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Golden Knights Clinch, Hertl Scores, Vegas Needs Stephenson



Chandler Stephenson Vegas Golden Knights (Photo- Vegas Golden Knights via Twitter)

Chandler Stephenson and Jonathan Marchessault offered a reminder Friday night about how much the Vegas Golden Knights will miss them if they leave this summer through free agency.

Stephenson put up four assists to pace the Golden Knights to a 7-2 win against the Minnesota Wild that put them in the playoffs for the sixth time in its seven seasons.  The win, coupled with the St. Louis Blues’ loss to Carolina, guarantees them at least the second wildcard spot in the Western Conference.

With three games remaining, the Golden Knights are only one point behind the Los Angeles Kings for third place in the Pacific Division. There’s also a chance they could pass the Nashville Predators for the first wildcard spot. The Golden Knights trail Nashville by three points, but they have one game in hand. The first round Golden Knights’ opponent is very much up in the air.

Marchessault Record Chase

Marchessault scored his 42nd goal, leaving him one goal short of the team record of 43 set by William Karlsson in the team’s inaugural season of 2017-18.

Tomas Hertl also scored his first goal as a Vegas player in the lopsided win against the Wild.  He has two points, and is minus-1, in his first three games with the team. Jack Eichel also scored his 30th goal of the season.

Karlsson’s season-high four points were his 13th multi-point game of the season. Marchessault has three goals and six points in his past six games. Both players are valuable and become unrestricted free agents on July 1. Stephenson is currently playing with newcomer Hertl.

After signing Noah Hanifin to an eight-year deal ($7.35 million per season) this week, the Golden Knights already have financial commitment that take them close to the NHL’s projected $87.5 million salary cap ceiling. They will have to make trades to clear up enough space to sign either of those players.