MONTREAL – Chris Kreider scored two goals and added an assist to lead the New York Rangers to a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.
J.T. Miller, Derick Brassard and Derek Stepan also scored for New York, which won its third straight.
Lars Eller and Phillip Danault connected for the Canadiens.
Antti Raanta stopped 24 shots for the Rangers (43-24-8), who maintained their four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for second-place in the Metropolitan Division.
Mike Condon made 14 saves for Montreal (34-36-6) in two periods of work before being replaced by Ben Scrivens to start the third period. Scrivens stopped four saves in relief.
Miller opened the scoring at 3:04 of the first period. Stepan took a hit from Alexei Emelin in the neutral zone as he poked the puck up to Miller, who went one-on-one with Andrei Markov before skating around the Canadiens' defenseman with a skillful toe drag and cutting into the slot to beat Condon with a backhander through the five-hole.
Eller was in the right place at the right time to tie it at 12:26. Ryan McDonagh blocked Greg Pateryn's point shot but lost the puck in his skates.
Eller pounced at the bottom of the circle, snapping a seven-game goal drought with his 12th of the season.
Brassard restored the Rangers' lead when he turned a missed chance into a goal at 1:32 of the second period. Kreider's shot went just wide on an odd-man rush, hitting the end boards and out to Brassard on the other side, with the center making no mistake with an open net.
Kreider wouldn't be denied a second time, one-timing a cross-seam pass from Brassard on the power play at 8:19.
The winger added his second of the night less than two minutes later when he intercepted a Canadiens pass at the Rangers' blue line and broke in on Condon.
Danault gave Montreal some life at 15:38 when he picked up the rebound of a Desharnais backhand shot on Raanta to put home his third goal of the season and second since joining Montreal.
Stepan took advantage of a late second-period power play to put the Rangers up by three again. Mats Zuccarello's shot was blocked, but Stepan was there for the rebound, lifting it past Condon with less than a minute to go in the period.
NOTES: Eleven players on the Canadiens' current active roster were dressed the last time they faced the Rangers on Nov. 25, compared with 19 for New York. … LW Lucas Lessio was the latest player to join Montreal's list of walking wounded after suffering an injury on Thursday in Detroit. … LW Jacob De La Rose was the Canadiens' lone healthy scratch. … The Rangers scratched D Dylan McIlrath, who is day to day with a knee injury, and C Oscar Lindberg. … Montreal's Michel Therrien was behind the bench for his 750th game as a head coach. … Rangers D Dan Girardi suited up for his 720th career NHL game, passing Andy Bathgate for sole possession of 10th place on the team's games-played list.