Montreal, QC – Michael Ryder posted two goals and an assist to lead the Montreal Canadiens in a 4-1 win over the Winnipeg Jets on Thursday.
Brian Gionta gave a goal and an assist while Alex Galchenyuk scored for the Canadiens, who won for a fourth time in their past five games. Peter Budaj stopped 33 shots in the win.
The win allowed Montreal to stay a point ahead of Boston, which defeated New Jersey on Thursday, for first place in the Northeast Division and second place in the Eastern Conference, just three points back of Pittsburgh for the top spot in the conference.
"It was a rough game yesterday and we know we didn't play our best last night," said Ryder. "So we tried to bounce back and we did that. It shows the character of this team."
Winnipeg, meanwhile, has dropped a season-high five consecutive games and now finds itself tied with Washington for first place in the Southeast Division.
Alexander Burmistrov scored the lone goal of the game for the Jets, who saw goaltender Ondrej Pavelec gave up all four goals on 24 shots.
Winnipeg grabbed the initial lead in the game at the 8:16 mark of the first period as Grant Clitsome fed the puck from the right circle to the front where Burmistrov snapped it in.
"That was probably the easiest goal I've ever scored," said Burmistrov. "That was a great pass from Clitsome, but that was not what we were looking for. We were looking for a win."
Montreal, though, tied the game less than three minutes later while on the power play as Gionta threw a shot on net from the slot and Ryder slammed home the rebound.
In the second period, the Canadiens took a 2-1 lead when Ryder put the puck home during a scramble in front at the 2:03 mark for his 15th of the season.
Again on the power play, the Canadiens made it a 3-1 game as Lars Eller's shot from the right circle hit off Gionta and went past Pavelec for his 11th of the season.
Montreal put the game away at 7:43 of the third after Galchenyuk put the puck home from in front for his fourth goal of the season.
Winnipeg returns home to face Philadelphia on Saturday ... Montreal hosts Boston in a battle for first place in the division on Saturday ... Montreal was 2-for-2 on the power play while Winnipeg was 0-for-3 ... Montreal has won both games against Winnipeg this season and seven of eight, overall.