Max Pacioretty scored three goals to back up another solid goaltending performance by Carey Price as the Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 5-2 Thursday at the Bell Centre. Price exchanged greetings with Olympic teammate Roberto Luongo during the pregame warmup and then proceeded to outplay the 2010 Olympic gold medalist. Price made 42 saves while Luongo had 25. Montreal remained in third place in the Atlantic Division with 68 points. Toronto also has 68 points but has played one more game. Montreal and Toronto are only one point behind Tampa Bay.

A tip in time: Pacioretty scored on the Canadiens’ only power play when he tipped P.K. Subban’s rocket from the blue line to open the scoring at 14:59 of the first period. Jason Garrison blocked Subban’s initial shot but the puck went back to Subban for a second attempt. Pacioretty scored his 25th goal of the season at 4:45 of the third period when he converted a blind pass from David Desharnais, and he completed his hat trick with an empty-net goal.

Luongo unbeatable: Pacioretty was awarded two penalty shots in the second period but Luongo stopped both of them. Pacioretty was hauled down by former teammate Raphael Diaz at 11:47 of the second period and Alexandre Burrows tripped him up at 13:38. Luongo also stopped Pacioretty on a penalty shot in Vancouver on Oct. 12 and has stopped all five penalty shots he has faced this season.

Fourth-line contribution: Ryan White picked up where he left off Tuesday night when he scored at 16:02 of the first period to give the Canadiens a 2-0 lead. White, who had a career-high six shots against Calgary, scored his first goal of the season when he lifted the puck over Luongo. Linemates Dale Weise and Michael Bournival picked up assists. It was Weise’s first point as a Canadien.

Edler helps out: Tomas Plekanec was credited with his 17th of the season at 8:14 of the third period. His shot was lying in the crease when Vancouver defenceman Alexander Edler kicked it in to give Montreal a 4-1 lead.