EDMONTON, Alberta — Mark Stone scored the go-ahead goal on a deflection with under 7 minutes left, and the Vegas Golden Knights took a big step toward clinching the top seed in the Western Conference by beating the St. Louis Blues 6-4 in round-robin play Thursday night.
Vegas would be the West’s No. 1 seed with a win against Colorado on Saturday. The team that went to the 2018 Stanley Cup Final and was eliminated after a questionable call in Game 7 against San Jose looks capable of winning it all.
“We came into Edmonton wanting to play our best hockey, whether that got us three wins or no wins,” Stone said. “So long as we’re playing well, we feel confident against anyone.”
Despite leading the conference when the NHL season was shut down in March, defending champion St. Louis can finish no higher than third and needs to beat Dallas on Sunday to avoid the No. 4 seed.
BLUE JACKETS 4, LEAFS 3, OT
TORONTO — Pierre-Luc Dubois got his third goal of the game 18:24 into overtime, finishing the Columbus Blue Jackets comeback from three goals down to beat the Toronto Maple Leafs and take a 2-1 lead in their playoff qualifying series.
Dubois got the winner on a rush after Alexandre Texier stripped the puck from Toronto’s John Tavares.
“(Texier) got it, that’s the only thing I remember, ” Dubois said. “He made a nice play, didn’t pass it right away. The puck, he was patient with it and passed a nice little saucer up the middle of the ice, got me free on the breakaway It was a hell of a play by him.”
The Blue Jackets rallied from a 3-0 deficit midway through the second period, scoring twice in a 3 1/2 minute stretch midway through the third to tie it.
FLYERS 3, CAPITALS 1
TORONTO — The Philadelphia Flyers played like a team making a run as the best in the East before the NHL shutdown.
With hockey back, the streaking Flyers just might get there. With one more win, they’ll earn the top seed in the Eastern Conference in coach Alain Vigneault’s first season.
CANUCKS 3, WILD 0
EDMONTON, Alberta — Brock Boeser and Elias Petterson each had a power-play goal and an assist, Jacob Markstrom made 27 saves for his first postseason shutout, and the Vancouver Canucks beat the Minnesota Wild to take a 2-1 lead in their best-of-five qualifier series.
Antoine Roussel and Elias Pettersson also scored and Quinn Hughes had three assists for the Canucks, who outlasted the Wild in another penalty-filled, extra-testy matchup and moved within one game of advancing to the first round in their first appearance in the playoffs since 2015.