The Canadiens got a third-period goal from Tomas Plekanec, redirecting a point shot by rookie Jarred Tinordi, and then held the for a 2-1 win.
It was their fifth win in a row, matching the team’s season high.
The Canadiens have 19 wins in 28 games. They are 10-2-2 on the road.
New Jersey had 18 shots in the third period, but Carey Price was spectacular.
In winning his 15th game, Price made 32 saves.
The win lifted the Canadiens past Pittsburgh and Boston into first place in the Eastern Conference.
The lofty status won’t last: the Bruins and Penguins play Sunday afternoon.
Tinordi played 14:48, picked up his first NHL point and ended the game plus-2.
Colby Armstrong’s first goal of the season gave the Canadiens an early lead – the 21st time they’ve scored first in 28 games.
But Peter Harrold’s first, on a second-period power play, tied the game.