Canadiens 6, Avalanche 3: Thomas Vanek completed a hat trick by scoring a pair of power-play goals late in the third period as host Montreal spoiled the return of Colorado coach Patrick Roy.
Vanek scored his first three goals in his sixth game with the Canadiens since he was acquired from the New York Islanders while Travis Moen, Brandon Prust and Dale Weise also scored to lift Montreal to its third straight victory. Carey Price turned aside 25 shots for his first career win over Colorado as the Canadiens halted a four-game losing streak against the Avalanche.
Rookie Nathan MacKinnon, Maxime Talbot and Jamie McGinn scored for Colorado, which lost for only the third time in 10 games when Vanek broke a 3-3 tie with two goals 2:55 apart. Matt Duchene had a pair of assists and Jean-Sebastien Giguere made 30 saves and fell to 7-2-0 in his last nine versus Montreal.
MacKinnon accounted for the only goal of the first period with a backhander from the slot, but the teams erupted for three goals in a 2:37 span in the second period. Vanek notched his first goal since he was dealt to the Canadiens, steering the puck into an open net after David Desharnais broke down the left side and drew Giguere out of the net.
Talbot responded just under two minutes later, burying a feed of Duchene's deft backhand pass from behind the net at 9:33, but Moen tied it 48 seconds later with a highlight-reel goal, spinning in the slot with a defender draped over him and beating Giguere with a backhander. Prust gave the Canadiens their first lead with a one-timer from the high slot 3 1/2 minutes in the third but McGinn cleaned up a rebound for the equalizer midway through the session.
GAME NOTEBOOK: Roy, in his first game coaching in the city where he played for 11-plus seasons, received a loud ovation from the crowd when his face was shown on the scoreboard during the American national anthem. ... Avalanche F John Mitchell was taken to the hospital by ambulance to have X-rays on his back after crashing hard into the boards during the second period. ... Canadiens F Max Pacioretty collected a pair of assists, as did Desharnais, who extended his point streak to four games. ... Avalanche F Paul Stasny returned to the lineup after missing four games with a back injury and picked up an assist on MacKinnon's opening goal.