Cam Tucker

NASHVILLE, TN - NOVEMBER 08:  P.K.Subban #76 of the Nashville Predators celebrates with teammates Mattias Ekholm #14, Ryan Johansen #92, and James Neal #18 after scoring a goal against the Ottawa Senators during the second period at Bridgestone Arena on November 8, 2016 in Nashville, Tennessee.  (Photo by Frederick Breedon/Getty Images)
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Predators pass a difficult test by beating the Blues to extend point streak

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The Nashville Predators have now extended their point streak to five games, beating teams like the Colorado Avalanche and Ottawa Senators along the way.

On Thursday, they faced their most difficult test so far this month, taking on their Central Division rivals from St. Louis. Despite falling behind by a goal in the first period, the Predators rallied to win 3-1.

James Neal and Calle Jarnkrok scored 1:06 apart in the third period and Pekka Rinne was solid in goal.

After making it within a single win of the Western Conference Final in the 2016 playoffs, and the acquisition of the dynamic P.K. Subban to bolster their offensive attack from the blue line, the Predators started this season slow, despite heightened expectations.

The Avalanche share a spot at the bottom of the Western Conference standings. The Senators are in a Wild Card spot in the East.

But the Blues represent a possible Stanley Cup contender in the highly competitive Central. This recent run and victory against St. Louis could signal a turnaround for the Predators after that difficult start, with players maintaining this team can still get better.

“We’re just starting to play the way we know we can play. We’re just playing a lot better,” said Predators captain Mike Fisher, per NHL.com.

“We still feel there’s room to improve in a lot of areas, but there’s definitely good signs. We’re finding ways to get points. It’s nice to get a couple in a row and a big one tonight, and we’ve got to keep rolling because we’ve got some ground to catch up.”

The Predators conclude their four-game home stand on Saturday against the Anaheim Ducks.

Finding a fit in Minny? Eric Staal leads Wild over Penguins

ST PAUL, MN - OCTOBER 15: Eric Staal #12 of the Minnesota Wild looks on during the game against Winnipeg Jets on October 15, 2016 at Xcel Energy Center in St Paul, Minnesota. (Photo by Hannah Foslien/Getty Images)
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PITTSBURGH (AP) Eric Staal‘s third-period goal proved to be the game-winner as the Minnesota Wild defeated the Pittsburgh Penguins 4-2 on Thursday night.

Staal had two assists, giving him 51 points in 50 career games against Pittsburgh. Charlie Coyle scored his fourth of the season on the power play, while Nino Niederreiter added his third and Jared Spurgeon his second into an empty net for the Wild, who won for the fourth time in six games.

Minnesota, playing its first game since a one-goal loss against Colorado on Saturday, defeated the Penguins for the first time in five games, including four straight in Pittsburgh.

Related: Staal ready to ‘hit the refresh button’ after disappointing stint in New York

Devan Dubnyk, who made 39 saves, allowed fewer than three goals for the eighth straight game, which includes a streak of three straight shutouts.

Sidney Crosby and Patric Hornqvist both scored power-play goals for Pittsburgh, which lost in regulation for the first time in eight games. It was Pittsburgh’s first regulation home loss this season.

Crosby has nine goals and 11 points in eight games since returning from a concussion that sidelined him for the first six games of the season. Crosby opened the season with a six-game point streak. Phil Kessel had two assists for Pittsburgh, which allowed a season-high 43 shots.

Marc-Andre Fleury made his first start in a week on Thursday and stopped 40 shots. He backed up Matt Murray the previous two games.

Staal put Minnesota in front 3-2 early in the third period. Coyle put a shot on net following a Penguins’ turnover behind the goal and Staal backhanded the rebound behind Fleury.

Crosby and Coyle scored power-play goals in the first period.

Pittsburgh scored its power-play goals against the top penalty killing unit, while Minnesota entered with five goals in its previous 34 chances with the man advantage.

The x-factor Price keeps Kings in check to maintain perfect record

MONTREAL, QC - OCTOBER 29:  Carey Price #31 of the Montreal Canadiens looks on during the NHL game against the Toronto Maple Leafs at the Bell Centre on October 29, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Toronto Maple Leafs 2-1.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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Carey Price almost made it look easy.

