NHL: Staal’s hat trick leads surging Wild past slumping Blues 8-3

ST. PAUL (AP) — Eric Staal had three goals and two assists to combine with linemates Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker for 14 points and propel the surging Minnesota Wild to an 8-3 victory on Tuesday over the St. Louis Blues, who lost their seventh straight.

Staal notched his 14th career hat trick, his first in more than five years. By scoring 13 times in 13 games in February, Staal raised his season total to 33 goals to move into the top five in the NHL.

Granlund had two goals and two assists and Zucker added a goal and four assists for the Wild, who have won five in a row overall and are 19-2-5 in their last 26 home games since Nov. 14. In three games since coach Bruce Boudreau put them together, the Zucker-Staal-Granlund line has a staggering 11 goals and 15 assists.

Ryan Suter had three of his team-leading 37 assists, Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon also scored, and the Wild’s eight goals matched their franchise record.

Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and Alex Pietrangelo added a goal for the Blues, but coach Mike Yeo pulled goalie Jake Allen for Carter Hutton after Allen gave up three goals on eight shots in the first period. Allen has allowed at least three goals in four of his last five starts, and the Blues have been outscored 29-10 during their skid while taking only one of the seven games to overtime.

Until Pietrangelo scored just 15 seconds into the second period to cut the lead to 3-2, the Blues played a stretch of 171 minutes and 52 seconds where all they had was two goals by Tarasenko.

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