The Canadiens needed shootout goals from Alex Galchenyuk and David Desharnais to keep Toronto winless in its last 13 road games with a 2-1 victory in a boisterous Bell Centre with fans chanting for both clubs on Saturday night.
"You knew they were going to take this game seriously and come out with a great performance," Canadiens defenceman P.K. Subban said of the Leafs. "It was a playoff-type game out there.
"I thought we responded well. Even when pucks weren't bouncing our way, we stuck with the plan. We waited for our opportunity and today it was going to come in the shootout. Great goals by Chucky and Davy and that's all she wrote."
Brendan Gallagher scored in regulation time for Montreal (36-15-4), which has points in five straight games despite going past regulation time for the third game in a row. Carey Price made 28 saves.
Daniel Winnik scored for Toronto (23-29-5), which is 0-11-2 in its last 13 road games. Jonathan Bernier stopped 31-of-32 shots.
"It was probably our best 65 minutes in two weeks," said Winnik. "We checked hard all night and didn't give them much offensively and we created quite a lot of chances.
"It sucks this time of year to be having moral victories, but I think I'd count that as one."
With the score tied 1-1 late in the first period, David Clarkson was ejected for a hit that rammed Sergei Gonchar's face into the boards and put the Montreal defenceman out of the game with an upper-body injury.
Nathan Beaulieu avenged his defence partner by dropping the gloves with Clarkson and got a total of 17 penalty minutes. Subban and Andrei Markov played nearly all of the rest of the period and ended the game with 35:21 and 31.57 of ice time respectively.
Subban credited his off-season training with being able to handle the extra work.
"In the off-season, my training and fitness come first," he said. "It's one thing to want to be a go-to guy and get paid like one, and it's another thing to go out and perform like one every night. That's my job."
The Leafs took a first period lead for the first time in seven games when Winnik was left alone in the right circle to beat Price at 11:19.
"It's getting lost in the slot, that's where the goals are," said Winnik. "Richie (Panik) found me in the right spot and I just shot it. I knew there were bodies in front and tried to get it through."
Toronto's advantage lasted only 41 seconds, as the Canadiens tied it on a power play at 12:00 when Gallagher reached into the crease to put in Tomas Plekanec's pass.
Three minutes into overtime, Panik hit a goalpost with a shot from the point. And the Leafs were pressing for the game-winner in the final seconds of the extra period.
"It wasn't an easy game," said Montreal coach Michel Therrien.
Notes— Montreal made two lineup changes, bringing in Manny Malhotra and Mike Weaver and sitting out Jiri Sekac and Tom Gilbert. . . Petter Granberg was scratched for the Leafs.