MONTREAL - A night that started with cheers for an old hero ended with cheers for what Montreal Canadiens fans hope will be a new one.
For a little while, anyway.
The Canadiens faithful cheered former Hab and Hall of Fame goaltender Patrick Roy during the national anthem when he was shown on the videoboard at his post behind the Colorado Avalanche bench, his first visit as the coach of an opposing NHL team.
The bigger cheers were for the hat trick scored by Canadiens winger Thomas Vanek, his first three goals in a Habs uniform since being picked up at the trade deadline as the Canadiens wound up with a 6-3 win and another big two points in their attempt to solidfy their hold on a playoff spot.
The win gives the Canadiens 83 points, good for second place in the Atlantic Division, two points ahead of the Tampa Bay Lightning, who hold two games in hand. They are also eight points ahead of the ninth-place Detroit Red Wings, who also hold two games in hand.