NHL: First-period explosion propels Phoenix

2013-03-29T00:00:00Z NHL: First-period explosion propels PhoenixThe Associated Press The Associated Press
March 29, 2013 12:00 am  • 

NASHVILLE, Tenn. - Phoenix ended its losing streak with a flurry of first-period goals.

Radim Vrbata had two goals and an assist and Rostislav Klesla added four assists and the Coyotes scored six times in the opening period to cruise to a 7-4 victory over the Nashville Predators on Thursday night.

Martin Hanzal, David Moss, Matthew Lombardi, Keith Yandle and Antoine Vermette also scored for the Coyotes, who snapped a seven-game losing streak, thanks to their big first period that included five goals in a span of 6:40.

The Coyotes' seven goals were just one short of the number they had in the entirety of their skid. Phoenix has scored 10 goals in the last two nights after being outscored 16-5 in its previous six games.

"We haven't had much luck around the net and pucks seemed to be going in from all over the place tonight," Phoenix coach Dave Tippett said. "That's the way it has gone lately. Lately, there are crazy games and fortunately, we got on top of this one."

David Legwand, Rich Clune, Gabriel Bourque, and Shea Weber scored for Nashville, which had its three-game winning streak snapped.

Playing its second game in as many nights following a 4-3 overtime loss at Minnesota, Phoenix jumped all over Nashville early.

Hanzal, Vrbata, and Moss gave the Coyotes a 3-0 lead before the game was even four minutes old. All three goals were scored against Nashville starter Pekka Rinne, who was removed from the game following Moss' tally. Rinne stopped just one of the four shots he faced in that span.

"Yeah, it was embarrassing," Rinne said. "They just ... everything they did found a way to the back of the net."

Chris Mason replaced Rinne, but it did not make much of a difference. Lombardi, a former Predator, and Yandle scored goals 1:18 apart to make it 5-0 at 8:26.

Legwand and Clune scored goals 30 seconds apart to get Nashville on the board just before the midway point of the first, but Vrbata got his second of the game at 15:57 before Bourque had the period's last goal with less than four minutes left.

"Whatever it takes, if it takes seven goals to win, that's what we need right now," Vrbata said. "It was a crazy first period. That's not our style of play. I'm sure that's not theirs either, but we will take whatever we can get."

The six goals allowed in the first tied a Nashville franchise record for most goals against in one period.

• Penguins 4, Jets 0: In Pittsburgh, Pascal Dupuis scored twice and Evgeni Malkin had a goal in his return to the lineup, leading the Penguins to their 14th straight win.

Chris Kunitz had a goal and an assist and Sidney Crosby had two assists to push his league-best points total to 56 as the Penguins moved within three victories of their own NHL record for consecutive wins.

• Kings 4, Blues 2: In St. Louis, Mike Richards scored the go-ahead goal with 2:43 to play, Jonathan Quick made 20 saves and the Kings beat the Blues for the eighth straight time.

• Panthers 5, Sabres 4, SO: In Sunrise, Fla., Mike Santorelli scored the winning goal in the shootout to lift Florida.

• Senators 3, Rangers 0: In Ottawa, Ben Bishop turned aside 24 shots to earn his second career NHL shutout, and the Senators won.

• Maple Leafs 6, Hurricanes 3: In Toronto, Joffrey Lupul scored the go-ahead goal with 3:10 remaining, helping the Maple Leafs hold off a Carolina comeback.

• Islanders 4, Flyers 3, SO: In Philadelphia, Colin McDonald scored two goals, Josh Bailey tallied the clinching score in the shootout and New York won.

• Oilers 6, Blue Jackets 4: In Edmonton, Alberta, Ales Hemsky scored the go-ahead goal with 3:08 remaining to lead the Oilers.

• Canucks 4, Avalanche 1: In Vancouver, British Columbia, Daniel Sedin scored the go-ahead goal in the third period and added an assist, Alex Burrows also had a goal and an assist and the Canucks won.

• Sharks 2, Red Wings 0: In San Jose, Calif., Antii Niemi made 27 saves for his second shutout in two nights and the Sharks won their third straight game in regulation.

Copyright 2014 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

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