The Vegas Golden Knights are going to the 2023 Western Conference Final. They defeated the Edmonton Oilers in Game 6 for a 4-2 series win. Many key players were crucial to the Golden Knights’ victory, who also had veteran blueliner Alex Pietrangelo back in the lineup, fresh off of his suspension. They won Game 6 by a score of 5-2, receiving all of their goal-scoring while at even strength.
The Golden Knights continued their second-period dominance on the back of a natural hat trick from Jonathan Marchessault with Adin Hill playing a stellar game after a shaky start. They will play the winner of the Seattle Kraken-Dallas Stars series.
2nd Period Dominance
The Golden Knights’ best period of hockey this postseason has been the second period. They scored nine of their 22 goals in Round 2 in the second period. Through the entire 2023 Stanley Cup Playoffs they have 19 of their 41 goals in the middle frame.
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Despite being outshot by the Oilers 13-10 in the second period, the Golden Knights didn’t allow any goals past them. The middle frame was all they needed because the Oilers couldn’t score another goal, no matter how hard they tried. In the end, these three goals chased Stuart Skinner out of the Oilers’ net for the third time in the series.
Jonathan “Hat-Trick” Marchessault
Jonathan Marchessault went ballistic on the Oilers this round. He hadn’t scored a goal in the entire series against the Winnipeg Jets but was good for five goals in Round 2. Three of those came in Game 6, recording a natural hat trick in the middle frame of the contest.
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With 34 shots in six games, Marchessault was feeling it in Round 2. That was coming off of only 12 in the Round 1 series against the Jets. He fired six shots in this contest, the most of any of his teammates. He saw more time on the power play against the Oilers, which helped him get more scoring chances on the opposing net.
Adin Hill Played Amazing for 57 Minutes
Despite the enormous offensive contribution from Marchessault, it would have been all for naught if Hill would have let in a barrage of goals at any point in the third period. The Oilers poured on the pressure, pushing for any puck to get past him to bring them closer to tying the game. After two goals in the first three minutes of the contest, he was a brick wall, stopping 38 shots in a row and earning a hard-fought win.
Hill kept them in the game, with the Golden Knights only mustering five shots in the final frame. Jack Campbell stopped all four shots he faced, as the fifth was an empty net goal. The team played well defensively all game and did what they needed to help their goalie out. They blocked 28 shots, helping Hill and themselves in the process. Jack Eichel, Reilly Smith, Chandler Stephenson, and Marchessault all blocked multiple shots in Game 6. That commitment to defence in a pivotal game like this shows a tremendous amount of belief in the team and a determination to win.
- Nicolas Hague led the Golden Knights in ice time with 23:12
- Reilly Smith had five blocked shots.
- Golden Knights only had 22 shots.
- Hill has a .934 save percentage in five playoff games.
The Golden Knights look to continue their winning ways in Round 3, where they will face either the newest expansion team in the Seattle Kraken or the Dallas Stars. They will need everyone to contribute as they look to make it past the Western Conference Final to take another stab at the Stanley Cup.