Rare Backstrom hat trick powers Caps’ win against Bolts

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To some, Nicklas Backstrom is basically the Swedish Joe Thornton, as he piles up assists while rarely scoring many goals.

Let’s hope he doesn’t ponder the same sort of celebrations that “Jumbo Joe” mentioned regarding Tomas Hertl’s four-goal night, however, as Backstrom showed he’s not a total slouch in the goals department tonight.

His first career regular-season hat trick powered the Washington Capitals’ 4-2 win against the Tampa Bay Lightning on Saturday.

Here’s video of Backstrom’s trio, which included two Alex Ovechkin assists:

Speaking of unusual events, the hat haul apparently included a Santa cap:

Apparently Backstrom’s scored a hat trick in his NHL career, just not in the regular season, as Mike Vogl of the team’s website notes that he collected one against the Montreal Canadiens in Game 2 of that tide-turning 2010 playoff series:

Thornton passes Beliveau as Sharks top Wild

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Joe Thornton setup both San Jose goals Thursday night as the Sharks edged the Minnesota Wild 2-1.

With his pair of assists, Thornton passed the late Jean Beliveau on the NHL’s all-time points list.

Brent Burns and Joe Pavelski had the goals for the Sharks while Alex Stalock made 18 saves for the win.

Here’s Thornton’s historical point:

San Jose has now won six of seven.

Christian Folin had the lone Wild goal – his first career NHL marker.

Darcy Kuemper made 28 saves as the Wild lost for the second time in three games.

Sharks’ leading scorer Couture misses practice following Raffl collision

On Wednesday, San Jose head coach Todd McLellan gave an update — or, depending on how you look at it, non-update — on the health of Logan Couture, who was forced from last night’s win over Philadelphia after colliding with Flyers forward Michael Raffl.

“Felt better today,” McLellan said, per CSN Bay Area. “There’s still protocol that we need to adhere to. He’ll get through the day. We’ll see how he is in the morning. I can’t even venture to guess which way it will go.”

Couture missed Wednesday’s optional skate and his status for tomorrow’ game against the Bruins is unclear.

We obviously want him in [Thursday vs. Boston] and we know he wants to play,” McLellan explained. “But we have to make sure that he is in a good state and feels good.”

Here’s the hit in question, which occurred early in the third period:

Couture left the ice immediately and didn’t return, spending the final frame undergoing parts of the protocol testing. Prior to getting hurt, he assisted on San Jose’s opening marker and with it took over the team’s scoring lead, with 22 points, one more than both Patrick Marleau and Joe Thornton.

 

Watch Live: Flyers at Sharks (10 p.m. ET)

The Philadelphia Flyers will look to snap a four game losing skid when they head to San Jose tonight part of their five-game, 11-day road trip. In addition to Vincent Lecavalier, defenseman Michael Del Zotto is expected to be a healthy scratch tonight.

San Jose meanwhile will look to put together back-to-back wins for the first time since Oct. 26 and Oct. 28. Former Flyers’ forward Ty McGinn will likely start the game on the Sharks’ top line with Joe Thornton and Joe Pavelski. McGinn joined the top line Saturday in San Jose’s 6-4 win over the Anaheim Ducks. Puck drop is at 10 p.m. ET on NBCSN. You can also watch the game via NBC Sports’ Live Extra stream.

CLICK HERE TO WATCH LIVE

Some related reading prior to puck drop:

‘It’s very hard to take’: Lecavalier to be healthy scratched for first time

Burns’ shift back to defense remains work in progress

Video: Martin St. Louis scores goal for 1,000th point

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Martin St. Louis notched his 1,000th point today in Philadelphia, joining only 80 other current and former NHLers who’ve accomplished the feat.

Here’s the goal that put St. Louis, undrafted out of the University of Vermont, into that elite category, in addition to giving the Rangers a 2-0 second-period lead over the Flyers:

Among active players, only Jaromir Jagr, Joe Thornton, Jarome Iginla, Marian Hossa and St. Louis are in the 1,000-point club.

New Jersey’s Patrik Elias is six points away from 1,000.

St. Louis also earned an assist on the Rangers’ first goal, a power-play marker by Dan Boyle: