ST. PAUL Kyle Okposo Jersey , Minn. (AP) Eric Staal has been the ideal leader for the Minnesota Wild, continuing to produce no matter who he’s skating with while coach Bruce Boudreau searches for the most effective combinations.This latest line sure looks like it works well.Staal had three goals and two assists to combine with linemates Mikael Granlund and Jason Zucker for 14 points and propel the surging Wild to an 8-3 victory on Tuesday over the St. Louis Blues, who lost their seventh straight game.”You want to bottle it and keep it going as long as you can,” Staal said.This was his 14th career hat trick, his first in more than five years.”He does it so quietly. He has played with a smorgasbord of players this year,” Boudreau said. ”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.”’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.”If he was playing in Toronto, he’d be up for the MVP,” Boudreau said.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 together, the Zucker-Staal-Granlund line has a staggering 11 goals and 15 assists.”Just try to work hard there and get those pucks back,” Granlund said, ”and right now I guess we’re getting a couple bounces, too.”Ryan Suter had three of his team-leading 37 assists, Mikko Koivu and Jared Spurgeon also scored http://www.officialsabres.com/authen...olainen-jersey , and the Wild’s eight goals matched their franchise record.”It’s a matter of pride as far as I’m concerned. You give up eight goals? Come on,” Blues coach Mike Yeo said. ”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.”Vladimir Tarasenko scored twice and Alex Pietrangelo added a goal for the Blues, but Yeo pulled goalie Jake Allen for Carter Hutton after Allen gave up three goals on eight shots in the first period. The Blues have been outscored 29-10 during their skid while taking only one of the seven games to overtime.”I don’t know what to say,” Tarasenko said. ”It’s embarrassing.”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.”We’re completely disconnected in our game,” Pietrangelo said. ”It’s unacceptable.”The Blues played without center Paul Stastny, who was sent to Winnipeg for a first-round draft pick on Monday just before the trade deadline. This has been a brutal month for a team that was on top of the Central Division or near it for most of the season until its recent slide.The Wild have zoomed in to fill that void, climbing into third place with this fabulous last week in February, and the 33-year-old Staal has led the charge. He was originally credited with a fourth goal, midway through the first period, but the official scorers later credited that one to Granlund on a tip near the net. When Staal finished a rush with a top-shelf shot past Hutton , some fans tossed their caps on the ice prematurely.”I felt kind of guilty,” Granlund said.Staal’s last goal was a sure sign of a guy with a hot stick, with a poke that hit the left post . The puck zipped over to the right post and bounced back in front for Staal to knock in the second try. He flashed a sly smile as he celebrated with his teammates, the hat trick official.NOTESStaal’s last hat trick came with Carolina on Jan. 24 www.blackhawksshoponline.com , 2013, against Buffalo. This is the 10th time in 14 career seasons he’s reached the 60-point mark. He has 31 assists, third on the team. … Zucker reached a career-high 51 points (26 goals, 25 assists) with 19 games to go in the regular season. He has 11 points in his last six games, and Granlund has nine points in his last four games. … The Wild have scored eight goals twice before, last on April 10, 2009, against Nashville. … Wild defenseman Jonas Brodin (broken left hand) returned from a nine-game absence. … Allen has allowed at least three goals in four of his last five starts.UP NEXTBlues: Host Detroit on Wednesday, their only home contest out of seven games over a 19-day stretch until Mar. 15.Wild: Play at Arizona on Thursday, followed by a game at Colorado on Friday.— LAS VEGAS (AP) Welcome to Impossible.Those words have been projected onto the ice in big, bold letters at T-Mobile Arena before each game during the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Well, the Vegas Golden Knights are turning impossible into possible.The stunningly successful expansion squad is headed to the Stanley Cup Final after beating the Winnipeg Jets 2-1 on Sunday to win the Western Conference final series in five games.”I remember eight months ago, when we won against Dallas (in the season opener), we had that unbelievable feeling,” Vegas center Pierre-Edouard Bellemare said. ”Doesn’t feel like we’re satisfied. It’s a good feeling when you know the guys are excited for the next one.”The Golden Knights are the third franchise in NHL history to clinch a berth in the Stanley Cup Final in its inaugural season, joining the Toronto Arenas in 1918 in the league’s early days Chicago Blackhawks T-Shirts Womens , and St. Louis Blues in 1968, when all six expansion teams were in the same division and one of them had to make the final round.Vegas will play either Tampa Bay or Washington on hockey’s biggest stage. The Lightning lead the Eastern Conference final 3-2, but the Capitals host Game 6 on Monday night.”Either way, we’re not going to be favorites,” said Jonathan Marchessault, who leads Vegas with 18 points in the postseason. ”That’s been the case all year. Tampa has been the best team all year. Washington, (they’re) playing great hockey right now. Either way, we’re not going to be favorites, and that’s fine with us. We went all year like that and we’re going to keep going.”Hence, ”The Golden Misfits” tag.Nobody could have scripted Vegas, a 500-1 long shot at the start of the season, making the playoffs – let alone earning a shot at Lord Stanley’s Cup.But the Golden Knights, who finished fifth in the league during the regular season, just knocked off the No. 2 team in the regular season in Winnipeg, which in the conference semifinals knocked off the No. 1 team in the regular season, Nashville.Vegas clinched all three of its Western Conference series on the road Sam Reinhart Jersey , becoming the seventh team in NHL history to accomplish such a feat.”Everybody on this team has something to prove,” said Winnipeg native Ryan Reaves, who scored the winning goal Sunday in his hometown. ”We call ourselves `The Golden Misfits’ for a reason. We’re doing a good job of proving everybody wrong.”Just as they have all season, they are living in the moment.Vegas, which had just two players under contract at this time last year, heads into the final round with a 12-3 playoff record after outscoring its Western Conference opponents 42-27.It’s a credit to coach Gerard Gallant’s philosophy of having a well-conditioned, confident group of forwards who work well together, focus on short effective shifts, and exude confidence on the ice – all while, as he reiterates it daily, playing 200 feet of hockey.And while the Golden Knights haven’t necessarily been a high-scoring threat, scoring just three or fewer goals in 12 of their 15 playoff games, their defensemen have played exceptional to this point. Vegas has allowed the least amount of goals in the playoffs, among teams that have played 10 games. It was a stifling and disruptive defense that helped propel the Golden Knights past the Jets on Sunday, with their sixth win in eight road games during the postseason.”Everybody’s stepping up at different times during the season,” said goalie Marc-Andre Fleury Womens Zemgus Girgensons Jersey , who has 12 wins, four shutouts, a .947 save percentage and 1.68 goals against average. ”That’s a big reason why we’ve been playing consistently.”The key cog in Vegas’ engine has been Fleury, whose remarkable play has translated into a career-best postseason. He has allowed two or fewer goals in 10 of 15 playoff games, and is heading to the Stanley Cup final for a third consecutive year. And whether he admits it or not, the 14-year veteran still bears the scars of being left exposed by Pittsburgh last summer after spending the first 13 years of his career with the Penguins.Gallant, who remained coy about his team’s aspirations during the regular season, made it clear the Golden Knights haven’t reached their goal.”It’s been an awesome ride so far,” said Gallant, who some might also consider a ”misfit” after Florida fired him following a road game at Carolina last season, then left him and his luggage on the curb outside PNC Arena. ”We’re going to the Stanley Cup Final, but again, this isn’t what we want. We want to win.”It’s great to win tonight and it’s great to be the (conference) champions,” Gallant added, ”but that’s not what we’re here for.”Even as impossible as that all seemed just a few months ago.—