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Canadiens have goal waved off in loss

12/29/2002

PITTSBURGH (AP) -- Sometimes, the biggest plays in a hockey game
aren't those that score goals, but those that prevent them.

Marc
Bergevin made one of each to keep Pittsburgh's winning streak
going, and there was no question which one was more important.

Martin Straka scored two of Pittsburgh's three goals during a
second period in which an apparent Montreal goal was waved off, and
the Penguins ran their winning streak to four with a 3-2 victory
Saturday night.

Milan Kraft and Straka scored 1:17 apart early in the period as
the Penguins rebounded from a 1-0 deficit and ended an eight-game
winless streak against the Canadiens.

Montreal initially appeared to have closed within 3-2 when
Richard Zednik steered the puck past Jean-Sebastien Aubin at 15:39
of the second, just as the net was being dislodged by Bergevin, a
19-year NHL defenseman.

Referees Stephen Walkom and Kevin Pollock could have awarded the
goal or called Bergevin for delay of game. Instead, the play was
reviewed by video replay judge Dale Ruth, who is allowed only to
determine whether the net was off its moorings, not who dislodged
it.

"It was an accident," Bergevin said, and not all that
convincingly. "I slipped and I kind of pushed the net off."

That lost goal proved big when the Canadiens finally scored
again late in the third period, with Craig Rivet sliding the puck
between Aubin's pads with just over two minutes remaining.

"Obviously, it should have been a penalty (on Bergevin),"
Rivet said. "Sometimes you get that call and sometimes you don't.
But that's not the reason why we lost the game."

But it might have been the reason Pittsburgh won. No wonder
owner-player Mario Lemieux felt fortunate to have caught the kind
of break the Penguins never seemed to get during a recent 10-game
losing streak.

"It was big," Lemieux said. "If it's a goal, it's 3-2 with a
lot of time left. It was a good break for us. ... It's what we
talked about (during the losing streak), we just needed to win a
game and get some confidence and get some breaks."

Now, the Canadiens aren't getting them, and they've lost three
straight to start a seven-game road trip.

"If they (disallow) the goal, I believe it should deserve a
penalty," Montreal coach Michel Therrien said. "Nothing happened,
it was a big impact on the game and it turned out to go against us.
It was a tough loss."

Especially since it came against a team the Canadiens always
seem to beat. Montreal was 7-0-1 against Pittsburgh the last two
seasons, including two overtime victories and a tie this season.

Pittsburgh got a strong game from Aubin, who turned aside 20
shots for only his second career victory against Montreal and the
first since his initial career start against them on Nov. 10, 1999.
He also stopped a six-game losing streak that came during the
Penguins' 10-game losing streak, their longest since 1983.

The Canadiens came out strong, taking a 1-0 lead on Chad
Kilger's goal at 12:55 of the first, but missed a chance to take
control by not converting on the game's first three power plays.

That allowed Kraft to tie it 45 seconds into the second period,
redirecting Bergevin's shot past goalie Jeff Hackett, who started
despite Jose Theodore's strong play in a 3-2 loss at Ottawa on
Friday night. Hackett stopped 26 shots.

Straka put Pittsburgh ahead at 2:02 on a breakaway started by
Alexei Kovalev, forcing Hackett to move to the left of the net
before stuffing the puck into a big opening to the goalie's glove
side.

"Everybody stayed positive during the (losing) streak, and now
everything is clicking," Straka said.

Jan Hrdina later set up Straka's 10th goal of the season and
second in just over 10 minutes, skating down the left wing boards
before making a cross-ice pass that allowed Straka to easily beat
Hackett.

Game notes
Pittsburgh has a 16-5 scoring edge since ending its losing
streak. ... The Canadiens hold a 99-38-23 edge since Pittsburgh
joined the league in 1967. ... The Penguins had lost three straight
home games to Montreal. ... The teams went to overtime in four of
their previous five meetings. ... Montreal didn't have more than 16
shots in its previous three games. The Canadiens had a franchise
record low 12 shots Friday. ... Straka's goals were his first since
Dec. 7. He missed four games with a hamstring injury, then was
scoreless in his first two games back.

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