LAS VEGAS (AP) — Jack Eichel’s three goals helped the Vegas Golden Knights bounce back from a recent loss with a 7-2 victory over the Columbus Blue Jackets on Sunday.
This was Eichel’s fourth career hat trick and second this season. The other for Eichel, who leads the Knights with 26 goals, was Nov. 10 when he returned to Buffalo to face his former teammates.
Alex Pietrangelo had a career-high four assists for the Golden Knights and Phil Kessel and Pavel Dorofeyev each had a goal and an assist. Dorofeyev has five points in four games since being called up from the American Hockey League.
Paul Cotter and Zach Whitecloud had the other Vegas goals.
Jiri Patera, called up March 9, made 35 stops in just his second career start to move to 2-0.
His counterpart, Daniil Tarasov, was pulled with 3:03 left in the second period after giving up five goals on 28 shots, including four goals in a 4:22 span that broke open a 1-1 game. He was replaced by Michael Hutchinson, who was traded by Vegas to Columbus as part of the deal for goalie Jonathan Quick.
Kirill Marchenko and Liam Foudy scored the Blue Jackets’ goals, and Patrik Laine had two assists.
The Knights responded to Thursday’s 7-2 loss to Calgary by winning for the fifth time in six games and eighth time in the past 10. They lead the Western Conference with 92 points, two more than Pacific Division rival Los Angeles with 12 games left.
Columbus has 49 points, the fewest in the NHL, and the Blue Jackets are 1-6-1 in their past eight games.
The Knights scored the only goal in the first period when Dorofeyev slid a pass to Kessel on the right side of the net. Kessel easily put in the power-play goal just 5:15 into the game.
Marchenko tied the game for Columbus 37 seconds into the second period before the Knights came back with that four-goal barrage and tacked on two more goals in the third.
The Knights’ Reilly Smith is on a career-high eight-game points streak (three goals, seven assists). … Should Vegas play another Eastern Conference team this season, it will be in the Stanley Cup Final. The Knights have won a franchise-high 22 games against that conference, going 22-8-2. … This was the Knights’ ninth sweep this season, a franchise best. … Vegas had two power-play goals for the second time in three games.
Blue Jackets: Visit Washington on Tuesday to conclude a five-game road swing.
Golden Knights: Visit Vancouver on Tuesday to open a three-game Canadian road trip.