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Golden Knights beat Wild 7-2 to clinch a spot in the Western Conference playoffs

LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jack Eichel, Nicolas Roy and Pavel Dorofeyev each had a goal and an assist, Chandler Stephenson had four assists and the Vegas Golden Knights beat the Minnesota Wild 7-2 Friday night to clinch a playoff berth for the sixth time in seven seasons.

Jonathan Marchessault, Tomas Hertl, William Karlsson and Keegan Kolesar also scored goals, Chandler Stephenson had four assists and Noah Hanifin added two for the Golden Knights. Logan Thompson had 25 saves.

The Golden Knights will get a chance to defend their Stanley Cup championship after their win combined with St. Louis’ 5-2 loss to Carolina. Vegas is the second wild card in the Western Conference, one point behind Los Angeles for third place in the Pacific Division.

Hertl’s goal was his first since being acquired from San Jose on March 8. Stephenson had four assists for the third time in his career and first time this season, reaching the 50-point mark for the third consecutive season.

Marat Khusnutdinov and Ryan Hartman scored for the Wild. Marc-Andre Fleury had a rough night facing his former team, allowing all seven goals on 30 shots. Still arguably the most popular player in the club’s short history, the crowd even chanted his name several times in the third period.

The Golden Knights scored three goals on special teams, including two on power plays for the third time in five games.

It was an overall festive night for Vegas. The fans, including San Francisco 49ers star running back Christian McCaffrey wearing an Eichel jersey, ready to party as the Knights not only assured itself of another playoff spot but snapped a three-game losing streak. The Wild, once in the running for the postseason, have lost five of seven games.

The Knights scored goals on three of their first shots, two of them on special teams. Roy had his first career short-handed goal, and it was the second game in a row the Knights have scored down a man — the first time this season. Dorofeyev and Eichel each scored from the left circle, the latter a one-timer on a power play.

Both teams traded power-play goals in the second period. Minnesota's Khusnutdinov scored his first career goal, and Marchessault answered with his 42nd of the second to pull to within one of Karlsson's franchise single-season record.

The Knights poured it on in the third period, outscoring the Wild 3-1. After Kolesar's goal, Fleury angrily swiped the puck out of the net.

This was a milestone night for three Wild players. Jonas Brodin appeared in his 800th career game, Matt Boldy in his 200th and Marco Rossi in his 100th. This was the first career game for Liam Ohgren.

UP NEXT

Wild: At San Jose on Saturday.

Golden Knights: Host Colorado on Sunday.

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AP NHL: https://apnews.com/NHL

Mark Anderson, The Associated Press