MONTREAL -- Looking for a spark, Rangers coach Alain Vigneault swapped a pair of his top six wingers. The move proved to be beneficial one.

Chris Kreider, moved to Derick Brassard's line with Rick Nash, scored twice and added an assist while Brassard picked up a goal and a pair of helpers to lead New York to a 5-2 win over the Montreal Canadiens on Saturday night at the Bell Centre.

"That line played really well tonight," Vigneault said. "Kreider's speed was definitely a strong element to that line tonight but I thought that Derick and Rick had some good moments with the puck, very effective handling it and managing it. Their line got some big production for us tonight."

J.T. Miller, Brassard and Derek Stepan also scored for New York (43-24-8), which won its third straight and maintained a four-point lead over the Pittsburgh Penguins in the race for second-place in the Metropolitan Division.

The two clubs face off Sunday.

Lars Eller and Phillip Danault connected for the Canadiens, who were officially eliminated from the playoffs with the loss.

Antti Raanta stopped 24 shots for the Rangers.

Mike Condon made 14 saves for Montreal (34-36-6) in two periods of work before being replaced by Ben Scrivens to start the third period. Scrivens stopped four saves in relief.

"We're in this together," Max Pacioretty said of Condon. "We support him. He obviously wants to win just like we do. He wants to play well. We all have a lot to prove. We gave up too many Grade-A chances. That's on everybody."

Miller opened the scoring at 3:04 of the first period. Stepan took a hit from Alexei Emelin in the neutral zone as he poked the puck up to Miller, who went one-on-one with Andrei Markov before skating around the Canadiens' defenseman with a skillful toe drag and cutting into the slot to beat Condon with a backhander through the five-hole.

"Bad starts happen in hockey," Danault said. "We just have to pick ourselves up and work as a team and just keep working as hard as we can."

Eller was in the right place at the right time to tie it at 12:26. Ryan McDonagh blocked Greg Pateryn's point shot but lost the puck in his skates.

Eller pounced at the bottom of the circle, snapping a seven-game goal drought with his 12th of the season.

Brassard restored the Rangers' lead when he turned a missed chance into a goal at 1:32 of the second period. Kreider's shot went just wide on an odd-man rush, hitting the end boards and out to Brassard on the other side, with the center making no mistake with an open net.

Kreider wouldn't be denied a second time, one-timing a cross-seam pass from Brassard on the power play at 8:19.

The winger added his second of the night less than two minutes later when he intercepted a Canadiens pass at the Rangers' blue line and broke in on Condon.

"It was a bad second period," Pacioretty said. "We had some good plays but some costly mistakes. We give up a 2-on-1 and then a bounce off the back boards that's put into an empty net. We're in games, it's just that NHL teams are too good to not take advantage of turnovers. A guy like Kreider, you know he's going to win every foot race that you give him."

Danault gave Montreal some life at 15:38 when he picked up the rebound of a David Desharnais backhand shot on Raanta to put home his third goal of the season and second since joining Montreal.

Stepan took advantage of a late second-period power play to put the Rangers up by three again. Mats Zuccarello's shot was blocked, but Stepan was there for the rebound, lifting it past Condon with less than a minute to go in the period.

"We're making plays," Brassard said of what's working with the man advantage, which went 2-for-3 against Montreal. "Coach (Scott) Arniel is always making us ready for whoever we're playing on any night. We always have a good plan. But at the end of the day we're making good plays, shooting the pucks.

"When things aren't going well, you're kind of looking for answers but when things are going well, you're just going out there and not thinking about it."

NOTES: Eleven players on the Canadiens' current active roster were dressed the last time they faced the Rangers on Nov. 25, compared with 19 for New York. ... LW Lucas Lessio was the latest player to join Montreal's list of walking wounded after suffering an injury on Thursday in Detroit. ... LW Jacob De La Rose was the Canadiens' lone healthy scratch. ... The Rangers scratched D Dylan McIlrath, who is day to day with a knee injury, and C Oscar Lindberg. ... Montreal's Michel Therrien was behind the bench for his 750th game as a head coach. ... Rangers D Dan Girardi suited up for his 720th career NHL game, passing Andy Bathgate for sole possession of 10th place on the team's games-played list.