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Kolesar breaks tie and Golden Knights beat Kraken 3-1

Jaden Schwartz scored for the Kraken, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 34 shots

Vegas Golden Knights center William Karlsson (71) and Seattle Kraken defenseman Ryker Evans (39) battle for the puck during the second period of an NHL hockey game Thursday, March 21, in Las Vegas. (David Becker/AP Photo)
By Mark Anderson AP Sports Writer

LAS VEGAS — Keegan Kolesar scored off a rebound with 1:20 left to put Vegas ahead for good in a 3-1 victory over the Seattle Kraken on Thursday night, March 21, strengthening the defending champion Golden Knights’ hold on a playoff spot.

Jack Eichel and Chandler Stephenson also scored and Logan Thompson made 20 saves. It was the second victory in a row for Thompson, who stopped 40 shots and may have given the Knights’ recent shaky play at goalie some encouragement.

Jaden Schwartz scored for the Kraken, and Philipp Grubauer stopped 34 shots.

The Knights are four points in front of St. Louis for the final wild-card spot in the Western Conference. Vegas has won four of six games, and the Kraken are 0-5-1 over their past six.

Kolesar’s goal, a rebound off Brett Howden’s shot, broke a 1-1 tie. The Kraken challenged the goal. After the call was upheld, the Knights went on a power play and Stephenson scored an empty-netter.

Both teams wore the uniforms from the NHL Winter Classic game at Seattle’s T-Mobile Park on New Year’s Day.

Jonathan Marchessault passed from behind the net to Eichel, who pushed in the puck to put the Knights up 1-0 8:14 into the first period. That assist gave Marchessault his 60th point the season, the third time he has accomplished that.

Vegas outshot Seattle 12-6 that period, but failed to build on the early lead, and the score remained the same through the second period as well. The Kraken did have a chance late in the second to pull even, but Thompson stopped a breakaway short-handed opportunity by Seattle’s Jared McCann.

But the Kraken finally broke through on a power play with 6:31 left in regulation when Schwartz redirected Ryker Evans’ shot from the point.

The Knights continued to struggle with their power play, going 0 for 4. They are in a 6-for-49 rut.

Knights defenseman Alex Pietrangelo missed his second game in a row because of an illness.

Up next

Kraken: At Arizona on Friday night.

Golden Knights: Host Columbus on Saturday night.

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