MONTREAL -- New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault tinkered with his lines and came up with a potent combination in Chris Kreider, Derick Brassard and Rick Nash.
Kreider had two goals and an assist, and Brassard had a goal and two assists in the second period to help New York to a 5-2 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Bell Centre on Saturday.
Kreider assisted on Brassard's 27th goal of the season, which leads the Rangers, at 1:32 of the second. Brassard and Keith Yandle assisted on Kreider's power-play goal at 8:19.
Kreider made it 4-1 when he scored unassisted at 10:42 for his 18th goal.
Video: NYR@MTL: Miller uses toe drag to open the scoring
"We're trying to find the right chemistry between lines right now and Chris is a big part of our team, and to see him score two goals like that and be involved in the game, that's something that, our team, we're pretty excited about, and hopefully it's going to give him some confidence," Brassard said. "I really liked everyone on our team tonight, but I liked our line.
"I liked the way me, (Nash) and (Kreider) played together and hopefully we can bring that confidence (Sunday) and for the rest of the season."
J.T. Miller and Derek Stepan scored, and Antti Raanta made 24 saves for the Rangers (43-24-8), who have won three straight. New York went 2-for-3 on the power-play and is 5-for-11 during its winning streak; the Rangers have 10 power-play goals in the past 11.
"We were able to capitalize early on a few of their mistakes," Vigneault said. "They've got a couple of young (defensemen) out there and we were able to put a little bit of pressure on them. And our power play came up big. The first two opportunities, you score both times, so up by three after two, you're in pretty good shape."
Video: NYR@MTL: Kreider scores off feed from Brassard
New York is in second place in the Metropolitan Division with 94 points, four points ahead of the Pittsburgh Penguins, who they host Sunday.
"We want that number two seed in our division and those guys are playing some really good hockey," Brassard said. "They're probably one of the best teams in the League right now, and it's just going to be fun to play in front of our fans and it's going to be a great atmosphere."
Lars Eller and Phillip Danault scored for the Canadiens (34-36-6), who have lost six of eight and were eliminated from contention for the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Mike Condon made 14 saves in the first two periods and Ben Scrivens made four saves in the third.
"We got beat by a better team, with more depth, more maturity; it was as simple as that," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said.
Video: NYR@MTL: Stepan scores in final minute of 2nd period
Miller scored his 21st of the season at 3:04 of the first period. He stickhandled past Montreal defenseman Andrei Markov before shooting a backhander between Condon's pads.
Eller tied it at 1-1 at 12:26 when the puck dropped beside Rangers defenseman Ryan McDonagh and he shot past Raanta for his 12th goal.
The Rangers scored on four of eight shots in the second.
Brassard made it 2-1 when he tucked the puck inside the right post after Kreider's shot went wide of the left post and rebounded out front off the end boards.
"We were joking, first (Brassard)'s goal and then the power play goal, I missed the net by two feet, and then seven-and-a-half feet, so I'm trying something new where I don't put the puck anywhere near the cage," Kreider said. "It was so bad. I should have given the blade the old check-to-see-if-it-was-broken. It wasn't."
Video: NYR@MTL: Rangers retake the lead on Brassard's goal
Kreider made it 4-1 when he deflected a pass to Montreal's Alexei Emelin at the point and raced down the left side to chase down the puck in the Canadiens' zone. Kreider cut across the goalmouth and knocked the Montreal defenseman's stick out of his hands towards the blue line while he tucked the puck past Condon's left pad and inside the right post.
Danault's third goal of the season made it 4-2 at 15:38.
Stepan scored his 18th on a power play with 41 seconds left in the second to make it 5-2.
Video: NYR@MTL: Eller draws iron, notches 1st-period goal
"That was a bad second period," Canadiens captain Max Pacioretty said. "It's just the costly mistakes. We're in games, it's just NHL teams are too good to not take advantage of turnovers. And a guy like Kreider, you know he's going to win every foot race that you give him. So part of that is also knowing the League and knowing who you're out against at times, knowing when you're against the top line, knowing you're against a fast guy like that, and we just have to be a bit smarter."
The Canadiens were 17-4-2 after a 5-1 win against the Rangers at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 25. Goalie Carey Price left after the second period because of a lower-body injury and has yet to return.
Montreal is 17-32-4 since Price was injured. The Canadiens have allowed three goals or more in 36 of those 53 games.
Video: Kreider scores twice as Rangers top Canadiens