Jimmy Howard won for the 16th time this season by making 36 saves, helping the Red Wings end a three-game losing streak. Detroit's 39 points are the most in the Western Conference.
Datsyuk has reached double figures in goals during each of his nine seasons in the NHL, all of them spent with Detroit. His career-best total has been 32, established in the 2008-09 season.
His goal gave the Red Wings a 3-1 advantage with 4:29 left in the second. Benoit Pouliot brought the Canadiens within one 7:43 into the third but Howard fought off Montreal the rest of the way and Patrick Eaves scored into an empty net with 46 seconds remaining.
Montreal had won its previous three games. Carey Price lost in regulation time for the first time since Nov. 22, stopping 28 shots.
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