The skinny: Thomas Vanek scored three goals, including the winner on a power play at 14:45 of the third period as the Canadiens defeated the Colorado Avalanche 6-3 Tuesday night at the Bell Centre. They were the first goals for Vanek since he was acquired at the trading deadline to provide the Canadiens with added scoring punch. He completed his hat trick with another power-play goal at 17:40. Jamie McGinn tied the game at 3-3 at 10:05 of the third period when his initial shot was stopped by Carey Price, but he scored with a backhander off the rebound.

Grinding away: It was a big night for the Canadiens’ fourth line. Brandon Prust left the game after he was shaken up in the first period, but he returned to pick up a goal and an assist. He scored at 3:22 of the third period to give Montreal its first lead, at 3-2. Travis Moen tied the game at 2-2 when he scored on a spinning backhand shot at 10:21 of the second period. Prust made it possible when he set up Moen by diving to poke the puck away from Erik Johnson. The goal came 48 seconds after Max Talbot converted Matt Duchene’s pass from behind the net to put Colorado ahead 2-1. Dale Weise, the other member of the third line, completed the scoring with an empty-netter.

Vanek breaks the ice: Vanek got a monkey off his back when he scored at 7:44 of the second period. David Desharnais led a rush up the ice and pulled goaltender Jean-Sébastien Giguère out of the crease before passing back to Vanek.

Big Mac attack: The Avalanche’s decision to select Nathan MacKinnon with the No. 1 overall pick in last June’s draft continues to pay dividends. The overwhelming favourite to win rookie-of-the-year honours, opened the scoring with his 23rd goal of the season at 18:03 of the first period. MacKinnon found room in front of Price and went from his forehand to his backhand.