Carey Price stopped all 34 shots he faced for his third shutout of the season, as Montreal shut down the New York Rangers, 3-0, at Bell Centre.
"It was a team effort. They had a few scoring chances, but we played hard and blocked a lot of shots," Price said. "I thought we'd played very consistent hockey and that's the key to our success against them."
Michael Ryder, Tomas Plekanec and Brendan Gallagher tallied for the Canadiens, who have won two in a row and opened up a three-point lead in the Northeast Division over Boston, which lost at Philadelphia earlier on Saturday.
PK Subban assisted on all three Habs goals.
Martin Biron made 23 saves for the Rangers, who have dropped seven of their last 10.
The Canadiens led just 47 seconds after the drop of the puck.
Ryder accepted a Subban feed at center ice, skated into the zone on the left wing and flipped an initial shot off the near-side end boards. The puck rebounded into the slot, after touching Biron's stick but right to Ryder for the easy score.
Plekanec made it 2-0 with 1:49 remaining in the period, converting a 2-on-1 break with a slapper from the right wing.
Price made sure the hosts maintained that edge at intermission with 17 stops.
Gallagher's flip of a bouncing puck at the right post sailed over Biron at the 11:02 mark of the second period. David Desharnais created confusion in the New York crease, forcing the Rangers netminder out of position to stop his rebound try before the goal.
The visitors mustered nine third-period shots but failed to dent Price.
"We had some scoring chances but we just couldn't cash in. Nobody's happy about this one," said Rangers head coach John Tortorella. "We're still in the thick of it but things have to change quickly."
Ryder's goal was the fastest from the start of a game for Montreal this season ... Price, who improved to 17-6-4 on the year, recorded his 19th career whitewash ... Prior to the game, the Canadiens announced that defenseman Tomas Kaberle was placed on waivers.