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Get your game notes: Kings at Blues

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Tonight on NBCSN, it’s the St. Louis Blues hosting the Los Angeles Kings starting at 8 p.m. ET. Following are some game notes, as compiled by the NHL on NBC research team:

• On Jan. 14, the Kings traded away goaltender Ben Scrivens to Edmonton for a 2014 third-round pick. With Scrivens gone, the Kings called up rookie Martin Jones to back up Jonathan Quick, who’s returned to start the Kings’ last five games after missing 24 games with a groin injury.

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• All season, goaltending and defense have not been a problem for the Kings. They currently have the lowest goals allowed (93) and goals allowed per game (1.98), rank third in fewest shots allowed per game (27.1) and first in team save percentage (.927).

• On the other side of things, the Blues are tied for league lead in goals per game (3.53) and tied for second in goals (159). The Blues are also the league’s 3rd-stingiest team (2.18 goals against per game), for easily the league’s best goal differential (+1.35). (Anaheim is 2nd, +1.06) The Blues have allowed two or fewer goals in eight consecutive games, their longest such streak since a 10-game run Feb. 23-March 11, 2012.

• Beginning tonight, the Kings will play their next eight games away from the Staples Center, first embarking on a season-long five-game road trip (before facing Anaheim at Dodger Stadium on Jan. 25). Despite a respectable road record this season (12-8-2), LA has struggled of late, losing their last five road games, all in regulation. The Kings’ last road win was in Chicago on Dec. 15, a 3-1 victory over the Blackhawks. LA’s next true home game at the Staples Center will not be until Jan. 30, against Pittsburgh (9 games/15 days from now).

• St. Louis is one of the strongest teams at home this season (18-3-2), and has won their last five games on home ice (outscoring their opponents 23-9) to tie a season-best stretch at home, including a 5-0 win over LA on Jan 2. The last time they won six straight home games was when they won their last six regular-season home games a season ago. St. Louis is behind only Anaheim (20-0-2) & Pittsburgh (20-3-0) for the best home record in the NHL.

• St. Louis’ Alex Pietrangelo brings a six-game point streak (2G-7A=9) into tonight’s game, tied for the league’s longest active streak (Brad Richards, NYR).

• The Blues (Brian Elliott, Jaroslav Halak) are one of two teams, along with New Jersey, with two goaltenders who have each posted three shutouts this season. The Kings were members of that group until yesterday’s trade. (LA’s Martin Jones has three shutouts, Jonathan Quick has two; as a team, the Kings have a league-leading 8 shutouts.)

• 10 Blues players will represent their countries in Sochi, tying Chicago and Detroit for the most among all teams. The Olympians will represent six different nations. Only Montreal (eight players for six nations) has as broad of an Olympic representation, among all NHL teams.

By winning fifth straight, Caps extend Wild’s slump to seven losses

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ST. PAUL, Minn. — Alex Ovechkin scored three times in the second period for his 14th career hat trick, and the Washington Capitals beat the Minnesota Wild 4-3 on Thursday night.

Ovechkin, who leads the league with 34 goals, has 13 in his past 13 games. Nicklas Backstrom had three assists and Jason Chimera added an empty-netter for Washington, which improved to a league-best 20-5-2 on the road.

Braden Holtby made 33 saves for the Capitals, who won their fifth consecutive game and became the first team to reach 40 victories this season.

Charlie Coyle, Ryan Suter and Mikael Granlund scored for the Wild, but Minnesota lost for the 12th time in its past 13 games (1-10-2). Devan Dubnyk made 29 saves for the Wild, who have lost seven in a row at home (0-4-3).

Ovechkin’s third goal, which deflected off both the post and the back of Dubnyk into the net, was upheld following a coach’s challenge. Wild coach Mike Yeo challenged that the puck had left the zone for offsides, but the call stood after a review showed that Backstrom stopped the puck before it crossed the blue line.

The goal gave Ovechkin his first hat trick since he scored four goals against Tampa Bay on Dec. 10, 2013.

It wasn’t the only fortunate bounce for Ovechkin on the night, and the five-time 50-goal scorer capitalized on each opportunity.

A shot from T.J. Oshie deflected off of Minnesota forward Zach Parise across the ice right to Ovechkin in the left faceoff circle and Ovechkin quickly snapped off a shot to beat Dubnyk, who couldn’t get across the crease to get into position. Three minutes later, Ovechkin scored on the power play when a point shot bounced off the end boards right to Ovechkin in front of the net.

The tally provided some relief for the Capitals’ surprisingly ineffective power play. Washington had one power play in its previous six games, an empty-netter for the only goal in its previous 20 power-play chances. The Capitals were 1 of 5 on the power play on Thursday.

Coyle scored for the fifth time in eight games in the second, but second periods have doomed the Wild during their slump. Minnesota has been outscored 13-3 in the period in five straight losses.

Suter scored his sixth goal of the season on the power play in the third as Minnesota went 1 of 5 with the man advantage.

NOTES: Washington C Evgeny Kuznetsov left in the third period after he was hit in the face by the stick of Mikael Granlund off a faceoff. … Backstrom has 20 points in his last 17 games. … Minnesota D Jared Spurgeon missed his second straight game with an unspecified deep bruise. Spurgeon has returned to practice, but was held out again. … Holtby is 27-1-3 in his last 31 games with two shutouts, a 2.10 goals-against average and .927 save percentage.

Watch the Blackhawks’ Patrick Sharp tribute video

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Over the years, the Chicago Blackhawks have been forced to let some important players leave to keep their core together, which ultimately meant parting ways with Patrick Sharp.

The talented winger now wears a Dallas Stars jersey, so Blackhawks fans must face the reality of watching Sharp ply his trade for a formidable Central Division opponent.

Even if that might feel awkward, Blackhawks fans gave Sharp (and Johnny Oduya) a warm reception in Chicago on Thursday.

CSNChicago.com provides video of that ovation, which you can see in the clip above.

The Stars currently lead the Blackhawks 4-2, thanks in large part to Patrick … Eaves.

Ovechkin’s 14th career hat trick helps him make more history

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Death, taxes and Alex Ovechkin winning the Maurice Richard Trophy.

OK, the third thing on that list isn’t technically inevitable. It just feels that way lately in the NHL.

It’s unclear if the Washington Capitals can hold on against the Minnesota Wild, but we know for certain that Ovechkin already has a hat trick, the 14th of his high-scoring career.

(He also passed Jean Beliveau for 39th all-time in goals with his 509th, as NHL.com notes.)

This propels Ovechkin to the goals lead as of this writing, as he already has 34. As impressive as Patrick Kane has been, No. 8 is heating up, and may just edge No. 88 if Ovechkin can remain healthy.

One has to feel a little sympathy for the struggling Wild. They played well but lost against the Dallas Stars earlier this week and now must deal with Ovechkin and the just-as-hot Capitals.

Update: Minnesota managed three goals, but it wasn’t enough, as Washington got the edge 4-3.

Bylsma believes league will look at Gudas’ hit on Catenacci

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Rugged Philadelphia Flyers defenseman Radko Gudas may get in trouble with the league once again.

At least, it will be that way if Buffalo Sabres head coach Dan Bylsma has his way regarding Gudas’ five-minute charging major hit on Daniel Catenacci.

“I think there’s no question it’s head hit,” Bylsma said, according to the Buffalo News’ John Vogl. ” … I know the league will look at that hit and deal with it.”

As far as the injury portion of possible suspension considerations go:

Marcus Foligno‘s analysis of Gudas was … well just check it out.

The Flyers ended up winning 5-1. Gudas was a busy man overall, racking up 17 penalty minutes.