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Coyotes Notebook: Opening Night's TV Rating Ties Record

by Dave Vest / Arizona Coyotes

GLENDALE – According to FOX Sports Arizona, Thursday night’s Coyotes vs. Rangers game tied for the highest rating the network has ever had for its first Coyotes game of a season.

The game averaged a 1.3 rating (23,433 Phoenix households). The 2010 opener versus Detroit on FOX Sports Arizona also did a 1.3 rating.

The Coyotes are back on FOX Sports Arizona on Saturday when they face the Sharks in San Jose.

• Forward Radim Vrbata started the season by netting a natural hat trick on Thursday to lead the Coyotes to a 4-1 win over the New York Rangers. He is the first Coyotes player to score a hat trick in a season opener.

Vrbata also scored three goals in last season’s finale at Anaheim, and is just the second Coyotes player to notch back-to-back hat tricks. Jeremy Roenick also accomplished that feat on Nov. 25-26, 1999.

Moreover, Vrbata is the first NHL player to notch a hat trick in a season finale and then another one in the following season’s opener for the same team since Luc Robitaille did it for the LA Kings in 1988.

After Thursday’s game, a reporter jokingly asked Vrbata to do a little math: What is 3 (goals) times 82 (games in a season)?

“I’m not going to answer that,” Vrbata said with a smile.

• With his parents and about a dozen other family members and friends watching from the lower bowl, rookie forward Lucas Lessio made his NHL debut on Thursday. He notched one shot and one hit in 9:22 of ice time.

NOTE: Click here to watch Lessio discuss playing his first game in the League.

“You could tell he was a little nervous early, but he’s relentless on loose pucks,” Head Coach Dave Tippett said. “He drew two penalties. There is no quit. There’s a puck battle and he’s in it and he’s in it the whole way, and he’s such a great kid. He’s passionate about playing, and I thought as the game went on he got better and better. He’s going to be a really good NHL player.”

• Forward Kyle Chipchura scored the team's first goal of the season at 3:36 of the first period on Thursday. Last season, it took Chipchura 15 games to notch his first goal of the year.

Asked if he received any prize for scoring the team's first goal, Chipchura said: "No. Just personal pride. But it was nice to get it out of the way."

• Defenseman Rostislav Klesla on Friday skated with teammates for the first time since being removed from a preseason game on a stretcher on Sept. 15.

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