Nash leads Rangers past Coyotes 5-1 in Vigneault's 500th win

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Sunday, February 15, 2015

GLENDALE, Ariz. -- Moments after securing his 500th NHL win, New York Rangers coach Alain Vigneault deflected the attention to the "very good players" he's had over the years.

Two shined on Saturday night. Rick Nash was no surprise. The other, Cam Talbot, has allowed the Rangers to stay hot despite a key injury.

Nash scored his NHL-best 35th goal early in a four-goal third period, and Talbot stopped a penalty shot in a 34-save performance in the Rangers' 5-1 victory over the Arizona Coyotes on Vigneault's milestone night.

"I feel very privileged and fortunate to have all those good players through the years," said Vigneault, who became the 21st coach in league history to reach 500 wins.

Nash ripped a shot from the right circle off the crossbar and in 1:19 into the final period to make it 2-1. It was Nash's seventh goal in eight games as he moved closer to matching his career high of 40 goals with Columbus in 2008-09.

But Talbot, who made his sixth straight start for the injured Henrik Lundqvist, was tested just a few minutes later.

Dominic Moore hauled down Rieder, setting up Arizona's second penalty shot in a week. Both failed. Talbot gobbled up Rieder's backhand attempt.

"Cam's been the backbone of our team," Nash said.

Added Vigneault: "He's been waiting for an opportunity to prove he can play on a consistent level."

And once Talbot stopped the penalty shot, the Rangers' potent offense took over in their third straight win.

Chris Kreider, Marc Staal and Lee Stempniak also scored for the Rangers and Kevin Hayes added a short-handed goal.

The Rangers have scored 16 goals in three games and 33 in their last nine.

Offense has been a constant in Vigneault's career. The 53-year-old, who also had stints coaching Montreal and Vancouver, improved to 500-355-35-72 in the NHL. Vigneault moved into a tie with Toe Blake for the 20th most wins in the league. Pat Burns (501) is next on the list.

It was another frustrating night for Arizona in its seventh straight home loss.

Antoine Vermette scored for the Coyotes, while Mike Smith made 28 saves.

The Coyotes have not managed more than two goals in any game during their home drought. They lost a team-worst eight straight home games earlier in what's been a lost season.

"We've got a lot of try in us right now, but were having a hard time capitalizing on anything," coach Dave Tippett said.

The Rangers were without defenseman Dan Boyle (illness), who had scored the first goal in each of New York's last two games, and got off to a sluggish start.

After a sloppy first period, the Rangers took a 1-0 lead 54 seconds into the second period when the speedy Kreider raced past Arizona's Michael Stone and wrapped a backhand inside the far post.

But the Coyotes, who got center Joe Vitale back after a nine-game injury absence, looked sharp early in its second game in as many nights.

Moments after Lucas Lessio fanned with an open net, Arizona tied it when Vermette knocked in Oliver Ekman-Larsson's rebound at 6:33 of the second.

But it was Ekman-Larsson's poor luck later that has defined the Coyotes.

On the power play and trailing 2-1, Ekman-Larson broke his stick on a shot. It led to Hayes' goal as he moved past a diving and stickless Ekman-Larsson on a breakaway.

"All I can say," Ekman-Larsson said, "is it's just a bad break."

NOTES: It was the Rangers' first road short-handed goal since 2011. ... Boyle has missed 17 games with a variety of ailments. ... Rangers D John Moore was back in the lineup with Boyle out. ... The Coyotes sent F Brendan Shinnimin to the minors so they could activate Vitale from injured reserve. ... Vermette played in his 450th consecutive game. ... It was a Maloney family reunion with Don, GM of the Coyotes, and Dave, a Rangers TV analyst. The brothers were Rangers teammates for seven seasons from 1978-85.