Perreault scored midway through the third period to lift the Canadiens to a 4-3 victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs on Saturday night.
Michael Ryder scored late in the second to draw Montreal even for the second time in the period at 3-3.
Richard Zednik, who scored his 25th of the season to tie it at 2, set up the go-ahead goal to the delight of the majority in the sellout crowd of 21,273.
Zednik rushed down the left side before passing to Perreault, who drove the net and lifted a shot over Ed Belfour for his 14th goal at 9:33.
“There was a lot of intensity, a lot of emotion going on,” Canadiens captain Saku Koivu said. “When you’re able to come from behind and win the game with the atmosphere like we had tonight, it is a great night. And for our confidence, winning against a team that’s ahead of us is a good thing.”
Newly acquired Maple Leafs center Ron Francis was impressed by the atmosphere in the Bell Centre, which included plenty of support for the visitors.
“It was awesome,” said Francis, who assisted on Stajan’s goal for his first point in two games with the Maple Leafs. “It reminded me of an English soccer match with everything going on in the stands. It was a great atmosphere. It’s just too bad we didn’t come away with a win.”
The Maple Leafs, losers of three of four, have 88 points and trail Boston for the Northeast Division lead by three.
“I don’t like how we’re playing right now,” Maple Leafs coach Pat Quinn said. “Our big line didn’t have a sniff all night. They played against their checking line and got nothing because they didn’t work for it.”
The Canadiens, who have missed the playoffs four of the last five seasons, tied New Jersey for sixth in the Eastern Conference with 85 points.
“The intensity was really high,” Perreault said. “We’re trying to improve our ranking. The Leafs are one of the top teams in the league and it was a big challenge for us. To be able to show that we can play.”
Ribeiro opened the scoring with his 19th goal 6:38 in when he swept across the goal mouth to beat Belfour.
Newly acquired Maple Leafs center Ron Francis set up Stajan’s 14th at 10:21 for his first Toronto point.
Nieuwendyk scored his 17th just 1:13 into the second to put Toronto up 2-1 before Zednik tied it again with his 25th at 9:28.
Berehowsky finished off a two-on-one with Alex Mogilny at 12:19 to put the Maple Leafs ahead again.
Ryder got his 21st at 17:43 when he scored on a second-effort shot, wristingthe puck past Belfour inside the right post.
Toronto won the season series 4-2. … It was Montreal’s 13th consecutive sellout, and 19th in 36 home games. … The Canadiens wore vintageuniforms from the 1945-46 season, featuring the team’s first white jersey.