Vrbata connected as Chicago’s fourth shooter in the shootout to give the Blackhawks a 4-3 victory over the Ottawa Senators.
He also scored two goals in regulation, including one that tied it with 1:59 left, to help Chicago rally from a 3-1 deficit to end a three-game losing streak.
Chicago’s Jeff Hamilton also scored in the shootout. Both he and Vrbata beat Ottawa goalie Martin Gerber with backhand shots high on the stick side.
“I know Gerber from Carolina,” Vrbata said. “I wasn’t sure he’d remember that shot. He didn’t.”
Dany Heatley, Ottawa’s third shooter, was the first to connect in the extra session. Hamilton, however, responded to force a fourth frame.
“Got to finish the shootout there,” Gerber said. “I was too impatient on the third one. Very disappointed, but it happens.”
Vrbata was credited with tipping in Brent Seabrook’s shot during a 4-on-4 to tie it 3-3 and set up overtime. Mikael Holmqvist also scored for the Blackhawks, who won for just the second time in their past 10 games (2-6-2).
Chicago’s Patrick Lalime, who played five seasons with Ottawa from 1999 to 2004, blocked 30 shots.
“This was a big one for us,” Lalime said. “We never quit down 3-1. We kept going after them.”
The Blackhawks rebounded after a 6-2 loss in Detroit on Friday and being outscored 16-4 in their past three games.
“We certainly feel we could get a win out of this one,” Ottawa coach Bryan Murray said.
“They got beaten up in their last game and their coach (Denis Savard) came after them. They played with a lot of emotion and energy.”
Daniel Alfredsson had a goal and an assist for the Senators, who lost their second straight after going 8-0-1 in their previous nine games.
Ottawa had lost 4-2 in Atlanta on Friday after holding a 2-1 lead in the third period.
“We’ve been a great third-period team the last couple of months,” Heatley said. “For us to do that two nights in a row is unacceptable. We’re going to have to get rid of this one quick.
“They’ve got some guys who can change the game quick, like Marty (Havlat)” Heatley said. “We were in control of the game, they just kept coming and we let them back in the game.”
Oleg Saprykin and Antoine Vermette also scored for Ottawa, which got 22 saves from Gerber.
Heatley and Jason Spezza both extended their point-scoring streaks to 11 games when they assisted on Alfredsson’s power-play goal early in the second.
Although Heatley scored in the shootout, his goal-scoring streak ended at six games. He had scored eight times during the stretch.
The Blackhawks’ leading scorer, Martin Havlat, faced the Senators for the first time since being traded from Ottawa to Chicago last summer.
“We needed this win, whether it was against Ottawa or anyone else,” Havlat said.
Vrbata opened the scoring 6:24 into the first, completing a give-and-go with Havlat with a tip-in from the edge of the crease. After Vrbata dropped the puck to Havlat, Havlat centred back to Vrbata who deflected it in despite being covered by two Senators.
Saprykin tied it 1-1 with 8:46 left in the first by converting his own rebound. Lalime stopped Saprykin’s first shot, but Saprykin lobbed the loose puck over Lalime’s shoulder.
Alfredsson’s power-play goal at 7:10 of the second gave Ottawa a 2-1 lead. He fired in a loose rebound of Heatley’s drive from the slot.
Vermette’s tip-in with 7:56 left in the second made it 3-1. While moving across the slot, he redirected Andrej Meszaros’ shot.
Holmqvist cut it to 3-2 at 3:54 of the third when he wristed in a rebound of Martin Lapointe’s close-in attempt.
Vrbata’s shot during a Chicago power play early in overtime deflected off Lapointe and hit the post.
Notes: The Senators and Blackhawks met for the first time since Dec. 18, 2003, in Ottawa. The last time the two teams had played in Chicago was Dec. 4, 2002. … Chicago C Tuomo Ruutu sat out with the flu. … The Senators had three healthy scratches, D Lawrence Nycholat, and RWs Brian McGrattan and Patrick Eaves.