Captain Brian Gionta scored the 20,000th goal regular-season goal in the Canadiens’ glorious NHL history.
The goal drew the Canadiens even at 3-3, six minutes into the third period.
The celebration didn’t last long.
Radek Martinek beat Carey Price with the Islanders’ 17th shot.
John Tavares squelched any hope of a comeback, and Colin McDonald scored into a vacated net to make it 6-3.
The loss was the Canadiens’ first in regulation since the Leafs stomped them 6-0 at the Bell Centre on Feb. 9.
Since that embarrassment, the Canadiens had gone 11 games in which they’d notched at least a point.
The Canadiens outshot the Islanders 32-24.
And they stayed atop the Northeast Division and the Eastern Conference because Boston lost in overtime, blowing a 3-0 lead in Washington.
Michael Ryder had three assists.