New York, NY (SportsNetwork.com) - Chris Kreider's first career hat trick fueled New York's 5-2 victory over Vancouver, spoiling John Tortorella's return to Manhattan.
Saturday's matchup was the first between the teams since they essentially swapped head coaches in the offseason, with Alain Vigneault taking over the Blueshirts and Tortorella filling the Canucks' vacancy after both were fired from the opposite posts.
"I'm not going to lie, it's a little weird for me coming back," Tortorella said. "But once the game starts, it's about playing and trying to find a way to get a win."
Rick Nash and Michael Del Zotto also lit the lamp, while Derek Stepan added a pair of assists for the Rangers, who have won four of their last six.
"It definitely opened things up. We had a lot of chances and we capitalized on our chances," Nash said. "We were feeling some chemistry early and everything worked out."
Cam Talbot made 35 saves, improving to 6-1-0 on the year.
David Booth and Daniel Sedin scored for the Canucks, who have split the first two tilts of their current four-game road trip and have lost in eight of 10 overall.
Roberto Luongo got the start, but was removed after giving up three goals on 10 shots and suffered the setback.
He was chased for good at the 17-second mark of the second period, as Nash tipped in a Stepan shot from the left side of the crease for a 3-0 Rangers edge.
Del Zotto's left-point shot on the advantage made it 4-0 for the hosts with 8:56 left in the second, and Booth gave the Canucks their first score of the game just under five minutes later.
The Boston College product completed his milestone trifecta 22 seconds prior to the midpoint of the third period by batting an Anton Stralman shot out of midair for a 5-1 contest.
"Those are just the kind of players they are. It doesn't matter really who you put with them, they're so good. I've been really lucky to have some good linemates this year," Kreider said.
Sedin poked a rebound through Talbot's pads just seven seconds into a late Canucks power play and that was all for the visitors.
Kreider put the Rangers on the board with 7:23 left in the first period, beating Luongo on a shot from between the circles.
New York went up 2-0 on the power play as Kreider struck again, this time on a tip-in from the slot from a Ryan McDonagh point offering.
Kreider scored just five goals in 42 previous regular-season games prior to Saturday's outburst ... Vancouver had won four of its last six games in New York dating back to October of 1999 ... Vigneault won't make his return to Vancouver until April 1 in the clubs' second and final meeting this season ... Eddie Lack allowed two goals on 14 shots in relief of Luongo.