Golden Knights clinch a playoff spot

The Vegas Golden Knights became the first team to clinch a berth in the 2021 Stanley Cup Playoffs. Vegas only needed one point in the standings to punch their ticket to the postseason and picked that up plus another with a 5-2 victory over San Jose on Wednesday night.

The Golden Knights lead the Honda West Division with a 33-11-2 record. Vegas’ 68 points also leads the NHL and the team’s .739 points percentage ranks second overall behind only Colorado.

Vegas will compete in the playoffs for a fourth consecutive season. The Golden Knights became the fourth franchise in NHL history to make it to the Stanley Cup Playoffs in each of its first four years following the Edmonton Oilers (1980–1992), New York Rangers (1927–1935) and St. Louis Blues (1968–1973).

The Golden Knights have five series wins in three previous postseasons, which includes a trip to the Stanley Cup Final in the team’s inaugural year. Vegas’ playoff win percentage of .596 (28-19) ranks second in NHL history behind the Oilers (.597; 160-108).

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NASHVILLE 4 CHICAGO 5 (OT)

The Blackhawks halted a six-game winless streak against the Predators this season on Wednesday and did it in impressive fashion. The final game of the 2020-21 series between the two teams comes on Friday.

Brandon Hagel was the offensive star of the match with one goal and two assists. He had a hand in goals by Pius Suter, who opened the scoring at the 4:14 mark of the first period. and Wyatt Kalynuk, who started Chicago’s rally just past the midway point of the third.

Hagel also supplied the game winner three minutes into the extra period.

Vinnie Hinostroza and Dominik Kubalik also found the back of the net for the Blackhawks shortly after Kalynuk. Chicago scored three times in a span of 2:51 in the third period to even the score at 4-4.

The Predators got on the board with a goal from Eeli Tolvanen, who returned after missing seven games with a lower-body injury.

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Colton Sissons and Mikael Granlund potted goals in the second stanza. Granlund also added an assist in the contest.

Kirby Dach contributed two helpers, while Viktor Arvidsson, Mattias Ekholm, Roman Josi, Patrick Kane and Nikita Zadorov earned one assist apiece.

Suter and Hinostroza also added an assist each for multi-point performances.

Juuse Saros stopped 25 shots in the loss, while Malcolm Subban blocked 35 shots for his sixth win in 13 appearances.

MINNESOTA 4 ARIZONA 1

The Wild scored four unanswered goals versus the Coyotes to secure the team’s fifth straight win. Three of those victories came against Arizona, as Minnesota won the season series 7-1.

Christian Dvorak opened the scoring with a power-play goal 7:38 into the contest. His 13th goal of the year was assisted by Lane Pederson and Phil Kessel.

Kevin Fiala got the Wild on then board at the 2:58 mark of the second period with his 16th goal of the season.

Marcus Foligno, Kirill Kaprizov and Nico Sturm (empty netter) scored in the third period. Kaprizov’s 19th goal of the year was accompanied by four shots and four hits.

Sturm also added an assist for a multi-point effort.

Mats Zuccarello, Joel Eriksson Ek, Jordan Greenway and Ian Cole posted one helper apiece.

Cam Talbot made 39 saves for his 16th win in 26 starts, as the Coyotes posted a season-high 40 shots.

Darcy Kuemper shielded 19 of 22 shots in the loss.

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SAN JOSE 2 VEGAS 5

The Golden Knights swept a two-game set versus the Sharks on Wednesday, while stretching the team’s win streak to eight games.

Jonathan Marchessault was the standout producer with two goals and two assists. He had a chance to complete his hat trick in the final minute of the third period, but gave the puck to Mattias Janmark instead.

It was Janmark’s first goal as a member of the Golden Knights. He also picked up an assist in the match.

Mark Stone (power play) and Alex Tuch had the other Vegas goals.

Timo Meier opened the scoring just 2:38 into the contest and Tomas Hertl gave the Sharks a 2-1 lead at the 11:07 mark of the second period.

Shea Theodore earned a pair of assists, while Alec Martinez, William Karlsson, Max Pacioretty, Erik Karlsson, Joel Kellman and Patrick Marleau collected one helper each.

Evander Kane had a game-high eight hits.

Josef Korenar blocked 35 of 39 shots in the loss. He is still looking for his first NHL win following two starts and four appearances.

Marc-Andre Fleury defended 31 shots for his 21st win in 31 starts. He has won four games in a row.

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MONTREAL 4 EDMONTON 3

The Canadiens ended a two-game losing skid and split a two-game set against the Oilers by holding on for a win on Wednesday night.

Josh Anderson tallied two goals for the Canadiens and ended up with the game winner when he gave Montreal a 4-1 lead at the 15:03 mark of the third period.

Connor McDavid was involved in all three goals for the Oilers. He scored his 25th of the season in the second period prior to getting the primary helper on third-period markers by Ryan Nugent-Hopkins (power play) and Jesse Puljujarvi.

Nugent-Hopkins played for the first time since April 7 because of an upper-body injury.

Tyler Toffoli (power play) and Artturi Lehkonen had Montreal’s other goals in the game.

Jeff Petry and Tomas Tatar collected two assists each, while Alexander Romanov, Jesperi Kotkaniemi, Leon Draisaitl, Tyson Barrie and Caleb Jones registered one helper apiece.

Mike Smith stopped 27 of 31 shots in the loss, while Jake Allen made 22 saves for his eighth win over 20 appearances.

Published: 2021-04-22 05:29:56

Tags: #Golden #Knights #clinch #playoff #spot

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