MONTREAL - Michael Ryder's power-play goal 57 seconds into the second period lifted the Montreal Canadiens to a 2-1 victory over the Boston Bruins in a battle for top spot in the NHL's Northeast Division on Saturday night.
Alex Galchenyuk also scored for Montreal (25-8-5), which had three wins and a loss in four meetings with the Bruins this season. The Canadiens lead the division by three points, with Boston holding a game in hand.
Daniel Paille scored for Boston (24-9-4), which ended a three-game winning streak.
The Canadiens were down one defenceman from the 10:54 mark when Alexei Emelin suffered what looked to be a left knee injury in a thunderous collision while taking a run at hulking Bruins winger Milan Lucic.
They had a one-goal lead at the time through Galchenyk, who scored for a second game in a row by slipping the puck into traffic in the crease and seeing Matt Batkowski backheel it into his own net at 6:49.
The teams exchanged goals in the second.
A needless cross-checking penalty by Lucic put Montreal on the power play to start the period and Ryder deflected a P.K. Subban wrist shot into the top corner only 57 second sin. It was Ryder's sixth goal in the last six games.
The game featured good chances at both ends and some big hits and big saves from Carey Price and Tuukka Rask, but none of the controversial incidents that often mark games between the rivals.
Shots were 29-27 in Montreal's favour.
Paille won a faceoff against David Desharnais in the Montreal zone and then saw Johnny Boychuk's shot go in off his back at 7:10.
The Bruins had a chance on a power play in the final minute and pulled Rask for an extra attacker, but still couldn't get a shot on the Canadiens' net.
Notes: Tomas Plekanec returned after missing one game with a suspected groin problem, bumping Michael Blundin from the lineup. Gabriel Dumont, Tomas Kaberle and Yannick Weber were scratched. . .newly acquired Wade Redden didn't dress and has yet to make his Bruins debut. Jordan Caron and Aaron Johnson were healthy scratches. . . Boston's Patrice Bergeron, who had seven points in three games against Montreal, missed a second game with a concussion.