TORONTO -- James van Riemsdyk knows how to score goals, but the celebration of his latest was admittedly out of character.
Van Riemsdyk scored with 5:33 left in the third period, breaking a tie and helping the Toronto Maple Leafs to a 5-3 win against the Montreal Canadiens at Air Canada Centre. He tipped a pass from Tyler Bozak past Canadiens goalie Carey Price for his 19th of the season.
"[Bozak] made an unbelievable play," van Riemsdyk said. "That's a pretty tough play that he made there, put a saucer pass right on my stick and I just had to try to chip it in."
Van Riemsdyk celebrated by grabbing the front of his jersey to show off the Maple Leafs logo, something he said he did after Canadiens forward Brendan Gallagher chirped at the Toronto bench after he scored in the first period.
"I'm usually not one to engage in stuff like that, but I was a little bit fired up and I don't know," van Riemsdyk said. "It just kind of happened. It is what it is."
The Maple Leafs have won four in a row and are four points behind the Canadiens in the Atlantic Division.
"It's the Montreal Canadiens," Maple Leafs forward Nazem Kadri said. "They're one of the better teams in the conference and obviously they're ahead of us in the division as well. The rivalry speaks for itself. We wanted to come out here, home ice, and give these fans something to cheer about."
Montreal's David Desharnais tied the game 3-3 at 9:06 of the third with his eighth goal of the season. He tipped a shot from the blue line by P.K. Subban and sent the puck wobbling past goalie Jonathan Bernier.
"When we tied it up it was big, we just couldn't hold on to that lead," Canadiens captain Brian Gionta said. "Funny bounce on the boards gets by [Andrei Markov] there and they broke in on the net. It's heartbreaking."
Toronto's Joffrey Lupul was awarded a goal when he was hauled down by Montreal forward Lars Eller while breaking away on the empty net with four seconds remaining. It was Lupul's 15th goal of the season.
"This is why you play the game," Maple Leafs coach Randy Carlyle said. "If you don't get shivers and chills on Toronto-Montreal on a Saturday night on 'Hockey Night in Canada,' either in Montreal or Toronto, then I don't think you understand the true meaning of the game here in Canada, especially Hockey Day in Canada."
Toronto took a 1-0 lead 4:49 into the first period with a highlight-reel goal. Defenseman Cody Franson scored his third of the season when Kadri faked out Canadiens defenseman Alexei Emelin to get by him and centered a pass to Franson.
"I wanted to come out and have a big game," Kadri said. "Obviously the magnitude of this game was huge. For us to chase that top spot in the division is still a realistic goal for us. We knew we had to come out and play against a very good team."
Price kept it a one-goal game at 13:16 of the first when he made a kick save against Maple Leafs forward Mason Raymond. With Toronto on the power play, Raymond was at the far side of the goal and had an open net to put the loose puck past Price, but Price kicked out his right leg.
Gallagher scored his 12th goal of the season on a rebound to tie the game 1-1 with 2:31 left in the period. Carl Gunnarsson was in the box for holding, and the Canadiens put a barrage of shots on Bernier. Gallagher's goal came when Markov fired a shot that glanced off forward Max Pacioretty to Gallagher.
"When we play on the top of our game, we can play with any team in the League," Gionta said. "If we're not doing that, we're a very average team. We've got to find ways to do it night in and night out and for 60 minutes."
Price came up big again at 11:06 of the second period when Maple Leafs forward Phil Kessel came in on a breakaway. Kessel deked and got Price to go down in the splits, but Price made a lunging save to keep the game tied.
"He played really well," Canadiens coach Michel Therrien said. "He's playing well this year and gave us a chance to win. Bernier did too. Both goalies played well."
Bernier made 30 saves; Price stopped 25 shots.
Kessel gave the Maple Leafs a 2-1 lead at 13:21 of the period when he took a pass from Raymond and put a snap shot past Price. The goal was Kessel's 23rd of the season and his 300th point as a member of the Maple Leafs.
"Tonight we had some breakdowns. It's pretty simple," Therrien said. "Usually we're more solid. We give them some goals. There were three goals that we gave them and they're not even supposed to be scoring chances."
The Maple Leafs made it 3-1 with 2:13 left to play in the period on the power play when Kadri found Raymond for his 13th goal of the season with a cross-zone pass and snap shot to beat Price.
"The big thing with Nazem is he never loses his confidence," Bernier said. "I think he likes that extra pressure and tonight he delivered."
Montreal cut the Toronto lead to 3-2 with 11.2 seconds left in the second when Gionta took advantage of the Maple Leafs' inability to clear the zone and put a rebound of a Francis Bouillon shot past Bernier for his eighth goal of the season.
"I liked the way we played tonight," Therrien said. "We're a team that was pushing the pace and we were skating well. Individual mistakes cost us the game, that's where it's disappointing."