Blackhawks hold off Canadiens, jump back into 1st in Central

MONTREAL, QC - MARCH 14: Jonathan Toews #19 of the Chicago Blackhawks skates the puck against Alex Galchenyuk #27 of the Montreal Canadiens during the NHL game at the Bell Centre on March 14, 2017 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada. The Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2. (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)

MONTREAL — Patrick Kane had a goal and two assists and Corey Crawford made 40 saves and the Chicago Blackhawks defeated the Montreal Canadiens 4-2 on Tuesday night.

Johnny Oduya, Artemi Panarin and Jonathan Toews, into the empty net, scored for the Blackhawks, who jumped past Minnesota and lead the Central Division with 93 points.

Paul Byron and Shea Weber scored for Montreal.

Carey Price made 20 saves as he became the third Canadiens goaltender to reach the 500-game milestone.

Only Patrick Roy (551) and Jacques Plante (556) have played more games between the pipes for Montreal.

The Canadiens have not beaten Chicago since 2014 (0-6-1).

Crawford is a big reason for the Hawks’ recent success against the Canadiens.

The Montreal native, who was coming off a season-best 42-save effort against the Minnesota Wild on Sunday, has never lost to the Habs in regulation (7-0-2).

Crawford withstood a flurry of shots at the end of the first period to preserve Chicago’s 1-0 lead.

In the second, the 32-year-old took a mighty Weber slap shot off his mask from just a few feet out. The Blackhawks goalie was stunned but stayed in the game.

Crawford was beaten twice in the third period.

Byron slapped a bouncing puck over his shoulder at 12:42 before Weber scored on a slap shot from the point at 16:32.

Crawford has never conceded more than two goals in a game against Montreal — his highest save percentage against any opponent.

Both the Canadiens and Hawks came into Tuesday’s matchups with 8-2-0 records in their past 10 games.

Chicago was outshot 11-4 in the first period, but the visitors made the most of their good chance when Kane scored at 12:23, capitalizing on a mistake by Alexei Emelin at center ice then firing a wrister off the post and in.

Oduya made it 2-0 at 10:49 of the second period when his slap shot from the point took a slight deflection off Byron’s arm — enough to elude Price.

Emelin was again to blame for Chicago’s third goal. The Canadiens defenseman inexplicably changed sides mid-rush, leaving Panarin all alone in front of the goal.

With time on his side, Panarin roofed the puck on Price 47 seconds into the third period.

Emelin finished the game with a minus-3 rating.

Chicago’s Artem Anisimov left the game in the first period with a left leg injury and did not return.