Chris Chelios and Mike McPhee scored in the second period for Montreal as Quebec lost its fourth of five road games this young season.
The teams were each a man short at 7:27 of the middle period when Chelios, a former U.S. Olympian, grabbed his rebound off the pads of former Canadian Olympic goalie Mario Gosselin and scored to make it 2-1.
McPhee raised the lead to 3-1 with his first goal of the season at 13:25 after he dug the puck from a scramble in front of Gosselin.
The Nordiques scored the first goal of the game on their second shot, at 16:58 of the first period, after Dale Hunter dug the puck from behind the Montreal net. Anton Stastny backhanded a shot past goalie Steve Penney, but 55 seconds later Montreal's Bob Gainey tied it, 1-1, when he sent the puck through Gosselin's legs.
The Nordiques closed to 3-2 when Andre Savard grabbed a rebound off Penney's pads and lifted the puck into the open corner of the net at 2:28 of the third period. Montreal regained its two-goal lead at 8:49 on its first shot of the final period, Chris Nilan scoring a two-on-one break.