Update: Coyotes likely without Morris, Hanzal and Vrbata

The Phoenix Coyotes will play a third straight game without defenseman Derek Morris, who is dealing with a lower-body injury, according to Dave Vest of the team’s Web site.

Update: Morris isn’t the only key Coyotes player likely on the sideline. AZ Central’s Sarah McLellan reports that Martin Hanzal is day-to-day with an illness, Radim Vrbata might miss today’s game and Morris has been placed on the IR. Ouch.

Morris, 35, might not sound like a key piece for Phoenix any longer, but he’s having a startlingly strong start to 2013-14. He has 10 points in 14 games, just one short of the 11 he produced in 2012-13 (39 games) and 2011-12 (59 contests).

Generally speaking, the Coyotes have been feasting on production from the blueline, with three defensemen  (Morris, Keith Yandle and Oliver Ekman-Larsson) already boasting 10+ points.

The Coyotes face the Blues in St. Louis on Tuesday.

Columbus collapse: Rangers spoil Blue Jackets’ opener

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For a little more than a minute, Brandon Saad was going to be the story of the Columbus Blue Jackets’ opener. Instead, his power-play goal merely got the ball rolling on a flabbergasting finish.

The New York Rangers scored three goals in 1:17 of game time to manage a 4-2 win.

They’ve now spoiled home openers for the Chicago Blackhawks and Columbus Blue Jackets to begin their 2015-16 season.

It might be easiest just to show you when the goals were scored, noting that the third period began with a 1-1 tie.

Brandon Saad power-play goal: 16:10 into third period (2-1 Columbus)
Oscar Lindberg: 17:24 (2-2 tie)
Kevin Hayes: 17:41 (3-2 Rangers)
Mats Zuccarello: 18:41 (4-2 Rangers)

Yikes. Zuccarello scored two of the Rangers’ goals, while a beauty by Cam Atkinson is likely long forgotten.

You can see full game highlights above the headline of this post.

Welcome back, Babs: Red Wings chase Bernier

Mike Babcock

Mike Babcock admitted that there might be a painful transformation as he tries to fix the Toronto Maple Leafs.

His old friends made that abundantly, painfully clear on Friday.

As of this writing, the Detroit Red Wings are up 4-0 on the Buds. Justin Abdelkader just completed a hat trick with James Reimer in net, so the subplot isn’t just about Jonathan Bernier having another tough start.

The big story might just be Detroit’s varied new line of Abdelkader, Dylan Larkin (who scored his first career goal) and Henrik Zetterberg. At the moment, they’ve combined for seven points.

This post will be updated if Detroit’s tribute video to Babcock surfaces.

Really, though, this beating has been about as ugly as this blanket so far.

Here’s video of Abdelkader’s hat trick: