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Hockey

Column: What we learned in the NHL over the past week of play

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Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) celebrates a goal with defenseman Colin Miller, middle, and center Jonathan Marchessault (81) on Nov. 25.
(Ross D. Franklin / Associated Press)

Here’s what we learned around the NHL the last week:

Golden Knights aren’t folding

Improbably, they’ve won five straight games and hold a two-point lead over the Kings atop the Pacific Division with two games in hand. They ended a sequence of three games in four nights with a 4-2 victory at Arizona on Saturday by scoring a short-handed goal, an even-strength goal, and a power-play goal in a span of 102 seconds.

Center Wild Bill Karlsson leads them with a career-best 13 goals; remember, the Columbus Blue Jackets traded a 2017 first-round pick, a 2019 second-round pick and the contract of injured forward David Clarkson to Vegas in exchange for the Golden Knights’ agreement to take Karlsson in the expansion draft instead of players the Blue Jackets valued more, such as forward Josh Anderson and goaltender Joonas Korpisalo.

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The Golden Knights likely will fade at some point but they’re fun to watch now.

Predators enjoying November

With points in five straight games (4-0-1) and a 9-2-1 record this month with two games left, the Predators are hitting stride. Pekka Rinne became the NHL career shutout leader among Finland-born goaltenders when he earned his 45th shutout last week, against the Blues at St. Louis. The previous leader was Miikka Kiprusoff.

Center Kyle Turris is settling in with the Predators, who acquired him from Ottawa earlier this month. He has two goals and five points in eight games.

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Ovechkin is a man of his word

The Capitals’ high-scoring winger was so touched by the courage of 13-year-old Alex Luey, who plays hockey with a prosthesis after losing part of his leg to bone cancer, that Alexander Ovechkin said if he scored a goal last Saturday it would be for the youngster. Ovechkin did that and more, recording his 20th career hat trick in Washington’s 4-2 victory at Toronto.

Luey read the starting lineup in their locker room and was given player-of-the-game honors. Ovechkin included the boy in his postgame interviews and gave him a much-coveted Hockey Night in Canada towel. Kudos to Ovechkin — who gave winter clothing to a homeless man in Edmonton earlier this season — and to the Capitals for recognizing they can impact lives in so many ways.

Sabres still struggling

Buffalo inched closer to the bottom of the standings after losing three of four games and eight of nine long-term. The Sabres are 3-7-2 this month, ranking last in the league at 2.29 goals scored per game and 29th in goals against (3.42) through Sunday’s action. They played well on Saturday in Montreal but lost when Carey Price, back from a 10-game injury absence, made 36 saves in a 3-0 victory.

“This isn’t a league that’s built on moral victories,” center Jack Eichel told the Buffalo News. Yet, coach Phil Housley believes success is within reach. “You can say what you want to say,” he told the News after the loss to Montreal, “but if we continue to play this way moving forward we’re going to get a lot more wins.”

helene.elliott@latimes.com

Follow Helene Elliott on Twitter @helenenothelen

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