With the Montreal Canadiens leading the L.A. Kings by three goals on Thursday, Price recovered to rob Anze Kopitar with a sprawling save, the Habs goalie deflecting the puck over the net and out of play at the end of a scramble around his crease.

It was a spectacular save, but really, what else would you expect from Price?

He told reporters following Montreal’s 4-1 win over the Kings that he got “lucky” with the save. He’s definitely got a point. Whether it’s luck or skill or at times a combination of the two, Price continues to provide stellar goaltending for the Habs.

The backbone of the Habs, Price made 23 saves versus the puck possession beasts from L.A.

It’s no secret the Habs rely heavily on their star puck stopper, and players have admitted that they need to cut down on allowing so many shots on Price.

It’s no coincidence that the demise of that team’s playoff chances last season accelerated with Price out due to injury.

He certainly provides an X-factor for his team when healthy.

Montreal’s lone regulation loss, a well-documented stinker, this season came last week against Columbus. Price wasn’t in net. With the win Thursday, he improved his record to 9-0-0. He also boasts a save percentage of .953. That’s insane.

He will lose eventually this season. Right? But for now, Price is on another impressive roll. Another level.

As a result, the Habs have opened up an eight-point lead in the Atlantic Division.

Related: The Canadiens’ short-term outlook hasn’t changed much: It’s still all about Carey Price

Video: Ryan Miller makes spectacular diving save, but the losing continues for Canucks

MONTREAL, QC - NOVEMBER 02:  Ryan Miller #30 of the Vancouver Canucks reacts on a call by the referee on an empty net goal late in the third period during the NHL game against the Montreal Canadiens at the Bell Centre on November 2, 2016 in Montreal, Quebec, Canada.  The Montreal Canadiens defeated the Vancouver Canucks 3-0.  (Photo by Minas Panagiotakis/Getty Images)
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The misery continues for the Vancouver Canucks.

After a one-game outburst — five goals for counts as an outburst, right? — against the New York Rangers two days ago, the Canucks lost 3-1 to the Detroit Red Wings on Thursday, concluding a six-game road trip with only a single win.

Scoring difficulties persist. Their coach, Willie Desjardins, remains on the hot seat with the Canucks sitting with a record of 5-9-1 following that improbable 4-0 start.

The positives are few and far between for the Canucks.

The play of rookie defenseman Troy Stecher is one of the very few things to be optimistic about. Daniel and Henrik Sedin worked their magic to score a beautiful goal versus the Red Wings.

And Ryan Miller made a spectacular desperation diving save to rob the Red Wings of a fourth goal.

With the Canucks net empty, Henrik Zetterberg fired the puck toward the goal only to have Miller dive back, throw his arm up and snag the puck in his glove.

The Canucks now return to Vancouver to play the Dallas Stars on Sunday.

Rask just keeps on winning for the Bruins

SUNRISE, FL - NOVEMBER 1: Goaltender Tuukka Rask #40 of the Boston Bruins watches a replay during first period action against the Florida Panthers at the BB&T Center on November 1, 2016 in Sunrise, Florida. The Bruins defeated the Panthers 2-1. (Photo by Joel Auerbach/Getty Images)
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OK, so it wasn’t a perfect night for the Boston Bruins.

Colin Miller accidentally scored into his own net off a faceoff, but by then the Bruins were comfortably ahead of the Columbus Blue Jackets and all that own goal did was make the score look a tad bit more respectable for the visitors.

It happens. Just ask Loui Eriksson.

The gaffe didn’t matter. The Bruins won for the fourth time in the past six games, defeating the Blue Jackets 5-2. They erupted for four goals in just over four minutes in the first period, chasing Sergei Bobrovsky from the net.

Thursday’s game featured an intriguing goalie match-up, with Bobrovsky facing Tuukka Rask, who is having a great start to his season. He’s been a major reason why the Bruins currently hold a playoff spot, although there is plenty of hockey remaining on their schedule.

A goalie duel never materialized. Bobrovsky was pulled before the game was even 13 minutes old and Rask faced only 17 shots, ending the Blue Jackets’ point streak at five games.

Rask is now 8-1-0 this season — not to mention a .938 save percentage — for a Bruins team that had dealt with injuries to their goalies, including back-up Anton Khudobin, early on.

There was good news on that front following Thursday’s game. Per the Bruins, Khudobin will travel with the team on its upcoming three-game road trip.