Step up minus Mike

SUN WIRE SERVICES

, Last Updated: 7:37 AM ET

At Montreal, Saku Koivu scored the only goal in a shootout as the Montreal Canadiens made it eight in a row this season against the Boston Bruins with a 3-2 victory that let them hang onto first place in the NHL Eastern Conference last night.

Andrei Markov and Andrei Kostitsyn also scored for Montreal (42-24-10), which has won 11 consecutive games over the Bruins dating back to last season.

Marc Savard and Petteri Nokelainen scored for the Bruins (37-28-10), who earned their first point in eight games against Montreal this season to help stay in playoff position.

All three Boston shooters were stopped by rookie goalie Carey Price, while Koivu beat Tim Thomas on Montreal's third and final shot of the shootout.

The Bruins started the game with their heads in the clouds, as Thomas went to his bench on a delayed penalty call only to have to dash back when he discovered it was against his own team, and later Boston took a too many men on the ice penalty during a power play.

Montreal took advantage by opening the scoring at 2:20 on some fine passing by Sergei Kostitsyn that led to Markov being open for a blast from the top of the left circle.

Savard tied it at 8:36 when he caught Price napping and went around the net to stuff in his 15th of the season and end a 15-game goal-less drought.

Andrei Kostitsyn put in Mark Streit's rebound just after a power play ended to put Montreal back in the lead at 9:49.

The Bruins outskated Montreal in the second frame and Nokelainen went to the net to tip Mark Stuart's pass over Price to tie the game 2-2 at 9:33.

Montreal also swept a 10-game season series with Boston in 1944-45.

NO KOMI IN RED

Canadiens defenceman Mike Komisarek will be out of action for at least three weeks with a lower body injury.

Komisarek was injured in the first period of Montreal's 4-2 victory in Boston on Thursday.

"It's never a good time for these type of things," the Canadiens' leader in hits (266) and blocked shots (226) said yesterday. "The good news it is that it'll be two or three weeks.

"I'll be in good hands, get good treatment and be back for the playoffs. I'll try to take a positive out of it."

Komisarek may even miss the start of the playoffs, but the Habs weren't saying much more.

"Mike has a lower body injury -- that's all I can tell you -- and he's going to be out a minimum of three weeks," coach Guy Carbonneau said. "We hope that after two weeks we can evaluate him and go day-to-day after that, but it's going to be in that vicinity."

Josh Gorges will move into Komisarek's spot on the top defence pair with Markov. Streit, who played his 200th career game last night, will move back to defence after playing left wing for most of this season.

HOT OIL

Sam Gagner was able to score a pair of goals as the Oilers clawed their way back into the playoff picture, defeating the Colorado Avalanche 7-5 in a wild match yesterday afternoon.

Dustin Penner, Fernando Pisani, Kyle Brodziak, Marty Reasoner and Marc Pouliot scored the other Oiler goals and Ales Hemsky chipped in three assists.

It was the 11th win in their last 14 outings for the Oilers (38-33-5), who moved to just three points back of Colorado for the final playoff position in the Western Conference.


Videos

Photos