MONTREAL -- Montreal center Tomas Plekanec and left winger Max Pacioretty scored second-period goals and the Canadiens moved ahead of Boston for the Atlantic Division lead with a 2-1 win over the Bruins on Thursday night.
Goaltender Carey Price made 32 saves for Montreal, which extended its winning streak to four in the first of four meetings this season between the longtime divisional rivals.
The Canadiens, who played two more games than Boston, improved to 18-9-3 to move one point ahead of the Bruins with 39 points.
Bruins goalie Tuukka Rask stopped 25 shots. Center Gregory Campbell scored the only goal of the first period, after Boston defenseman Johnny Boychuk was taken off on a stretcher when he suffered a back injury on a hit into the boards by Pacioretty.
The game was delayed for 10 minutes while Boychuk was attended to on the ice by medical staff from both teams after the hit in the left corner behind the Montreal goal 4:28 into the game. Pacioretty was penalized for boarding.
Boychuk grimaced in pain and was breathing heavily while he was down on the ice on all fours before he was placed on a stretcher. His head and neck were immobilized before he was wheeled off the ice.
Boston general manager Peter Chiarelli said in a statement on the Bruins' website that Boychuk "was able to demonstrate movement in all of his extremities" before he was taken to Montreal General Hospital for observation.
Plekanec tied it at 1 with his fourth goal in seven games 9:16 into the second. Plekanec scored his 10th of the season from a sharp angle when he beat Rask inside the right post with a shot from low in the right faceoff circle on a pass from defenseman Josh Gorges.
Pacioretty put Montreal ahead at 17:42 with his ninth goal in his last five games at the Bell Centre with a backhand shot through traffic in the slot into the left side of the net.
Pacioretty scored in five straight home games and has 10 points in his last nine games overall. He has no points in four road games over the same stretch.
Campbell took a pass from left winger Milan Lucic on a 2-on-1 and beat Price at 17:35 of the first to open the scoring with his second goal in 28 games this season.
Montreal played its third game in four nights, including consecutive wins against New Jersey. The Canadiens defeated the Devils 3-2 on Monday at Bell Centre, and 4-3 in a shootout at New Jersey on Wednesday.
The Bruins (18-8-2) had not played since Saturday, when they beat Columbus, 3-1.
NOTES: A moment of silence was observed before the game in memory of former South African president Nelson Mandela. The 1993 Nobel Peace Prize winner died Thursday at the age of 95 following a long illness. ... It was the 722nd regular season game between the two teams, and the 361st in Montreal. The Canadiens entered with 348 wins and 263 regulation losses overall in the series, including 208 wins at home and 102 regulation losses. ... Bruins D Adam McQuaid did not make the trip because of a groin injury. ... RW Jordan Caron and D Kevan Miller were healthy scratches for Boston. ... ... Canadiens LW Rene Bourque missed his second straight game because of an upper-body injury. ... D Francis Bouillon and C Ryan White did not dress for Montreal.