MONTREAL -- Pierre-Luc Dubois had two goals and an assist when the Columbus Blue Jackets defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-3 at Bell Centre on Sunday.
Elvis Merzlikins made 27 saves for Columbus (28-16-9), which extended its point streak to eight games (7-0-1) and moved into third place in the Metropolitan Division, one point ahead of the New York Islanders.
The Blue Jackets, who had their six-game winning streak end with a 2-1 overtime loss at the Buffalo Sabres on Saturday, are 17-2-5 in 24 games since Dec. 9.
"You feel like at this point of the year, it's a race to make the [Stanley Cup] Playoffs," Dubois said. "And you look at the scores every night, and it seems like the teams around you never lose, or they'll lose only a few. So to come back from the break, two afternoon games, two big games against teams that it wasn't their first game from the break -- you know, they weren't rusty -- it's huge to get three points."
[WATCH: All Blue Jackets vs. Canadiens highlights]
Tomas Tatar scored his 20th goal and had an assist for Montreal (24-23-7), which lost for the first time in three games and trails the Carolina Hurricanes by eight points for the second wild card into the playoffs from the Eastern Conference. Carey Price made 23 saves after he made 29 in a 4-0 win against the Florida Panthers on Saturday.
"I don't think we got outplayed," Canadiens coach Claude Julien said. "I think it was a tight game, and the difference was the mistakes. We made a few mistakes that ended up in the back of our net."
Vladislav Gavrikov gave Columbus a 1-0 lead at 12:45 of the first period. He took a pass from Oliver Bjorkstrand and scored on a wrist shot from the left face-off dot after Dubois stripped the puck from Ryan Poehling.
Dubois made it 2-0 on a partial breakaway at 3:31 of the second. Racing down the left side with the puck, he drove to the net and cut past defenseman Ben Chiarot to flip a backhand shot over Price's glove.
"I saw [Chiarot] coming like a train, so I was just trying to get as far away as possible from him," Dubois said. "And then you just kind of read, I was going to shoot it, and then I changed my mind at the last minute."
Video: CBJ@MTL: Dubois caps breakaway with smooth backhand
Tatar reached 20 goals for the sixth straight season when he scored for the third consecutive game at 9:18 to make it 2-1.
Dubois scored his second of the period unassisted on a wraparound at 17:52 to put the Blue Jackets up 3-1.
"[Dubois] was a beast, and that's what we expect out of him," Columbus captain Nick Foligno said. "So the standard's now set, every game is going to be that standard. But that's what he can bring. You know, that's why he is so good and counted on so much on this team, and he brought it tonight."
Max Domi got Montreal within 3-2 when he scored on a wrist shot from the left face-off circle at 15:52 of the third.
Gustav Nyquist scored into an empty net at 18:07 to make it 4-2.
Shea Weber made it 4-3 when he scored with Price pulled for the extra attacker with 1:01 remaining.
"We kept shooting ourselves in the foot there and just letting the game get away, and eventually it cost us at the end," Weber said.
Video: CBJ@MTL: Gavrikov buries nice wrister for lead in 1st
They said it
"We should feel good about ourselves, but we're just going to take it one game at a time. They have a day off (Monday). And we'll just get ready to play our next game. It's a very important time of the year to stay flatlined, whether you win or lose, and just go about your business." -- Blue Jackets coach John Tortorella
"We've just got to get ready for the next game. That's all that matters, is game by game here and short memories, but just look forward to the next one and be ready to go." -- Canadiens forward Max Domi
Video: CBJ@MTL: Domi drills one through traffic
Need to know
Merzlikins has a six-game winning streak, the longest by a rookie goalie in Blue Jackets history. ... Columbus forward Alexander Wennberg did not play in the third period after sustaining an upper-body injury late in the second. ... Tatar is the first player to score at least 20 goals in each of his first two seasons with the Canadiens since Brian Gionta in 2009-10 and 2010-11. ... Injured Montreal forwards Jonathan Drouin (wrist surgery) and Paul Byron (knee surgery) skated Sunday morning.
Blue Jackets: Host the Florida Panthers on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; FS-O, FS-F, NHL.TV)
Canadiens: At the New Jersey Devils on Tuesday (7 p.m. ET; MSG, TSN2, RDS, NHL.TV)
Video: Dubois scores twice as Blue Jackets edge Canadiens