NCAA Hockey on NBCSN: No. 4 Notre Dame hosts No. 1 Minnesota

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NBCSN continues its coverage of the 2013-14 college hockey season tonight when the No. 4 Notre Dame Fighting Irish host the No. 1 Minnesota Golden Gophers at the Compton Family Ice Arena with coverage starting at 7:30 p.m. ET. In addition to NBCSN, you can also catch the game online

We may be early in the college hockey season, but Friday night’s matchup between Notre Dame and Minnesota provides a possible NCAA tournament showdown.

Two top-five teams, loads of NHL-drafted talent (25 draftees in all), and two of the best coaches in the game will be on display. Yeah, it’s kind of a big deal.

Don Lucia’s Gophers head to South Bend hoping to stay unbeaten this season. With a 5-0-1 record, they’re one of two teams without a loss this season (St. Cloud State the other). After earning a tie and a win against Boston College two weeks ago, the Fighting Irish provide another early-season measuring stick for the Gophers.

Headlining Minnesota’s attack is junior forward Sam Warning. His five goals and 12 points both lead the team and he’s tied for eighth in the country in scoring. Not bad for a guy who wasn’t drafted. Their forward attack is deeper than just Warning.

Junior Kyle Rau (Florida) and freshmen Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles) and Justin Kloos have been steady in their production. The play of Fasching and Kloos have given the Gophers the kind of offense fitting of the No. 1 team in the country.

As for the Fighting Irish, they’re coming off two straight frustrating weekends in which they split with both Minnesota-Duluth and Vermont. While their record sits at 6-0-2, there’s no doubt coach Jeff Jackson wants more from his team. They’ll get the test they’re looking for out of the Gophers.

The Fighting Irish have a more balanced attack with seven players having five or more points early in the season. Freshman forward Vince Hinostrosza (Chicago) and senior forward T.J. Tynan (Columbus) lead the way with eight points each and sophomore forward Sam Herr leads the team in goals with five. On defense, Shane Tayker and Robbie Russo (New York Islanders) have five points each as well. We told you it was a balanced attack.

Goalies

Minnesota sophomore Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay) has carried the load all season to this point and has been stellar with a 1.64 goals-against average and a .938 save percentage. Expect him to get the call once again for the Gophers.

For Notre Dame, senior Steven Summerhays is their workhorse and he’s been just as good as Wilcox. He’s 6-1-0 this season with a 1.49 goals-against average and a .936 save percentage.

Despite how steady both teams’ offenses have been, you get the feeling Friday’s game could be a showcase in net.

NHL Draftees

Minnesota – Forwards: Hudson Fasching (Los Angeles), Kyle Rau (Florida), Taylor Cammarata (NY Islanders), Nate Condon (Colorado), Seth Ambroz (Columbus), Travis Boyd (Washington), Christian Isackson (Buffalo)

Defense: Mike Reilly (Columbus), Michael Brodzinski (San Jose), Ben Marshall (Detroit), Jake Bischoff (NY Islanders), Brady Skjei (NY Rangers), Justin Holl (Chicago)

Goalie: Adam Wilcox (Tampa Bay)

Notre Dame – Forwards: Vince Hinostrosza (Chicago), T.J. Tynan (Columbus), Austin Wuthrich (Washington), Bryan Rust (Pittsburgh), Jeff Costello (Ottawa), Mario Lucia (Minnesota), Steven Fogarty (NY Rangers), Thomas DiPauli (Washington).

Defense: Robbie Russo (NY Islanders), Stephen Johns (Chicago), Kevin Lind (Anaheim)

Please note: Saturday night’s game between these same teams will be streamed on NBC Live Extra on NBCSports.com at 7 p.m. ET.

The Buzzer: Kempe, Schwartz record hat tricks; Leafs honor Gord Downie

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Players of the night: Jaden Schwartz, St. Louis Blues / Adrian Kempe, Los Angeles Kings

The Blues forward tallied his third career hat trick during a 5-2 victory over the Chicago Blackhawks. Schwartz scored the game’s first two goals before completing his hat trick with a late empty-net goal to stave off a Chicago comeback.

