Divisional loss tightens race
Toronto's 5-3 win moved them withing four points of the third-place Canadiens in the Atlantic Division standings.
A late goal by James Van Riemsdyk broke a 3-3 tie.
The Leafs also got goals from Cody Franson, Phil Kessel and Mason Raymond.
Brendan Gallagher, Brian Gionta and David Desharnais scored for the Canadiens.
Leafs score late to win it
David Desharnais tipped in P.K. Subban's point shot to create a 3-3 tie that lasted five minutes.
Errors by Andrei Markov, Alexei Emelin and Max Pacioretty opened the door for Tyler Bozak to feed James Van Riemsdyk for the winning goal.
With Carey Price on the bench, Joffrey Lupul was hauled down from behind and awarded an empty-netter.
Canadiens outshot the Leafs 33-29.
Birthday boy captain scores a big one
The Canadiens dominated the first half of the period, but Toronto took the lead on goals by Phil Kessel and Mason Raymond – the former off defensive zone chaos, the latter with Alecei Emelin in the penalty box.
The home team was cruising until Brian Gionta, 35 today, tapped in a rebound with only 11 ticks left on the clock.
Shots were 14-10 for the Canadiens.
Carey Price made a highlight reel leg save on Kessel.
Reminiscent of what the Senators did on Thursday, Toronto began by running the Canadiens out of the rink.
The Leafs outshot their visitors 6-1 and got a 1-0 lead when Nazem Kadri easily beat Alexei Emelin and fed a pinching Cody Franson for a tap-in.
The lead lasted until a late-period Canadiens power play.
A lucky bounce off Max Pacioretty found the blade of Brendan Gallagher's stick, and the diminutive one fired home his 12th goal – half of which have come on the PP.
Shots were 12-9 for the Leafs.
Carey Price's best save was right-leg robbery on Mason Raymond.
Another Atlantic rival
Their first visit to Toronto this season is unlikely to match the excitement of the Canadiens' crazy win in Ottawa, but there's every chance we'll see a good one at the Air Canada Centre Saturday night.
Clinging to a wild-card playoff spot, Toronto has won three in a row and is 16-10-1 at the ACC.
The Canadiens are third in the Atlantic Division, two points behind Tampa Bay and three back of the Bruins. They're 13-8-2 on the road this season.
The Leafs spoiled the season opener at the Bell Centre Oct. 1 with a 4-3 win. The Canadiens made amends to the home fans, getting two goals from Max Pacioretty and winning 4-2 on Nov. 30.
Hamilton call-ups Nathan Beaulieu and Joonas Nattinen are expected to be in the lineup Saturday night.
Disappointing fans who voted overwhelmingly in favour of taking him out to the barn to be humanely euthanized, Rene Bourque will be in the pressbox, with Douglas Murray and Raphael Diaz.
The Leafs will be without "prize" UFA acquisition David Clarkson and goon Frazer McLaren.
Puck drops at 7:40ish, after the HNIC crew finishes their preliminary Leaf-blowing.
Check back later for live game blogging.