240412 golden knights hertl photo [1296x729]
240412 golden knights hertl photo [1296x729] (Credit: Stephen R. Sylvanie/USA Today Sports)

Sources Xavi to meet Bar a chief to decide future

LAS VEGAS -- 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. Noah Hanifin added two assists for the Golden Knights, and Logan Thompson had 25 saves.

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

"You don't want to be or say that you were stressed, but we knew we had to win one game and we felt confident about that tonight," Stephenson said.

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.

Hertl's goal was his first since being acquired from the San Jose Sharks on March 8.

"It was just a great feeling," Hertl said. "I'm more happy about being able to clinch the playoffs today, but I feel very good to score the first one in the building because it's a lot of fun to play here."

Marat Khusnutdinov and Ryan Hartman scored for the Wild. Marc-Andre Fleury had a rough night facing his former team, allowing seven goals on 30 shots, the most he has given up since the Dallas Stars scored eight on him Nov. 12. 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, were ready to party as the Knights not only assured themselves of another playoff spot but also snapped a three-game losing streak.

"It's a resilient group," Vegas coach Bruce Cassidy said. "I think the process of getting here had some ups and downs this year. ... I think we were able to put past most of those [down] days and focus on what's next. We've done a good job of that this year."

The Wild, once in the running for the postseason, have lost five of seven games.

"We've got to be way better than that against any team," Wild coach John Hynes said. "It doesn't matter who you play, so we'll have a good discussion tomorrow."

It 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.