MONTREAL – Alex Kovalev scored on Montreal’s fourth attempt in a shootout, giving the Canadiens a 3-2 win over the Edmonton Oilers on Tuesday night.

Using a similar move to the one Canadiens captain Saku Koivu successfully completed to open the shootout, Kovalev deked Dwayne Roloson before tucking a forehand inside the left post.

David Aebischer, who made 26 saves during the game, stopped Jarret Stoll on Edmonton’s final attempt after allowing Ales Hemsky’s goal on the Oilers’ second shot.

Petr Sykora scored his team-leading ninth goal 15:30 into the third to tie it at 2 after 19-year-old Canadiens rookie Guillaume Latendresse scored his first NHL goal at the beginning of the period.

Promoted to the Canadiens’ top line because of leading scorer Christopher Higgins’ ankle injury, Latendresse pushed the puck across the goal line behind Roloson for his first career point in his 14th game of the season.

Edmonton’s Raffi Torres was called for tripping with 56.8 seconds remaining in regulation. Montreal’s power-play opportunity was short-lived, though, because Mark Streit was also sent off for tripping just more than 4 seconds later.

Craig Rivet also scored for Montreal, which has won three of four.

Brad Winchester scored his first career regular-season goal for Edmonton, which has lost three straight and five of six.

Higgins, who had eight goals – including a league-leading three short-handed – and 13 points in 12 games, will be sidelined for six weeks after injuring his ankle Saturday in the third period of the Canadiens’ 2-1 loss to New Jersey.

He finished that game but was already held out of the lineup for the game against the Oilers when MRI results Tuesday revealed a partially torn ligament in his right ankle.

Kovalev came close to giving Montreal the opening goal when his backhand struck the right post 12:00 in.

Winchester followed that chance up with his first goal in 33 career regular-season games to put Edmonton up 1-0 at 13:54.

After Winchester and Canadiens defenseman Mike Komisarek squared off in the first of three fights in the second, Rivet scored his second of the season at 6:32, tying the game with a hard wrist shot to the top right corner off a pass from Streit.

Montreal’s Aaron Downey fought with Oilers captain Jason Smith at 12:23, and Canadiens defenseman Sheldon Souray was given an instigator penalty with 2:00 left in the period when he went after Matt Greene after the Edmonton defenseman appeared to stick out his leg while he tripped Montreal’s Mike Johnson.

Johnson had to be helped off the ice, but he returned for the third period.

Notes: Winchester had one goal and two assists in 10 playoff games last season. He has four assists overall in regular-season play, including three in 14 games this season. … Canadiens LW Sergei Samsonov got his 400th career point with an assist on Rivet’s goal. Samsonov, who signed as a free agent with Montreal on July 12, had four goals and 11 assists in 19 playoff games last season with Edmonton, which acquired him in a trade with Boston on March 9.

AP-ES-11-07-06 2251EST



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