David Zalubowski/Associated PressThe Vegas Golden Knights and Dallas Stars are set to meet in the Western Conference Final after a wild day of Game 7s across the NHL. NHL @NHLA #Game7 victory in OT for the @DallasStars worthy of a BIG TIME celebration. #StanleyCup https://t.co/qFIFlZAYDmDallas defeated the Colorado Avalanche to get the evening started in a game that featured nine goals, four ties and three lead changes, while the Knights’ defense stopped any offensive attempt by the Vancouver Canucks to close out the slate. The result was the best of both worlds for hockey fans who prefer both offensive and defensive games. At the end of it all, two of the more electric teams all postseason will find themselves battling for the right to represent the conference in the Stanley Cup Final.Here’s a look at how the day’s action played out. NHL @NHLVIVAAAAA! #Game7 #StanleyCup https://t.co/hZtr5MdQBUFriday’s ResultsDallas Stars def. Colorado Avalanche, 5-4 OT (Stars win series, 4-3)Vegas Golden Knights def. Vancouver Canucks, 3-0 (Knights win series, 4-3)Notable PerformersJoel Kiviranta, LW, Dallas Stars: 3 Goals, 5 SOG, 4 HitsAlexander Radulov, RW, Dallas Stars: 2 Goals, 4 SOG, 2 PIMVladislav Namestnikov, C, Colorado Avalanche: 2 Goals, 3 SOG, 2 HitsNazem Kadri, C, Colorado Avalanche: 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 7 SOGPaul Stastny, C, Vegas Golden Knights: 1 Goal, 1 Assist, 3 SOGRobin Lehner, G, Vegas Golden Knights: 14 Saves, 0 Goals AllowedThatcher Demko, G, Vancouver Canucks: 33 Saves, 1 Goal Allowed Updated BracketWestern Conference Final: Dallas Stars vs. Vegas Golden KnightsEastern Conference Final: Tampa Bay Lightning vs Philadelphia Flyers/New York IslandersKiviranta’s Hat Trick Saves DallasJoel Kiviranta played only 11 games in the regular season as a member of the Stars. The undrafted free agent likely wouldn’t have even cracked the team’s lineup for Game 7 had it not been for an injury to Andrew Cogliano. But by Friday evening, Kiviranta became a franchise legend. NHL @NHLJoel Kiviranta scores his first career #StanleyCup Playoffs goal! #Game7
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🇨🇦: https://t.co/YNc9hs56VT @Sportsnet https://t.co/DAYmuRHzQUIn only his third playoff game, the 24-year-old recorded his first career hat trick, including the series-winner in overtime. Kiviranta admitted afterward that he hadn’t played a Game 7 before at any level and had no idea how to approach it. Perhaps that’s why the moment didn’t seem to faze him at all. Dallas was on the cusp of blowing a 3-1 series lead when Kiviranta came to the rescue.He scored his first goal of the evening on a delayed penalty to even the game at two apiece, and his presence only grew from there. NHL @NHL#Game7 hockey is the best kind of hockey. #StanleyCup
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🇨🇦: https://t.co/MB03bD8juH @Sportsnet https://t.co/LwEjezqR5gAfter Vladislav Namestnikov put the Avs ahead 4-3 with 3:40 left in the third period, it seemed like the Stars were heading home after three straight chances to eliminate Colorado. Ten seconds later, before Dallas could fully process Colorado’s goal, Kiviranta came through with his second equalizer of the game to force overtime. He ended the game just 7:24 into the extra frame by drawing the defense toward the Colorado net before jumping into the space he created in the slot for a one-timer to end the series—the seventh Game 7 hat trick in league history.NHL @NHL#Game7 OT and a Joel Kiviranta @Enterprise hat trick to seal the deal on an INCREDIBLE game.
This is what the #StanleyCup Playoffs is all about. 🙌 https://t.co/4qnKyIPpzmIt’s the second year in a row the Avs have lost a Game 7 in the second round.Knights Finally Solve DemkoOver the final three games between the Golden Knights and Canucks, Vancouver goalie Thatcher Demko made an astounding 123 saves. It’s a number that’ll be burned into the memory of Canadian hockey fans with both amazement and disappointment. Had Demko been able to make 124 saves, the Canucks might still be playing. NHL @NHLIt is an absolute tendy battle out there and Thatcher Demko is here for it. #Game7 #StanleyCup
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🇨🇦: https://t.co/UDAi7JPJIn @Sportsnet https://t.co/1dloaksMQHVegas scored its first goal on Demko in more than five periods with a power-play goal from Shea Theodore 13:52 into the final frame. It was the only mistake the backstop made all night. The Canucks who played in front of him will have much more to answer for. NHL @NHLMassive goal from Shea Theodore (@stheodore17) deep in the third of #Game7! #StanleyCup
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🇨🇦: https://t.co/14OmSAEveP @Sportsnet https://t.co/xsRdTYe5nHVancouver registered only 14 shots on goal to Vegas’ 36. Despite four power-play opportunities—including a five-minute major following Ryan Reaves’ hit to the head of Tyler Motte—the Canucks couldn’t find any offense, much less the Knights’ net in general. It was an ugly display for any night, but the added pressure of Friday’s Game 7 will make this one stick out for awhile. Vancouver mustered only six shots on goal through the first two periods. NHL @NHLPUCKS SHALL NOT PASS… according to @RobinLehner. #Game7 #StanleyCup
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🇨🇦: https://t.co/EibNT842Mr @Sportsnet https://t.co/bqhO96vyEiNo matter how stellar Demko was, the Canucks had no chance with Vegas’ defense shutting down any offensive attack. The future of Vancouver’s crease looks secure. Now it’ll need to work on the players up front.