The Calgary Flames closed the gap on Montreal holding down the North Division’s final playoff spot with a 4-1 win Wednesday over the host Canadiens.
Calgary (19-21-3) now trails Montreal (18-13-9) by four points.
The two clubs clash again Friday at Bell Centre, and meet four times over the next 12 days.
Calgary captain Mark Giordano led the Flames with a goal and an assist Wednesday.
Noah Hanifin, Josh Leivo also scored with Sean Monahan adding the empty-netter. Chris Tanev had a pair of assists.
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Flames starter Jacob Markstrom made 26 saves in his second win in as many nights after Calgary’s 3-2 overtime victory over the Toronto Maple Leafs.
Brett Kulak countered for the Canadiens, who are 1-4 in their last five games. Goaltender Jake Allen had 30 saves in the loss.
Leivo restored Calgary’s two-goal lead at 12:49 of the third. He fought off Montreal captain Shea Weber and put a backhand upstairs on Allen.
The defenceman earned his first goal in over two years converting a Jonathan Drouin backhand feed and scoring off the rush.
Giordano’s slapshot through traffic from the point 29 seconds into the period made it 2-0 for the visitors.
Hanifin scored his fourth of the season at 3:58 of the first period.
Mikael Backlund won the offensive-zone faceoff and sent the puck back to the defenceman, who blasted a rising slapshot over Allen.
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