Four in a row
The Canadiens kept pace with division rivals Boston and Ottawa with a 5-3 conquest of Columbus.
The Canadiens blew a 3-0 lead but got late goals – the last a shorthanded empty-netter – from Tomas Plekanec to secure two points.
Rene Bourque, Andrei Markov and rookie Michaël Bournival, with his first NHL goal, also scored for the Canadiens.
Columbus got two goals from rookie Boone Jenner and another by Ryan Johansen.
Carey Price made 30 saves to earn First Star honours.
Tomas Plekanec broke open a 3-3 tie that was headed for overtime when he beat Sergeo Bobrovsky with 67 ticks left on the clock.
Then with Josh Gorges off for tripping, Pleks added a shorthanded empty-netter.
It ain't over
Andrei Markov's first of the season – a shorthanded shot from the point – staked the Canadiens to a 3-0 lead.
But less than a minute later, on the same power play, rookie Boone Jenner tapped a fat rebound past Carey Price.
And with P.K. Subban way up ice and Lars Eller patrolling the right point in the Columbus zone, Ryan Johansen broke away and beat Price to make it a one-goal game.
Canadiens had an 11-10 shot advantage.
Funny, he doesn't look fluish
Rene Bourque, who was too sick for morning skate, opened the scoring on a brilliant head-man pass by P.K. Subban during a Canadiens power play.
Rookie Michaël Bournival (a Liveblog fave) got his first NHL goal off tic-tac-toe pasing by Andrei Markov and that point machine (10 in six games and 20 minutes) Subban.
Canadiens outshot Columbus 14-11 in a very lively first period.
The Blue Jackets have not played at the Bell Centre since Dec. 6, 2011, when Rick Nash beat Carey Price in a Shootout to secure a 3-2 win for the visitors.
The return of Columbus (a phrase that sends waves of anxiety through indigenous populations everywhere) launches a five-game homestand during which the Canadiens will be re-acquainting themselves with teams they did not face in the lockout season.
Nashville is at the Bell Centre on Saturday, followed by Edmonton next Tuesday, the return of Saku Koivu with his Anaheim teammates on Oct. 24 and mighty San Jose on the 26th,
Nash is no longer the face of the franchise in Columbus. Jeff Carter, who had five shots on goal in that Bell Centre game two years ago, is gone as well.
New Blue Jackets include Marian Gaborik and Brandon Dubinsky, Ryan Murphy, drafted one spot ahead of Alex Galchenyuk in 2012; and old pal James Wisniewski.
Columbus also has the reigning Vezina Trophy winner. Sergei Bobrovsky has allowed more than two goals only once in his five starts this season.
The Canadiens will be coping with the absence of Max Pacioretty, which likely will mean Top 9 ice time for Brandon Prust.
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Rene Bourque has the flu and was not at the Canadiens' morning skate.
If Bourque can't go against Columbus, Michel Therrien will dress seven D and use Nathan Beaulieu on the fourth line. The lines and pairings Thursday morning: Galchenyuk-Eller-Gallagher, Prust-Desharnais-Brière, Moen-Plekanec-Gionta, Beaulieu-Bournival-White; Subban-Markov, Diaz-Gorges, Tinordi-Bouillon.