Wednesday, March 19, 2014
Sports News

Vanek's hat trick powers Canadiens past Avs

Send a link to a friend  Share

[March 19, 2014]  MONTREAL  A night that began with a focus on Colorado Avalanche coach Patrick Roy ended with the spotlight shining brightly on Montreal Canadiens right winger Thomas Vanek.

Vanek scored a hat trick  his first three goals since joining the team at the trade deadline  to lead the Canadiens to a 6-3 win over the Avalanche on Tuesday night at the Bell Centre.

The win allowed Montreal (38-25-7) to maintain its hold on second place in the Atlantic Division and add an eight-point cushion on the ninth-place Detroit Red Wings.

After a slow start, Vanek showed signs of breaking out after numerous chances in recent games, but none ended up in the net.

"The last little bit here it's been frustrating. Not just for myself, but I felt we were so close to putting together a good shift and scoring and getting momentum," Vanek said of his line that includes center David Desharnais and left winger Max Pacioretty.

Center Brandon Prust, left winger Travis Moen and right winger Dale Weise also scored for the Canadiens, who won their third straight.

Centers Nathan MacKinnon and Maxime Talbot and left winger Jamie McGinn scored for the Avalanche (44-20-5).


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.

"They did a good job of tracking us. They were hard on the forecheck tonight and I thought we had some good shifts as well down low," said MacKinnon, the first overall pick in the 2013 NHL Draft. "It was a pretty back-and-forth game and definitely could have gone on the other side as well."

Vanek picked up his first of the night at 7:44 of the second period. 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.

"We played a full 60 minutes. We didn't have too many hiccups," Prust said. "The biggest test was when they tied it up there in the third.

"That can usually deflate a team, but it didn't. We kept going and plugging away. It was a great all-around effort by everyone."

[to top of second column]

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

Vanek added his third goal  the second with the man-advantage  when he tipped defenseman Alexei Emelin's point shot at 17:40.

"What I can bring to the power play is a net-front presence and also create some room there for Patch and Davey," Vanek said. "With me scoring in front there, maybe it will open up more room for them next game."

While his team lost for just the third time in regulation when scoring first, Roy maintained the positive focus that he has preached to the Avalanche all season.

"Sometimes in a game like this small details can make the difference between winning and losing. We miss a couple of clears on the penalty kill and they did a good job of making sure the puck didn't get to the other end," Roy said. "They scored great goals; it was a great tip, great shot. Montreal played a good game. I thought both teams played really well and tonight the puck bounced their way."

Weise sealed it with an empty-net goal.

Canadiens goaltender Carey Price made 33 saves for his first career victory against Colorado.

Colorado goalie Jean-Sebastien Giguere stopped 23 shots.

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.

[ 2014 Thomson Reuters. All rights reserved.]

Copyright 2014 Reuters. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

< Sports index

Back to top