PHOENIX -- Winger Radim Vrbata recorded his fifth career hat trick as the Phoenix Coyotes treated their new ownership group to a 4-1 victory over New York Rangers in the season opener for both at Jobing.com Arena on Thursday.
Vrbata broke a 1-1 tie when he pushed him own rebound past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist early in the second period, and he scored twice early in the third period to ruin Alan Vigneault's coaching debut with the Rangers.
Vrbata scored eight seconds into a power play just 1:10 into the third period for a 3-1 lead, and he put the game away when he forced a turnover behind the Rangers net before scoring on a rebound 7:23 into the period.
Coyotes goaltender Mike Smith turned away 23 shots while facing little pressure. Smith signed a six-year, $34 million contract July 1 after going 15-12 with five shutouts and a 2.58 goals-against-average after battling injuries in a lockout-shortened 2012-13 season.
The Coyotes played their first game under the IceArizona ownership group, which purchased the team Aug. 5, 2013. The franchise had been operated by the league since declaring bankruptcy in 2009.
Defenseman Marc Staal had a power play goal to tie the game early in the second period for New York, which was 26-18-4 last season.
Kyle Chipchura scored in the first period for the Coyotes, who were 21-18-9 last season and missed the playoffs after making the Western Conference finals the year before.
Martin Hanzal added two assists.
Vrbata had the franchise's first opening night had trick since Igor Korolev did it for Winnipeg on Oct. 7, 1995, the Jets' last season before relocating to Phoenix.
Vrbata had 12 goals last season, and also had a hat trick in the final game of the 2012-13 season, a 5-3 victory at Anaheim on April 27.
NOTES: NHL commissioner Gary Bettman and the Coyotes' new ownership group, IceArizona, met the media before game. The NHL operated the Coyotes since 2009, when former owner Jerry Moyes took the team into bankruptcy May 5, 2009, before IceArizona paid $170 million for the franchise Aug. 5. 2013. "In any case, the end result certainly made the journey worthwhile," Bettman said. The NHL bought the Coyotes out of bankruptcy for $140 million. ... New York Rangers captain Ryan Callahan (left shoulder) opened the season on the injured list while recovering from offseason surgery. Callahan, who had 16 goals last season, is expected to miss between two-and-four weeks, the Rangers said. ... Coyotes LW Paul Bissonnette served the first game of his three-game suspension in the season opener Thursday. Bissonnette originally was given a mandatory 10-game suspension for leaving the bench to join an altercation in a Sept. 13 exhibition game against Los Angeles, but the league reduced the suspension after determining Bissonnette took the ice legally. ... The Rangers play their first nine games on the road this season, four in eight days in the Pacific Time Zone. Los Angeles, San Jose and Anaheim are next.
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