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 on Saturday 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 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.
Notes: Montreal swept a 10-game season series with Boston in 1944-45. . .Mark Streit played his 200th career game. . . Mathieu Dandenault and Patrice Brisebois were healthy scratches while Guillaume Latendresse sat out with neck spasms for Montreal. . .Peter Schaefer was scratched for a fourth straight game and Vladimir Sobotka also sat out for Boston, which is missing Andrew Alberts and Patrice Bergeron with concussions and Bobby Allen with a sore back.