SUN Hockey Pool

Koivu's coy view wins it

ROBERT TYCHKOWSKI, SUN MEDIA

, Last Updated: 9:48 AM ET

MONTREAL -- The Montreal Canadiens started their no Carbs diet last night, but still walked away from the Bell Centre a little fatter.

By two points.

The Edmonton Oilers, meanwhile, had to settle for table scraps in the form of an OTL single after giving up a controversial tying goal late in the third period and then a power-play winner in overtime - both by Canadiens captain Saku Koivu - in a hard-fought 4-3 loss.

"It's tough, we had the game, we were playing very well," said Andrew Cogliano, who scored his 16th of the season in the defeat.

"We had a lot of pressure on them the whole game, it was an exciting game, back and forth with a lot of action, but we let it go at the end.

"It was a questionable goal, a tough goal to swallow, then we take a penalty in overtime and it's over."

After an endless review, a goal that Koivu seemed to bat in with his arm was deemed good by the NHL's war room in Toronto, tying the score with five minutes to go in the third period.

"You're at the mercy of the call in Toronto," said head coach Craig MacTavish.

"They must have had a number of different looks at it, but it looked to me like it was off a hand.

DISAPPOINTING

"It's disappointing; you need the two points in a game like that, where you have the lead going into the third."

Fifty seconds into OT, Patrick O'Sullivan, his stick broken at the shaft, had no defence for this slashing minor that landed him in the box.

"I think if the stick doesn't break it's probably not a penalty," said O'Sullivan, who got caught flat-footed in the defensive zone and had to whack a Hab's stick.

"You never like to take a penalty in overtime and they scored, so it's tough."

In the first game after Bob Gainey tied the can to Guy Carbonneau, it was a contest between a team that just fired its coach and a team whose coach is on the hot seat.

And it was very clearly a game that neither side wanted to lose.

After Montreal charged out of the gate and led 1-0, the Oilers took it to the Canadiens in the second, outshooting them 17-2 to steal away the momentum and the lead.

Then the Habs, down 3-2 after 40, rallied for 15 shots and the game-tying goal in the third.

"It's tough," said Tom Gilbert. "We played a really good road game and it came down to the last couple of minutes. It's frustrating."

After losing in overtime in Nashville, in regulation in Ottawa and beating Toronto, the Oilers head home with four of a possible eight points.

Good, not great.

"It's definitely disappointing," said Shawn Horcoff.

"We knew they were going to come out hard in the first period, which they did, and I thought we survived and did a really good job of coming back in the second. We just fell short in the third.

"We did a lot of things well, we just fell short.

"It's frustrating, but we have to take the point and move on."

Alex Tanguay and Glen Metropolit had the other Montreal goals while Sheldon Souray, and Sam Gagner replied for Edmonton.

Dwayne Roloson, in his 22nd consecutive start, faced 26 shots in the loss.

"It's a tough building to play and we knew things were going to go against us from the beginning because of the new coach," said Cogliano.

"But I thought we handled it well, we had big goals at big times and we thought we had the win."

SOURAY INJURED

Souray left the game with a "lower body injury" but it's not expected that he'll be out long.

ICE CHIPS: MacTavish had a long talk with Dustin Penner after the morning skate yesterday. The two stood at the Bell Centre blueline and spoke for a good 10 minutes before MacTavish left the ice and Penner, a healthy scratch last night, went through skating drills with the assistants.

"It was just a private conversation between Dustin and I," said MacTavish.


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