Antoine Vermette made himself right at home – at the Ottawa Senators’ expense.
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The former Ottawa player completed a hat trick at 2:23 of overtime to give the Phoenix Coyotes a 4-3 victory over the Senators on Saturday.
”It’s special. It’s always going to be special here,” Vermette said. ”I started my career here and there have been good memories. A little part of me will always be here and when I was driving here from the airport I was looking around and it feels like home a little bit.”
Vermette pounced on the loose puck in front of goalie Craig Anderson and pushed it through to the back of the net to beat his former team. Radim Vrbata also scored to help the Coyotes snap a three-game losing streak.
Vermette tied it on a power play with 2:13 left in the third period. He took a pass from David Moss and deposited the puck into an empty net behind the fallen Anderson.
”It was huge,” Vermette said. ”They were crucial points because the standings are so tight in the (Western Conference). It was a good performance and we found a way to get the two points.”
Marc Methot, former Phoenix forward Kyle Turris and Zack Smith scored for Ottawa. The Senators have lost three straight.
”It’s frustrating and we have to start winning games, eventually,” Senators captain Jason Spezza said.
”You just try to keep working and figure out what we have to do better and work at it. It’s not a matter of staying positive at this point it’s just trying to work our way out of it at this point and get on some sort of semblance of a roll.”
Phoenix’s Mike Smith made pad saves on Kyle Turris and Clarke MacArthur 2 minutes in overtime. Against MacArthur, The goalie was on his stomach and stretched his right leg out enough to get his toe on the puck.
”I saw it when it happened and I actually thought it went in, but it was a great save, a huge save and obviously a game-changing save,” Coyotes defenseman Keith Yandle said.
”When you’re in a little bit of a slide it’s a character win when you’re down. ”Everyone did a good job getting into it and trying to get the win. There was a lot of desperation in the third when we were trying to find ourselves a goal and get back into the game. When it’s crunch time it amps up a little bit but it’s fun.”
Ottawa took a 2-0 lead early in the second period.
Fresh from the penalty box, Zack Smith got a long pass from Eric Gryba and skated in on a partial break and beat Mike Smith high to the stick side at 3:10.
Vermette beat Anderson from the slot at 5:28, and Vrbata tied it on a power play at 8:47 when he moved in from the point and beat Anderson to the short side.
Methot gave the Senators a 3-2 lead with 5:09 left in the period.
Notes: The Coyotes are the only NHL team this season that hasn’t scored a short-handed goal. … The game was Phoenix’s first in Ottawa since Oct. 26, 2010.