Swedish forward Mattias Janmark notched his first career hat-trick as the Vegas Golden Knights punched their ticket to the second round of the NHL playoffs with a 6-2 game seven win over the Minnesota Wild.
The Knights clinched a playoff series on Friday for the first time at the T-Mobile Arena on the Vegas strip and now move on to battle the Colorado Rockies.
“He played huge,” said Max Pacioretty of Janmark.
Marc-Andre Fleury stopped 19 shots and Pacioretty scored the go-ahead goal during a three-goal second period for Vegas, who had never hosted a game seven in their young NHL history.
Nicolas Hague and Zach Whitecloud also scored, and Chandler Stephenson and Shea Theodore each had two assists for Vegas.
“We did a great job,” said Pacioretty. “We were unbeatable tonight. We got to keep playing like that. We knew we would get our chance to win.”
Pacioretty was playing his first game since May 1.
“I was able to contribute tonight. My teammates helped me out and I didn’t have to play too many shifts in my defensive zone so I was able to save my wind there,” he said.
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.
After failing to close out the first-round series with the Wild for the second straight game on Wednesday, the Knights finally regained control.
Vegas will have little time to celebrate. The NHL announced Thursday that the second-round series with No. 1 seed Colorado will begin on Sunday in Denver.