Streaking Avs edge Habs to claim division lead

DENVER (Reuters) - The streaking Colorado Avalanche took over first place in the Northwest Division with a 3-2 victory over the Montreal Canadiens on Sunday, as the home team notched a season-best sixth straight victory.

"It wasn't very pretty," Galiardi told reporters after scoring in his second game back since missing 17 contests with a broken wrist.

"But you go to the net hard and good things happen. It's nice to come back and get a couple wins. It feels good to be back and make contributions."

Craig Anderson made 27 saves, including 14 in the third period, for Colorado (19-12-2), who continue to thrive despite injuries to some of their leading forwards.

Paul Stastny returned to action after missing a game due to a back ailment but the Avs are still without Milan Hejduk (groin) and Chris Stewart (hand).

Defenseman Alexandre Picard restored the lead for the Canadiens at 2:58 of the second period with his second goal of the season before Colorado battled back to secure the win.

The Canadiens (19-10-4) netted both of their scores on power-plays and had another one-man advantage in the final few minutes of the game but could not capitalize on the opportunity.

Colorado defenseman Kevin Shattenkirk earned a delaying game penalty at 15:28 but the Northeast Division-leading Canadiens could not take advantage of his absence and lost for the fourth time in five games.

"I think we came together as a team there," said Avs center Ryan O'Reilly, who finished with two assists.

NHL wins leader Carey Price made 25 saves for Montreal.

(Writing by Jahmal Corner in Los Angeles; Editing by John O'Brien)