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Koivu gets overtime winner as Habs beat Oilers 4-3 in Gainey's coaching debut

NHL.com @NHL

MONTREAL - Saku Koivu scored the tying goal and got the winner on a power play in overtime as the Montreal Canadiens gave new coach Bob Gainey a comeback 4-3 victory over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.

Gainey, the general manager, went behind the bench after firing Guy Carbonneau on Monday to try to shake the Canadiens out of a stretch of mediocrity that has lasted more than six weeks.

Andrew Cogliano, Sheldon Souray and Sam Gagner scored in the second period to give the Oilers a 3-2 lead, but Koivu got a disputed goal to tie it at 15:25 of the third frame, then deflected Mathieu Schneider's point shot in 1:40 into overtime after Patrick O'Sullivan was sent off for breaking Andrei Markov's stick with a slash.

Alex Tanguay and Glen Metropolit also scored for Montreal (36-24-7), which won its second game in a row and six of its last eight.

The Oilers (32-27-7) ended a four-game road trip at 1-1-2.

Gainey saw his troops outskated in the early going, but they found their attack and scored the first goal as Schneider's point shot went off Steve Staios' skate to Tanguay in the slot. Dwayne Roloson had no chance on Tanguay's shot and it was 1-0 Montreal 8:12 into the game.

Then Edmonton, which has struggled in second periods this season, fired the first 12 shots of the middle frame and scored twice.

Cogliano made a deft move that caused defenceman Josh Gorges to fall and snapped a quick, high shot past Carey Price from the right side at 10:21. Then Souray's point shot went in off Tomas Plekanec's leg at 14:36.

That moved some among the Bell Centre crowd of 21,273 to start chanting "Car-bo, Car-bo", for the fired coach.

Montreal's first shot of the period was by Mathieu Dandenault and he followed up to get the puck to Metropolit, who slipped it inside the post for his first goal in six games with Montreal since he was claimed off waivers from Philadelphia.

But a mad scramble in the crease after Price let a puck slip between his pads and lie on the goal-line gave Gagner his 10th of the season at 18:32.

After being outshot 17-2 in the second period, Montreal turned the tables in the third and had a 13-4 shot advantage when Andrei Kostitsyn's pass went off a stick and deflected both Koivu and Roloson's mask into the net. The tying goal that stood up under video review at 15:25.

The Oilers had a chance when Tanguay was sent off for tripping with 2:10 left in regulation time, but point-man Souray had left the game for reasons not immediately apparent and Edmonton didn't manage a shot on goal.

It is the second time in three seasons Gainey has taken over after firing a coach. The last time, after Claude Julien was sacked, the Canadiens won the next game 6-2 over San Jose on Jan, 14, 2006.

The Oilers begin a three-game homestand starting Thursday against Atlanta. Montreal plays host to the New York Islanders on Thursday.

Notes - As expected, Oilers winger Dustin Penner was a healthy scratch for the first time since he sat out games Nov. 15 and Nov. 17. J.F. Jacques and Steve MacIntyre also didn't dress. . .Max Pacioretty and Patrice Brisebois didn't play for Montreal. Brisebois needs one more game for 1,000 in his career. . . Roloson extended his club record to 22 straight starts in goal. The previous record of 20 was shared by Grant Fuhr and Bill Ranford.. Before the game, the Canadian Mint unveiled a one dollar coin celebrating the Canadiens 100th anniversary.

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