Canadiens 4, Jets 1: Michael Ryder collected two goals and an assist while Peter Budaj turned aside 33 shots as host Montreal improved to 11-0-0 against Southeast Division representatives.
Captain Brian Gionta scored and set up a goal and rookie Alex Galchenyuk also tallied for the Northeast Division-leading Canadiens, who have won four of their last five and maintained their one-point lead over Boston. The Bruins posted a 1-0 victory over New Jersey earlier on Thursday.
Alex Burmistrov scored and Ondrej Pavelec finished with 20 saves for the Jets, who have dropped a season-high five in a row and seven of nine to fall out of first place in the Southeast. Washington, which skated to a 2-1 shootout victory over the New York Islanders on Thursday, also has 38 points - but owns the tiebreaker (games played).
Ryder registered his fourth two-goal performance of the season and gave Montreal a 2-1 lead at 2:03 of the second period by chipping home a shot from in close. Gionta doubled the advantage under four minutes later as Lars Eller's shot deflected off his shoulder for a power-play goal.
Burmistrov opened the scoring at 8:16 of the first period, converting defenseman Grant Clitsome's feed at the back door. Ryder forged a 1-1 tie just over 2 1/2 minutes later by cleaning up a loose puck following Gionta's blast from the slot to beat Pavelec from the doorstep.
GAME NOTEBOOK: The Jets' five-game losing streak is their first since March 6-12, 2010, when the franchise was known as the Atlanta Thrashers. ... Montreal C Tomas Plekanec did not play after suffering a groin injury during the second period of Wednesday's 5-3 loss to Philadelphia. ... Winnipeg, which went 0-for-3 on the power play, has failed to convert on all 16 opportunities during its five-game slide.