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Tortorella routed in his return to New York

Rangers' Kreider fills hat as Canucks lose again

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NEW YORK -- Chris Kreider did just about everything right on the ice, and off it, too.

Kreider scored a career-best three goals, and Rick Nash added a goal and two assists as the New York Rangers spoiled the return of former coach John Tortorella by rolling to a 5-2 victory over his Vancouver Canucks on Saturday.

Kreider netted two in the first period for his first NHL multigoal game, and finished his hat trick by tipping in Anton Stralman's shot with his back to the net at 9:38 of the third. Kreider had scored only five goals -- three this season -- in his first 43 career games.

After a tough rookie season under Tortorella, in which he spent a large chunk of time playing in the AHL, Kreider didn't reveal any extra satisfaction that his breakout game occurred against this opponent.

"I would have struggled trusting me, too," Kreider said of last season. "I was playing through an injury. There are no hard feelings, I learned a lot from him.

"I had a pretty positive experience on the whole. At the end of the day, it's two points and we're happy to come away with the win."

Nash and defenceman Michael Del Zotto connected in the second against starting goalie Roberto Luongo and backup Eddie Lack to turn the much-anticipated game into a rout.

David Booth and Daniel Sedin scored for Vancouver, which couldn't build off a 5-2 win at Ottawa on Thursday. The Canucks are 3-5-4 in their last 12 games.

"I thought we played better in the games we lost prior (to Thursday)," Tortorella said.

Rangers rookie backup Cam Talbot was sharp again in spelling Henrik Lundqvist, and made 35 saves in his first home start to improve to 6-1. He has allowed only 11 goals in eight outings.

"I gain a lot of confidence, and confidence in the guys in front of me, too," Talbot said. "They've been playing really great in front of me. I'm just trying to stop the puck and not let them down because they're doing a great job of getting me in games and getting me leads."

New York bounced back from a 3-2 loss at Boston on Friday, that had new coach Alain Vigneault angry, and snapped a three-game losing streak at home even though they were outshot 37-24.

Fans unleashed taunts of "Tor-tor-ella" as the final minutes ticked down.

"I'm not going to lie to you, it's a little weird for me coming back here," Tortorella said. "Once the game starts, it's about playing and trying to find a way to get a win. That's my job, to try to get some traction with this hockey club. Once that starts, it's just, 'Let's go.' "

Vigneault got a bit of satisfaction in the coaching matchup Saturday as he earned a win over his former team that let him go after a first-round playoff ouster last season.

-- The Associated Press

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition December 1, 2013 $sourceSection0

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