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NHL-Highlights of Thursday's games

Reuters

Oct 3 (The Sports Xchange) - Highlights of Thursday's National Hockey League games

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Coyotes 4, Rangers 1

Winger Radim Vrbata recorded his fifth career hat-trick as the Phoenix Coyotes treated their new ownership group to a home victory over New York Rangers in the season-opener for both on Thursday.

Vrbata broke a 1-1 tie when he pushed his own rebound past Rangers goalie Henrik Lundqvist early in the second period, and he scored twice in the third period to ruin Alan Vigneault's coaching debut with the Rangers.

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Capitals 5, Flames 4 (SO)

Mikhail Grabovski scored the shootout winner to complete a furious comeback by the Washington Capitals in a 5-4 home victory over the Calgary Flames.

Capitals left wing Alex Ovechkin scored two goals and Nicklas Backstrom sent the game into overtime with his first goal of the season with 5:50 remaining in regulation.

For the Caps, it was their first win of the season while the Flames picked up a point in their own opener but felt the sting of blowing leads of 3-0 and 4-1.

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Sharks 4, Canucks 1

San Jose goaltender Antti Niemi saved almost everything, turning away all but one of Vancouver's 22 shots and San Jose opened the new season with a 4-1 home win over the Canucks, despite going 0-for-7 on the power play.

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Panthers 4, Stars 2

The Florida Panthers scored three unanswered third-period goals, one by rookie Aleksander Barkov and two by Marcel Goc, to beat the Stars 4-2 on the road, spoiling the debut of Lindy Ruff as Dallas' new head coach.

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Blues 4, Predators 2

St Louis right wing David Backes was not happy with his offensive production a year ago and if the first game of the new season is any indication, he is determined to do something about it.

Backes scored a goal and assisted on another to lead the Blues to a 4-2 home win over the Nashville Predators in the season-opener for both teams.

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Penguins 3, Devils 0

Marc-Andre Fleury turned aside all 27 New Jersey shots, including a penalty, to earn his 250th career win as the Penguins topped the New Jersey Devils at home.

Chuck Kobasew, who inked a contract on Wednesday, notched his first goal as a Penguin midway through the first, which proved to be the game-winner.

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Bruins 3, Lightning 1

Chris Kelly and Patrice Bergeron scored shorthanded goals, Kelly on a penalty shot, to lead the Boston Bruins to a home victory over the Tampa Bay Lightning in the season-opener for both teams.

The Bruins, who lost to Chicago in last season's Stanley Cup Finals, killed off two lengthy two-man disadvantages, the second in the third period, when Tampa Bay took a penalty that led to Bergeron beating Anders Lindback 4:02 into the third period.

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Kings 3, Wild 2 (SO)

Every NHL team is looking for a quick start to the season and Los Angeles did just that as Anze Kopitar and Jeff Carter scored in a shootout, lifting the Kings to victory at the Minnesota Wild in the season-opener for both teams.

But it was LA goaltender Jonathan Quick who made the real difference, as he stopped Zach Parise and Mikko Koivu in the shootout to go along with 27 saves in the prior 65 minutes for the win. (Editing by John O'Brien)

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