseman James Wisniewski converted in the seventh round. The victory came two nights after Anaheim opened its season-high six-game road trip with a 3-1 loss at Pacific Division-leading and league-best San Jose.
"This was monumental," said left wing Bobby Ryan after scoring twice in the third period against the Blues, including a goal with 30 seconds left to force overtime. "It was like a playoff game. This shows that we're a very resilient team, able to bounce back in the face of almost everything."
Despite the stirring comeback, Anaheim has dropped seven of 10 on the road and is 8-13-5 away from home on the season.
Koivu, who has missed the last four games with a sprained right knee, could provide a lift after he traveled with the team to Atlanta (22-21-8).
"We brought him here -- he's not on vacation," coach Randy Carlyle told the Ducks' official Web site. "He looked fine (at practice Monday). We think he can come in and have a positive effect, or we wouldn't put him in. If he gives us the green light, he'll step right back in where he was."
Koivu has 10 goals and 19 assists in his first season with the Ducks, with whom he signed a one-year contract following 13 seasons in Montreal and 10 years as Canadiens captain.
He had two goals and four assists in five games before getting hurt in a 4-0 loss at Los Angeles on Jan. 14.
Koivu notched a goal and two assists for the Canadiens in his last meeting with Atlanta -- a 6-3 victory in Montreal last March 24.
The Ducks have won seven of 11 all-time against the Thrashers, including four of five visits to Philips Arena. They took the last matchup there 2-1 on Dec. 13, 2006, but fell 8-4 at home last Feb. 15, when Atlanta's Ilya Kovalchuk netted a natural hat trick in the second period.
The Thrashers' star left wing will look to bounce back from a pair of games in which he failed to register a point. He also missed his shootout attempt in Saturday's 2-1 loss at Tampa Bay.
Kovalchuk, who ranks among the NHL leaders with 30 goals and 56 points, has five goals and four assists in his last 10 games, but has been held without a point in six of them.
Atlanta is also having trouble on the power play, failing to convert on 12 chances over the last two games. The unit, which is 5 for 67 in the last 16 games (4-8-4), will have to contend with an Anaheim penalty kill which has held opponents scoreless in 20 of its last 22 opportunities.