Wednesday’s feat for Schwartz came three years to the day of his first career three-goal game.

Kempe, meanwhile, tallied his first NHL hat trick and finished with four points during LA’s 5-1 rout of the Montreal Canadiens. Two of his three goals were assisted by Mike Cammalleri, who also finished the night with four points.

Highlight of the night:

Eddie Olczyk returned to the NBC broadcast booth as he continues his battle against colon cancer. Olczyk, along with Doc Emrick, called the Blues-Blackhawks game from Scottrade Center Wednesday night.

MISC:

Auston Matthews recorded the 20th multi-point game of his career. He now has six goals and 10 points on the season.

Patrick Marleau became the 18th NHL player to reach the 1,500-game mark.

Jake Allen kept his shutout bid alive with this great stick save on Patrick Kane late:

-The Kings are off their best start in franchise history at 5-0-1. They’ve allowed only 10 goals against through six games.

Jeff Carter left the game in the first period and did not return after tangling with Jeff Petry. Afterward, Kings head coach John Stevens said the forward will miss some time.

-Finally, The Tragically Hip frontman Gord Downie passed away from cancer at age 53 on Wednesday. The Maple Leafs paid tribute before their game against the Red Wings.

Factoid of the night:

Scores:

Maple Leafs 6, Red Wings 3

Blues 5, Blackhawks 2

Kings 5, Canadiens 1

Cammalleri, Kempe power Kings over Canadiens

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Adrian Kempe recorded his first career NHL hat trick and Mike Cammalleri added two goals as the Los Angeles Kings beat the Montreal Canadiens 5-1.

After Paul Byron opened the scoring for Montreal midway through the first period, the Kings responded with five unanswered goals to hand the Habs their sixth straight defeat.

Cammalleri, who inked a one-year deal over the summer to return to the Kings, had a hand in four of LA’s five goals. He started the scoring for the Kings in the first period by celebrating the Dodgers’ playoff run with his own special kind of baseball swing.

Kempe, who finished with four points as well, scored his three goals over a span of 10:50 in the third period to help the Kings to their best start in franchise history (5-0-1).

LA remains the only NHL team yet to lose in regulation this season.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

Jaden Schwartz’s hat trick leads Blues over Blackhawks

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Jaden Schwartz‘s third career hat trick helped power the St. Louis Blues over the Chicago Blackhawks 5-2 in a Central Division clash Wednesday night at Scottrade Center.

Schwartz’s eventful evening began with a goal 4:46 into the first period. It was nearly ended minutes later after a scary crash into the end boards following a scoring chance.

After missing some time, Schwartz returned in the second period and doubled the Blues’ lead with his fourth of a season, thanks to a great outlet pass from Allen.

As the Blues built up a 4-0 lead, the Blackhawks spoiled Allen’s shutout bid with a pair of late power play goals 80 seconds apart. The furious rally was stopped, however, and Schwartz capped off his hat trick with an empty netter to put the game out of reach.

St. Louis dominated the first two periods, outshooting the Blackhawks 26-8 as they built up their 2-0 lead. The Blackhawks’ power play failed them early in the game, missing out on five chances to capitalize with the extra man through 40 minutes.

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

WATCH LIVE: Canadiens at Kings

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The Montreal Canadiens play their second game of a three-game west coast trip Wednesday night against the Los Angeles Kings.

It hasn’t been the best start for the Habs, who sit tied for last in the Eastern Conference with a 1-4-1 record. They’re winless since an opening night win over the Buffalo Sabres. On the other side of things, the Kings are the only NHL team that has yet to lose in regulation. Their 4-0-1 start puts them a point behind the Vegas Golden Knights, and their game in-hand gives them the opportunity to leap into first place in the Pacific Division with a victory.

You can check out tonight’s game on NBCSN (10:30 p.m. ET) or online via the live stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

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Sean Leahy is a writer for Pro Hockey Talk on NBC Sports. Drop him a line at phtblog@nbcsports.com or follow him on Twitter @Sean_Leahy.

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