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'Yotes Notes: Vrbata Plays 1,000th NHL Game

Radim Vrbata reached a key milestone on Thursday night

by Dave Vest @davest4yotes / Coyotes Sr. Director of News Content

GLENDALE -- Radim Vrbata became the 310th NHL player to skate in 1,000 games on Thursday night at Gila River Arena.

Like he was in his first NHL game with Colorado in 2001, Vrbata was on the ice for the opening face-off in his 1,000th vs. Ottawa. He played 19:59 and co-lead the Coyotes with four shots on goal in a 3-2 overtime loss to the Senators.

Vrbata's wife and agent attended Thursday's game to witness his milestone. So did his younger brother David and his family, who flew to Arizona from the Czech Republic just for the occasion.

Thursday's game was Vrbata's 494th with the Coyotes over three stints. He ranks tied for eighth in team history with 152 goals and 11th with 336 points. He has played for five other NHL teams: Vancouver (142 games), Chicago (122), Colorado (118), Carolina (106) and Tampa Bay (18). 

Vrbata did not notch a point in Thursday's game, which was odd considering he leads the team with 48 and has been producing points with regularity; he recently had a career-high 10-game point streak.

Head Coach Dave Tippett has enjoyed coaching Vrbata and is not surprised by his longevity in the League. He recently named Vrbata as one of the team's two alternate captains.

"He prepares well," Tippett said. "His game's very consistent. There's lots to like about his game. Sometimes I think when you're looking at captains or leadership guys, there's too much emphasis on rah-rah and not enough on substance. He's a substance guy."

The Coyotes briefly saluted Vrbata with a video tribute during the first period, and he acknowledged applause from the fans, the other players and the coaches. A formal pre-game ceremony to recognize his feat is set for March 18.

• Rookie Brendan Perlini ended a nine-game goal-scoring drought when he notched his 11th goal of the season at 11:30 of the second period.

Perlini gained control of the loose puck and skated it up the left wing. His wrist shot from the left circle slid between Ottawa goalie Mike Condon's pads.

"I knew all night long that their 'D' were going to be stepping up, so hopefully I could just get one of those," Perlini said. "Luckily I did. (I) just drove wide and tried to get it on net and luckily it snuck five-hole."

Video: Brendan Perlini discusses Coyotes' OT loss to Sens

• Rookie Lawson Crouse gave Arizona a 2-1 lead at 17:49 of the second period when he scored his fourth goal of the season and his second via a strong wrap-around move.

"As soon as I saw the puck laying there I just scooped it up," Crouse said. "I had quite a bit of speed and I tried to fake a little shot and (Condon) kind of froze. At that point you just have to get it around the far post. I was lucky. I think it hit off a skate or the d-man or whatever."

• The Coyotes led 2-1 after two periods but couldn't hold the lead.

"We had lots of shots and opportunities to win that game," Tippett said. "We had chances, but we didn't capitalize. Their tying goal is on a bad break, and the overtime is one mistake you would like to have back."

• Defenseman Oliver Ekman-Larsson's aforementioned miscue in the overtime period - he couldn't handle a drop pass from Vrbata in the offensive zone - led to his pal Erik Karlsson's game-winning breakaway goal 40 seconds into overtime. 

"I gave it to 'Vrby' and he tried to drop it back to me, and I looked up for a second and I missed the puck," Ekman-Larsson said. "That happens sometimes. Everybody's trying to make plays out there. If you don't, you're not going to get the chances. Unfortunately, it went that way today but we're finding ways to lose games right now. (We) have to keep working hard and try to get better."

Video: Ekman-Larsson discusses Coyotes' OT loss to Sens

• The Coyotes were 0-for-4 on power plays, including a brief 5-on-3 advantage in the third period when they were leading 2-1.

"That's where you'd like to see your power play go out and seize that and get that third one and put the game away," Tippett said. "We didn't do that and came back to bite us.""

Video: Dave Tippett discusses Coyotes' OT loss to Sens

Arizona is 3-for-39 on power plays over the past 13 games.

• Goalie Mike Smith made 28 saves but lost his fifth consecutive start. Smith last won on Feb. 20 vs. Anaheim.

• Defenseman Luke Schenn played 20:22 and led both teams with six hits and three blocked shots.

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