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game recap

Wild score eight against Blues, Staal has hat trick

Line with Granlund, Zucker combines for 14 points

by Jessi Pierce / NHL.com Correspondent

ST. PAUL, Minn. -- Eric Staal scored a hat trick for the Minnesota Wild in a season-best fifth straight win, 8-3 against the St. Louis Blues at Xcel Energy Center on Tuesday.

Staal scored with a wrist shot at 7:46 of the third period to make it 7-3, and he completed his hat trick at 10:54 for an 8-3 lead.

Wild fans initially thought his first third-period goal completed the hat trick, but a goal originally credited to him in the first period was changed to Mikael Granlund.

 

[WATCH: All Blues vs. Wild highlights]

 

"Once the hats started coming, I was like, 'Uh oh.' I knew it wasn't a hat trick because [Granlund] told me he touched that one before it went in," Staal said. "I celebrated a good assist on that one. … It was one of those nights. It was fun. Our line was buzzing. We were feeling it. We had the puck following us around. Big win."

Video: STL@MIN: Staal notches hat trick in five-point game

The eight goals are the most scored by the Wild in their history (third time).

Staal, who had two assists, extended his point streak to five games (seven goals, five assists). His line with Granlund and Jason Zucker combined for 14 points.

Granlund scored twice and had two assists, Zucker had a goal and four assists, and Mikko Koivu scored for Minnesota (36-20-7). The Wild are three points ahead of the Dallas Stars for third place in the Central Division and are 7-1-1 in their past nine games.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice, and Alex Pietrangelo scored for St. Louis (34-26-4), which has lost seven in a row for the first time since Dec. 26, 2009 to Jan. 7, 2010.

"The score is on the scoreboard and there's not much to say about that game," Tarasenko said. "Whatever we have now is not enough. That's it."

Video: STL@MIN: Tarasenko scores off Schenn's backhand feed

The Blues are one point behind the Los Angeles Kings for the second wild card into the Stanley Cup Playoffs from the Western Conference.

Zucker tipped in a slap shot by Ryan Suter for a 1-0 lead at 2:57 of the first period. Zucker fed Granlund with a backhand at 7:13 to increase the lead 2-0. Tarasenko made it 2-1 at 9:59 with a one-timer up the middle. Granlund scored 1:18 later, batting in the puck from midair for a 3-1 lead.

Pietrangelo made it 3-2 15 seconds into the second period. Staal scored on the power play at 8:19 to make it 4-2, and Charlie Coyle backhanded a pass to Koivu for a one-timer at 17:07 and a 5-2 lead. Tarasenko scored at 18:32 on the power play to make it 5-3. Jared Spurgeon made it 6-3 with 16 seconds left, deflecting a shot by Granlund.

St. Louis goaltender Carter Hutton replaced Jake Allen to start the second period. Allen allowed three goals on eight shots; Hutton allowed five on 25. The Blues have allowed at least four goals in five of the past seven games.

Video: STL@MIN: Granlund scores on carom off his skate

Devan Dubnyk made 22 saves for Minnesota.

"This is the time [to do well]," Wild coach Bruce Boudreau said. "Our schedule gets an awful lot more difficult when March rolls around."

 

Goal of the game

Staal's goal at 10:54 of the third period.

Video: STL@MIN: Staal buries own rebound to notch hat trick

 

Save of the game

Dubnyk's save on Scottie Upshall at 6:03 of the second period.

Video: STL@MIN: Dubnyk turns away Upshall's sharp-angle shot

 

Highlight of the game

Granlund's goal at 11:17 of the first period.

Video: STL@MIN: Granlund bats in goal after fortuitous carom

 

They said it

"It's a matter of pride as far as I'm concerned. You give up eight goals, come on. We've given up 16 in the last three games. We've always been one of the top defensive teams. The turnovers that we have and the lack of respect that we have for our goaltenders and for the game of hockey, that's ridiculous. We have guys that aren't scoring and aren't contributing defensively and are not showing nearly enough as far as what they want to bring to the table in terms of playing for their teammates and defending and being hard to play against." -- Blues coach Mike Yeo

 

"If [Staal] was playing in Toronto, he'd be up for the MVP. … He's done everything for us. ... He does it so quietly. He has played with a smorgasbord of players this year, this is the longest he's been on one line all year, and he's never complained. He never says a word. 'Whatever you need to do. Put him with me, I'll get him going.' He's a great teammate like that." -- Wild coach Bruce Boudreau

 

Need to know

It was Staal's 14th NHL hat trick, his first since Jan. 24, 2013 against the Buffalo Sabres with the Carolina Hurricanes. … The Wild scored eight goals March 25, 2004 (8-2 at the Chicago Blackhawks) and April 10, 2009 (8-4 against the Nashville Predators). … Alexander Steen and Jaden Schwartz each had two assists for St. Louis. … Granlund has nine points (four goals, five assists) in his past four games. … Zucker has 11 points (four goals, seven assists) in his past six games. … St. Louis played its first game without center Paul Stastny, who was traded to the Winnipeg Jets on Monday.

Video: STL@MIN: Zucker redirects Suter's point shot for PPG

 

What's next

Blues: Host the Detroit Red Wings on Wednesday (8 p.m. ET; NBCSN, NHL.TV)

Wild: At the Arizona Coyotes on Thursday (9 p.m. ET; FS-A, FS-N, NHL.TV)

 

Video: Staal collects hat trick, five points in 8-3 win

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