The Golden Knights advance to round two of the Stanley Cup Playoffs. Mattias Janmark scored his first career hat trick to lead the Vegas Golden Knights to a 6-2 victory over the Minnesota Wild in Game 7 of the first round of the West Division playoffs in Las Vegas.
Marc-Andre Fleury made 19 saves for the Knights, who move on to face No. 1 seed Colorado in the second round on Sunday night in Denver.
Max Pacioretty scored the go-ahead goal during a three-goal second period. Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud also scored goals, and Chandler Stephenson and Shea Theodore each had two assists for Vegas.
Golden Knights advance
Janmark, obtained from Chicago in a three-way trade with San Jose on April 12, had scored just one goal for the Golden Knights entering the contest.
“It’s what every player dreams of, to score in a Game 7,” Janmark said. “It’s hard to believe that it’s going to happen to you, but today, bounces were going in. It’s a dream come true, for sure.”NHL.com
Zach Parise and Kirill Kaprizov scored goals and Cam Talbot finished with 29 saves for Minnesota, which had staved off elimination twice while battling back from a 3-1 series deficit.
Vegas took a 1-0 lead at the 5:09 mark of the first period when Janmark broke in between a pair of Wild defenders, deked Talbot and then slid a shot past the right pad of the Wild goalie.
Parise, a healthy scratch in the first three games of the series, then tied it late in the period with his second goal of the playoffs, posting up in front of the crease and then backhanding a shot between his legs and Fleury’s pads.
“I think we all firmly believed with where we were a handful days ago, down 3-1 and making it 3-3, we all firmly believed we were going to win this game tonight,” Parise said. “We didn’t quit. We played, we competed, but just couldn’t get that third one.”NHL.com
Janmark hits the mark, three times
Shortly after Kaprizov fired a shot off the crossbar, the Golden Knights took a 2-1 lead early in the second period when Hague fired a wrist shot through traffic from the left point for his first playoff goal.
Minnesota tied it with a power-play goal by Kaprizov, who took a pass from Mats Zuccarello while cutting in front of the right circle and buried a shot through Fleury’s pads for his second goal of the playoffs.
Pacioretty, left alone in the slot, then gave Vegas a 3-2 lead midway through the period when he one-timed Stephenson’s pass from along the left boards. It was the first goal since April 28 for Pacioretty, who was making his playoff debut after leaving a May 1 game at Arizona with an undisclosed injury.
Whitecloud made it 4-2 later in the period with his first playoff goal, beating Talbot with a wrist shot from the center of the right circle. Janmark then sealed with his second goal of the game off a feed from Nicolas Roy with 7:24 left.
Minnesota pulled Talbot with 4:58 to go and Janmark completed the hat trick with an empty net goal.
–Field Level Media