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Canadiens 6, Avalanche 3

The SportsXchange

MONTREAL -- Left winger Thomas Vanek scored a hat trick to lead the Montreal Canadiens to a 6-3 win over the Colorado Avalanche on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

Goaltender Carey Price made 33 saves for Montreal (38-25-7), which won its third straight.

Goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 23 shots for Colorado (44-20-5).

Center Brandon Prust and left winger Travis Moen also scored for the Canadiens.

Centers Nathan MacKinnon and Maxime Talbot and left winger Jamie McGinn scored for the Avalanche.

MacKinnon broke the scoreless tie at 18:03 of the first period when left winger Gabriel Landeskog, in a battle along the backboards, found the rookie in the slot for his 23rd goal of the season.

Vanek tied the score with his first goal in a Canadiens uniform at 7:44 of the second period. Center David Desharnais broke in on the left side and drew Giguere out of position as he appeared headed for a wraparound attempt. He instead dished in front to Vanek, who tapped the puck into an open net.

The Avalanche regained the lead nearly two minutes later after center Matt Duchene delivered a perfect feed to Talbot in the slot.

Moen evened the score less than a minute later with his first goal since Nov. 22 in Washington. Prust dived to chip the puck over to Moen, who did a spin-o-rama to rid himself of the Avalanche defender and tossed in a backhander for his second goal of the season.

Prust gave the Canadiens their first lead of the night at 3:33 of the third period when he rifled a one-timer from the high slot.

McGinn tied the score at 9:54 when he picked up his own rebound and lifted it over Price.

Vanek's second of the night restored Montreal's lead on the power play. After hemming the Avalanche in their own end, left winger Max Pacioretty, behind the net, sent the puck to Vanek in front at 14:45.

Vanek added his third goal when he tipped defenseman Alexei Emelin's point shot at 17:40.

Right winger Dale Weise sealed it with an empty-net goal.

Avalanche center John Mitchell left the game in the second period after sliding hard into the end boards and did not return.

NOTES: Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy received a loud cheer from fans when he was shown on the video board during the U.S. national anthem. The game marked Roy's first time at the Bell Centre since the Canadiens retired his jersey on Nov. 22, 2008. The Hall of Famer played goalie for Montreal from 1985 to 1995. ... Canadiens LW/C Brandon Prust went to the dressing room late in the first period after getting hurt on a hit along the boards. He returned to the bench before the period was over. ... Montreal scratched RW George Parros, RW/LW Rene Bourque, C Ryan White and D Douglas Murray. ... The Avalanche scratched C Ryan Wilson, D Cory Sarich, D Paul Carey and G Semyon Varlamov. ... G Reto Berra, acquired by Colorado at the trade deadline, backed up G Jean-Sebastien Giguere.
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