Cam Tucker

St. Louis Blues v Chicago Blackhawks
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The Blues are red-hot after fifth straight win

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ST. LOUIS (AP) Vladimir Tarasenko had two goals and an assist, Jake Allen got his fifth straight win and the St. Louis Blues beat the Anaheim Ducks 5-2 on Friday night.

Jori Lehtera and Patrik Berglund sparked St. Louis with third-period goals 1:04 apart for a 3-1 lead. Paul Stastny also scored for the Blues.

Allen made 26 saves and improved to 4-0-0 career against the Ducks. It was also his career-best 23rd win of the season.

Ryan Getzlaf and Rickard Rakell scored for the Ducks, and Frederik Andersen made 18 saves.

Lehtera’s goal was a product of a strong forecheck by Tarasenko, who forced a turnover behind the Anaheim net. The puck went straight to Jaden Schwartz, and he found Lehtera all alone in front of the net.

Berglund capitalized on a turnover from Ducks defenseman Josh Manson 2:59 into the third.

Rakell pulled the Ducks to within one with an unassisted goal at 15:27.

Tarasenko restored the two-goal advantage at 17:22 and added an empty-netter 66 seconds later.

It was the third straight win at home for the Blues against the Ducks, and St. Louis is 9-2-2 at home against Anaheim since 2010.

Getzlaf put the Ducks up 1-0 with a power-play goal 5:17 into the second. Allen made the initial save on Ryan Kesler, but Getzlaf banged home the rebound as it went off Allen’s shoulder.

Getzlaf’s goal came on a 5-on-3 advantage for the Ducks after the Blues were called for too many men on the ice while already killing off Lehtera’s interference penalty.

Stastny tied the game on a tip from Carl Gunnarsson‘s point shot. The goal snapped a 14-game scoreless stretch for Stastny dating back to Feb. 6.

The Ducks are now winless in their last three games after winning 11 straight.

NOTES: Blues D Gunnarsson signed a three year extension worth $8.7 million before the game. Gunnarsson has seven points in 62 games this season and a plus-6 rating. … Ducks D Sami Vatanen did not play after getting clipped in the chin area during Wednesday’s loss to the Avalanche. He was replaced by D Korbinian Holzer. … Blues F Troy Brouwer played in career game No. 600. … The NHL rescinded the game misconduct penalty called against Blues F Ryan Reaves during a game Wednesday night against Chicago.

‘Every game is a desperate game’: Flyers keep winning, pushing for playoffs

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The Philadelphia Flyers swept their home-and-home set with the Tampa Bay Lightning, completing the feat with a 3-1 victory on Friday.

That’s three wins in a row and six wins in the last seven games for the Flyers, who continue to push for a playoff spot in the Eastern Conference. They’re two points behind the Detroit Red Wings for the final Wild Card spot, with a game in hand.

“We’re making our playoff push, and for us, every game is a desperate game,” Radko Gudas said, as per the Philadelphia Inquirer. “We’re going to know where we stand a little better after this weekend. For us, this weekend is huge.”

Both teams are in action on Saturday. The Flyers are on the road versus the Florida Panthers, while the Red Wings host the New York Rangers.

The Flyers had some luck go their way, too, in the opening period.

Sam Gagner was given credit for the opening goal, although replays show Lightning forward J.T. Brown knocked the puck into his own net through the legs of Ben Bishop on the scramble in front.

Matt Read and Brayden Schenn also scored for Philadelphia. Schenn is now up to 23 goals, as he continues to build on a career season in that category.

Penguins hold on to defeat Blue Jackets, Malkin leaves game after Prout collision

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The Pittsburgh Penguins earned an important victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Friday but it came at a cost. Evgeni Malkin left the game early in the second period and didn’t return.

Malkin left the ice in discomfort after bumping with Columbus defenseman Dalton Prout behind the net less than two minutes into the second period.

Pittsburgh’s star forward played one more shift, assisting on what would be the eventual winning goal from Carl Hagelin, then left the game and didn’t return.

The Penguins held on for a 3-2 victory over the Blue Jackets to move one point up on the Detroit Red Wings for the first Wild Card spot in the East. They also stay three points up on the Philadelphia Flyers, who also won Friday.

Pittsburgh goalie Marc-Andre Fleury made 25 saves and recorded his 350th career win.

From the Penguins website:

The team also lost Scott Wilson in the third period after he fell into the boards. Brian Dumoulin left the game briefly, but did return to finish the contest.

Stars chase Crawford from Blackhawks net

Montreal Canadiens v Chicago Blackhawks
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A highly anticipated Western Conference tilt between the Dallas Stars and Chicago Blackhawks has turned into a one-sided rout.

Blackhawks goalie Corey Crawford was pulled in the second period after allowing four goals on 20 shots. Three of those goals came in the opening 10:42 of the middle period, with Jamie Benn giving the Stars a 4-0 lead on a deflection in front.

Scott Darling entered the game for Chicago.

Both teams entered Friday’s game tied for top spot in the West with 88 points.

Oilers activate Nugent-Hopkins from injured reserve

Edmonton Oilers v New York Rangers
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The Edmonton Oilers have activated Ryan Nugent-Hopkins from injured reserve, which should finally give head coach Todd McLellan his full compliment of top forwards heading into the weekend.

The Oilers play the Arizona Coyotes on Saturday to begin a five-game home stand.

From the Edmonton Journal:

If Nugent Hopkins is back for Game 71 Saturday, it will mark the first time this season that he, Taylor Hall, Jordan Eberle and Connor McDavid have all been on the same ice.

It’s like a game of tag. Eberle gets injured in training camp and returns Nov. 6, one game after McDavid breaks his collar bone. McDavid comes back Feb. 2, four games after Nugent-Hopkins breaks his finger.

“The biggest thing is we haven’t been able to put our team together on the ice to really know what we have or don’t have and give it time to gel or grow,” said McLellan. “So we’re going to have to make some decisions in the summer without having the complete package together.”

The 22-year-old Nugent-Hopkins hasn’t played since Jan. 18 after suffering a broken hand while blocking a shot.

In 46 games this season, Nugent-Hopkins has eight goals and 30 points. The Oilers are back in a familiar spot near the bottom of the Western Conference standings. They currently sit two points up on Winnipeg for last in the West.

Related: McLellan laments Nugent-Hopkins loss: ‘For me, he’s like Joe Pavelski’