Phoenix Coyotes Antoine Vermette (50) celebrates his goal against the Ottawa Senators with teammates Mikkel Boedker (89) and Michael Stone (28) goaltender Mike Smith (41) during second period NHL hockey action of an NHL hockey match in Ottawa, Canada, on Saturday, Dec. 21, 2013. (AP Photo/The Canadian Press, Fred Chartrand)

Vermette gets hat trick, including late tying goal, OT winner


The Ottawa Senators selected Antoine Vermette in the 2000 NHL Entry Draft, but he hasn’t played for them since the 2008-09 campaign. Still, as the Coyotes pointed out, he hadn’t managed to find the back of the net against his former club. Until today that is.

Phoenix’s Antoine Vermette scored in the second period, but the Senators still held a 3-2 lead after 40 minutes. It wasn’t until he netted a power-play goal with just 2:13 minutes remaining in regulation time that the contest was tied.

With the match in overtime, Vermette completed his hat trick at 2:23 of the overtime period.

Phoenix’s 4-3 victory snapped their three-game losing streak to help them improve to 19-10-6 this season. That puts them just one point shy of the Minnesota Wild and the second Wild Card spot, which isn’t a bad spot to be in considering the Coyotes have played in two fewer contests.

Meanwhile, the Senators have now suffered three straight defeats and are 14-17-7 this season. That consolation point will help them though in their own struggle to make the playoffs.

Wild lose Graovac (groin) for 2-3 weeks

Tyler Graovac, Sam Reinhart,
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After making the Wild out of training camp, Tyler Graovac got some bad news on Tuesday — head coach Mike Yeo said Graovac would miss the next 2-3 weeks with a groin strain.

Graovac, 22, played just under 14 minutes in Minnesota’s crazy 5-4 comeback win over Colorado in the season-opener, but sat out Saturday’s win over St. Louis.

At 6-foot-5 and 200 pounds, Graovac was a notable physical presence in the Wild lineup, and is an intriguing prospect — he impressed with AHL Iowa last year, scoring 21 goals and 46 points in 73 games.

Already without Eberle, the Oilers could also be missing Hall tonight

Taylor Hall
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Taylor Hall is sick and reportedly “doubtful” for tonight’s game in Dallas.

Hall did not skate with the Oilers this morning. If he can’t play, Edmonton’s top two lines against the Stars could feature Ryan Nugent-Hopkins between wingers Teddy Purcell and Benoit Pouliot, followed by Connor McDavid centering Lauri Korpikoski and Nail Yakupov.

The Oilers — forced to start the season without top-six winger Jordan Eberle — have scored just once in their first two games, losing 3-1 in St. Louis and 2-0 in Nashville.

Edmonton returns home after tonight’s contest to play St. Louis on Thursday. Then it’s back out on the road for games against Calgary and Vancouver.