NHL: Knights thrash Stars in Game 6, seal finals berth

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Mark Stone was supposed to be the final piece to make the Vegas Golden Knights a Stanley Cup champion when he was acquired at the 2019 trade deadline.

Thanks to his team’s 6-0 road drubbing of the Dallas Stars on Monday, Stone finally receives his chance to claim the crown.

The Golden Knights are off to the Stanley Cup Final for the second time in franchise history, having dispatched the Stars 4-2 in the best-of-seven Western Conference finals.

They will face the Florida Panthers in the finals beginning on Saturday in Las Vegas. The winner will claim its first Stanley Cup crown in franchise history.

Vegas was also the Western Conference’s regular-season champion, while Florida claimed the second and final Eastern Conference wild-card berth.

“We’ve been through a lot in four years here, a lot of heartbreak along the way,” Stone told Sportsnet after the clinching victory. “We’ve battled through a lot of stuff, and I don’t think a lot of people were picking us to get here this season.”

The Golden Knights lost to the Washington Capitals in the championship round in their inaugural 2017-18 season. The Panthers are also in the finals for the second time in franchise history. Florida lost to the Colorado Avalanche in 1996, their third season.

William Karlsson scored twice in a three-point game while William Carrier, Keegan Kolesar and Michael Amadio all collected one goal and one assist for Vegas in the clinching game. Jonathan Marchessault scored once, Reilly Smith had two assists and goalie Adin Hill made 23 saves to record his second playoff shutout for the Knights.

Hill took the net in the second round after starting goalie Laurent Brossoit suffered an injury.

“This is what you grow up dreaming about,” Hill said. “I’m excited about the opportunity. I’m going to embrace the moment.”

Jake Oettinger stopped 23 shots for the Stars, who lost the first three games of the series before winning twice in a comeback attempt that fell short and ended with a thud.

Dallas won both games without captain Jamie Benn in the lineup and lost all four with him, including the clinching contest after he returned from a two-game suspension.

“It’s a great group. It sucks we had to go out like that,” Benn said.

Coming off those two losses, the Golden Knights were looking for a quick start to regain momentum. They received a much-needed jolt when Carrier opened the scoring at the 3:41 mark of the first period. Karlsson doubled the lead on the power play, and Kolesar capped his team’s dominant first period when he made it 3-0 with six minutes left in the frame.

Dallas showed life after the first intermission, but Marchessault tallied his ninth goal of the playoffs — all in the past 10 games — to make it a 4-0 game at 10:25 of the second period and quashed any comeback hopes. It was his team’s first shot on goal in the period.

Karlsson scored early in the third period, his 10th goal of the playoffs, and Amadio rounded out the scoring at 12:25 of the period. The Stars made little effort to come back after it became a four-goal deficit.

“You come into this game and you want to give a little bit more for the crowd, get them into it and more momentum, but we weren’t able to get that going,” Dallas forward Joe Pavelski said. “You expect more out of yourself in situations like this.”

–Field Level Media

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