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(Tuesday, March 18th)
Final Score: Montreal 6, Colorado 3
Montreal, QC (SportsNetwork.com) - Thomas Vanek recorded a hat trick in the Canadiens' 6-3 win over Colorado on Tuesday, spoiling Avalanche coach Patrick Roy's return to Montreal.
Roy was a third-round pick by the Canadiens franchise in the 1984 draft and spent his first 10-plus seasons with Montreal before his infamous trade to Colorado in December of 1995 after a fallout with then head coach Mario Tremblay.
During his time with the Habs, Roy won a pair of Conn Smythe Trophies and Stanley Cup titles in 1986 and 1993. He also won two Cups and another Conn Smythe award with the Avalanche.
Roy faced Montreal for the first time as a coach when the Avalanche picked up a 4-1 victory at home on Nov. 2. On Tuesday, the former Canadiens goalie coached his first NHL game in Montreal.
Brandon Prust had a goal and an assist for the Canadiens, who have won three in a row. Travis Moen and Dale Weise also lit the lamp.
Carey Price stopped 25-of-28 shots for the victors.
Jamie McGinn had a goal and an assist for the Avalanche, who also got goals from Nathan MacKinnon and Maxime Talbot. Jean-Sebastien Giguere turned aside 30-of-35 shots.
"I didn't want them to feel pressure of winning a hockey game for their coach. It's all about our team here," Roy said.
Vanek broke a 3-3 tie at 14:45 of the third period by completing a tic-tac-toe passing play. David Desharnais slid a pass to the goal line for Max Pacioretty, who found Vanek in front for the power-play goal.
Less than three minutes later, Vanek deflected Alexei Emelin's shot from the point past Giguere.
"It was unbelievable," Vanek said of his three-goal night. "This place is electric."
Weise added an empty-net goal with one minute remaining to account for the final margin.
MacKinnon gave Colorado a 1-0 lead at 18:03 of the first period when he tapped one in from the top of the crease.
The Canadiens tied it 1-1 on Vanek's first goal, which came at the 7:44 mark of the middle stanza. Vanek scored from the slot off a pass from Desharnais.
Talbot gave the Avalanche the lead again at 9:33 when he found the back of the net off Matt Duchene's pass from behind the net.
Montreal tied it again 48 seconds later when Moen spun and put a backhander past Giguere.
Prust's slap shot from the high slot gave the Canadiens a 3-2 edge at 3:33 of the third, but McGinn tied it for the Avalanche at 10:05.
Colorado had won four straight against Montreal ... Avalanche center Paul Stastny returned to the lineup after missing four games with an upper-body injury.
03/18 23:10:26 ET