MONTREAL (AP) — Columbus was a little faster to the puck than Montreal all night. The Blue Jackets, though, couldn't take advantage of their opportunities until late in the third period.
Ryan Johansen scored the tiebreaking goal with 3:01 remaining to give Columbus a 3-2 victory over Montreal on Thursday night, ending the Canadiens' three-game winning streak.
"They were first on the puck, making us react to them, putting us on our heels a bit," Montreal's Lars Eller said of the young and energized Columbus team in the heart of a heated playoff race. "When they do that, we take penalties."
Montreal took eight minor penalties and played more than 15 minutes down a man, including 50 seconds on a 5-on-3. Seven different players were whistled for penalties such as hooking, tripping, holding, high-sticking and once for having too many men on the ice.
But as successful as the Blue Jackets were in drawing penalties, their power play was a dud. Columbus went 0 for 8 with the extra skater, and saw all 13 power-play shots turned away by Canadiens goalie Carey Price.
Montreal has failed to score in its last 26 chances with a man advantage.
"We'd love to get a power-play goal," Columbus forward Brandon Dubinsky said. "It's going to be important down the stretch. But we didn't earn all those power plays without playing the right way."
Derek MacKenzie and Dubinsky also scored for Columbus. Sergei Bobrovsky, the reigning Vezina Trophy winner, made 25 saves while starting the Blue Jackets' 16th straight game and 23rd in the last 24.
Brendan Gallagher and Thomas Vanek scored for the Canadiens, and Price stopped 37 shots.
Montreal forwards Brian Gionta, Daniel Briere and Max Pacioretty saw their average ice time significantly reduced.
"There were a lot of guys sitting on the bench for long stretches that should have been out there," Eller said. "It's not good for our rhythm. We want to be five guys on the ice."
Johansen capitalized on rookie defenseman Jarred Tinordi's giveaway at the Canadiens' blue line. Johansen intercepted a weak pass and beat Price on a partial breakaway for his team-leading 27th.
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