Vrbata's hat trick leads Coyotes past Rangers
Glendale, AZ (SportsNetwork.com) - Radim Vrbata notched a hat trick to lead the Phoenix Coyotes in a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers to open the season.
Kyle Chipchura scored the other goal while Mike Smith made 23 saves for the Coyotes, who finished in last place of the Pacific Division last season.
"We competed well. We played how we need to play to be successful," Coyotes head coach Dave Tippett said.
Marc Staal had the only goal of the game for the Rangers, while Henrik Lundqvist posted 28 saves for New York, which was eliminated in the second round of the playoffs last season by the Boston Bruins.
With the score tied in the second period, Vrbata scored his first of the game and gave his team a 2-1 lead as several shots were stopped before Vrbata got his own rebound back and snapped it in at 7:05.
"That second goal really turned the game back to their favor," Lundqvist said.
The game stayed that way until the third period while Phoenix was on the power play. A left circle faceoff win saw the team control the puck before Keith Yandle fired a shot on net from the left point that Vrbata redirected past Lundqvist at 1:10.
It was a 4-1 game six minutes later as Vrbata caused a turnover to the left of the net and, after centering it to Martin Hanzal, jammed it in from the low left side.
The Coyotes scored the first goal of the game at 3:36 of the first period as Rob Klinkhammer centered the puck from the right of the net and Chipchura one- timed it home.
New York tied the game at 3:38 of the second period as a nice passing play saw Staal finish it off with a high shot from the left wing that beat Smith to the blocker side for a power-play goal.
Vrbata's last hat trick came on the final day of last season and he now has five on his career ... Phoenix was 1-for-3 on the power play while New York went 1-for-4 ... Phoenix plays at San Jose on Saturday ... The Rangers have off until Monday when it plays in Los Angeles ... New York had won three straight against Phoenix.
10/04 02:30:12 ET