In a game loaded with star power on both sides, it was Golden Knights trade deadline acquisition Mattias Janmark who made the ultimate mark on the game. He scored his first career hat trick to give Vegas a 6-2 win over the Wild.
Janmark broke open the scoring 5:09 into the first period, after walking around two Minnesota defenders and tucking his attempt around the leg of Cam Talbot. The Golden Knights continued to press following this goal and had Minnesota on their heels.
However, a rare penalty from William Karlsson gave the Wild a chance to settle in. While they did not score on the opportunity, they generated some much-needed offense to slow the game back down.
Towards the end of the period, the Wild found their answer. After a turnover behind the net by Mark Stone, a shot from the point found Zach Parise wide open in front of the net. Parise tipped the shot between his legs and past Fleury to even the score at one.
Entering the second period, the Golden Knights held a +9 goal differential against the Wild. This trend continued in game seven, as the Golden Knights piled on three goals in the period. Nicolas Hague got the Golden Knights going two minutes into the period, firing a shot from the point past Talbot. Kirill Kaprizov scored on the powerplay shortly after to tie the game at two.
After some back-and-forth between the two teams, Max Pacioretty scored his first goal of the series to give the Golden Knights a 3-2 lead. Pacioretty had not played since May 1 and made an instant impact drawing back into the Vegas line up. Zach Whitecloud added some insurance, scoring his first goal since Feb. 9, to give the Golden Knights a 4-2 lead heading into the third period.
In the third period, the Golden Knights locked down defensively. Despite more zone time for the Wild in the period, they only managed five shots. Most of which were not high-danger and came from the point.
Mattias Janmark added two of his three goals late in the third period. His first came after some excellent defensive work from Nicolas Roy. Roy freed the puck down low and found Janmark in the slot to give Vegas a three-goal lead.
Janmark collected his final goal on an empty net in the final minutes to give the Golden Knights a 6-2 victory. For the first time in franchise history, the Golden Knights clinched a series at T-Mobile Arena.
Two people who needed to step up for Vegas showed up in a big way. Shea Theodore, who had not recorded a single point in 11 games, recorded two assists tonight. Mark Stone, who was a ghost in game six, made an impact on game seven as well. While he did not score, his presence was felt on the ice.
Marc-Andre Fleury was not tested much, but made the stops he needed to. For the series, Fleury posted a 1.76 goals against average and a .931 save percentage. He not only kept them in games, but was a major catalyst in all of their wins.
With the victory Friday night, the Golden Knights advance to the second round for the third time in four years. Their task gets even more daunting though, as they will face off against the Colorado Avalanche to determine the winner of the West Division. Puck drop for game one is Sunday, May 30 at 5 P.M. PST.